Welcoming New Staff in to Your Business (aka induction)

Posted on 6th April 2014

Once you have put all those hours and money into finding the right person or peopleyou’re your business, it can be very tempting to now sit back and relax.  The person has said they are really pleased to be joining you so surely they just turn up on the first day, you tell them a few things about the business and their role and then you leave them to it?

The effect of not successfully integrating new members of staff into your business can be hugely expensive. As mentioned in my blog article about recruitment and selection, research (from XpertHR) shows that the average cost of recruiting a general member of staff in 2013 was £1,457, rising to £4,000 for a manager and a whopping £11,000 for a director. If a new employee doesn’t work out and you have to start all over again, the costs can get out of control – especially for a small, business.

So, after going through the long, expensive process of recruiting and selecting a new member of staff, it’s vital that you don’t take a step back thinking the hard work is done.

First day

The most important thing you can do on an employee’s first day is to make sure that they feel welcome. Of course there are lots of practical things they need to know about the job, but the most important aspect from their perspective is to feel relieved that they have made the right decision to join you.  I have heard many stories of employees arriving on their first day and no one is expecting them and it seems to be a surprise to the employer that they are there – not very reassuring for your first day!

If someone has their doubts on the first day at your business, they are much more likely to leave and you are back to square one with recruitment. In HR this is known as the ‘induction crisis’, when someone feels they have made a bad choice and leaves – or at least starts looking.

I can relate to this from an employee’s perspective. In 2000 I made the difficult choice to leave a role in HR that I loved and had a great team, to join a new organisation as it was a great career move. At lunchtime on my first day I vividly remember being sat at my desk in a shared office wondering what people did for lunch; what time did people go, where did they go, who did they go with. As I sat there like Billy No Mates, I seriously considered ringing my old manager and asking for my job back. All it needed was for someone to at least explain the process for lunch breaks, or even better offer to show me where the canteen was and come with me.

An induction needs to be so much more than “here’s your desk, get on with it”. If you want the employee to be effective as soon as possible you need to make sure they know what is expected of them and in some cases how to do it. Formal inductions can vary from a few hours covering the essentials right through to several weeks. Of course some roles are more self-explanatory than others, but you need to decide what a new employee in each role in your business needs and then plan it.

Making sure they stay

Related to the induction, you also want to be sure that your new employee stays with you, not necessarily forever but certainly enough to make your investment worthwhile and to add value to your business.

The best way to do this is to work towards providing a working environment and role that they are engaged with. By this I mean encouraging them – over time – to be committed to your business so they want to do their best for it. Do they have genuine belief in what the business does, want to do their best for their manager and customers, and not let their team down? This is what is known as employee engagement, and is what makes a business really thrive.

To get an engaged workforce takes a lot of work but is worth the effort in terms of the results it will deliver. There is a huge amount of research in this area, but the basics are making sure that people feel valued by an organisation, believe in it and have a say in how it operates. This is delivered through excellent communication and line management and it starts from the moment they walk through the door on day one.

Have a look through the other blogs on this site, my specialism is engagement so there are many written on this!

Emma Wynne Character
Written by:
Emma Wynne
Managing Director