4 April 2014
Getting new people settled within your business is a really important process. Get it wrong and people will feel confused about their role; unable to answer questions or make decisions. Get it right and they’ll thrive; gaining confidence and knowledge, and feeling like a part of the team. So what kinds of things should an induction include and what is its purpose in the first place?
While most induction processes often cover the basics, such as a walk around the workplace, a bit of an introduction and the obligatory HR paperwork, I wonder whether many of them truly believe in the value of it all. To some people, time is money and – as they see it – time spent focussing on an intensive induction is time wasted. However, I would argue that it’s time well invested, and I think you could go as far as to say that if you cut corners this early on, you’re likely to see negative repercussions cropping up later.
I think our induction process has improved tenfold since Arlene and Aaron, our amazing trainers, have come on board and taken things up a gear. The process they’ve created spans two weeks, sometimes more, and it’s one of the most comprehensive I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t matter what area of expertise new employees are going into; they’ll still get an in depth technical introduction to products and services, take apart a server and tour the data centres, as well as a whole load of shadowing across the board. Whilst not everyone will have to work on all of these things directly, it’s still imperative that they’re comfortable understanding and talking about them.
One thing I’ve not mentioned so far, but is really important, is culture. It’s vital that the induction process covers brand, company history, values and purpose. I know Aaron and Arlene take new starters through a who’s who of the company and share some great tales for that personal touch. It’s important for us to do this because it’s not just a business these people are coming into; it’s a family as well. It’s easy to skim over the company culture, but it’s arguably one of the most important parts of the process, especially if you recruit based on people’s attitudes and values.
As a final point, I’ve also learned that an induction isn’t all about giving information about the company. It’s also about the people you’re welcoming. What are their backgrounds and expectations? How do they want to develop professionally? Starting at a company shouldn’t be the end of your education, but the beginning. This, and probably the fact that both Aaron and Arlene are former teachers, is why new starters at UKFast actually get homework and jump into exam training for relevant certifications almost immediately.
At the heart of any good business is people, so it makes complete sense to invest in them from the off, and cover all the bases when it comes to making them feel at home. And if that’s not enough, you could always take them up Mount Snowdon…