Anybody who’s delivered Induction programmes before will know that, far too often, they’re packed full of content that new starters couldn’t possibly remember.
Organisations seem intent on overwhelming new starters with everything they need them to know on Day One:
“Our company was formed in blah blah blah… We started off as a widget maker… We now operate in all known solar systems… Here’s the intranet. Here’s how you book holiday. This is what you do if you’re sick. Here are the company goals. Here are the fire exits. Here is our LMS. Here’s where you select your benefits. Rah rah rah…”
Have you ever delivered your induction with the health warning, “Now, we don’t expect you to remember all of this…”?
The alternative is to flip the situation and use technology to make things easier, more efficient and better – as we would expect in almost every other area of our daily lives.
So, rather than deliver your organisation’s content, tap into the concerns of your new starters and provide them with the answers and guidance they want – and need – whilst steering them towards other useful ‘stuff’ that they can collect and use – when they are ready. Doing this with digital resources in Looop is not only more efficient and effective at supporting new starters, it also frees up valuable face-to-face time to do what will add the most value (to your new starters and your organisation) by meaningfully connecting your new starters with each other and getting them really excited about joining your company. In effect, it means revving them up, plugging them in, and equipping them with the tools to make the most of their motivation, skills and newly-established connections.
There is no shortage of content online these days but what’s not freely available online is: how to be successful at your company. That is locked away in people’s heads and is commonly experienced between colleagues, stakeholders and customers of your organisation. Unpacking that for the benefit of those who want it when they join you is the value you bring with a ‘resources-first’ approach.
Capitalising on the 3 stages of Induction
We’ve categorised 3 stages that require different approaches to supporting and guiding your new starters, not to over-complicate it, but to differentiate their needs. At each stage, your new starters are ready and open to new information and know-how that will accelerate their speed to competence – both efficiently and in a way that makes sense to them.
Stage 1: From ‘Yes’ to ‘Desk’ (before Day One)
From the moment they accept the job offer (‘Yes’) to when they arrive on Day One (‘Desk’) your candidate will be excited, apprehensive, motivated, and under interrogation from their friends and family:
“What’s your new job, then?”
“What company is it?”
“What do they do?”
“Will there be much travel?”
“What will you be doing there?”
Imagine doing them a huge favour and helping your successful candidates to answer these questions…
Imagine fuelling their excitement by sharing some of the cool things your company is involved with…
Imagine addressing their apprehension by letting them know what to expect when they first join and how they could be best prepared!
By doing all of this, you will have somebody ready and raring to go on Day One.
Here are a list of the Top 5 resources that will prepare your candidates to answer the questions of their nearest and dearest, as well as prepare them for Day One (as road-tested by your Looop peers in other companies):
- What to expect on your first day: This is the most popular resource in pre-boarding. This resource needn’t be exhaustively cover everything in detail. Just imagine you’re telling a close friend what to expect on their first day at your company. Let them know if there will be an induction event, lunch with their colleagues, to expect to meet a lot of people, and to just take in as much as they can.
- Things to prepare before you start: There may be some paperwork they need to bring with them, or they may need to bring in their passport, or you may wish to share some advice that will help make things easier for them when they arrive. You might want to mention the best route to the office or who to ask for at reception.
- Where my department fits into the company: The context of where you fit in is important in any aspect of life and whilst providing this useful insight you are also laying the foundations of understanding their role a little better.
- Meet the team: Remembering people and names is hard in any new job so share some information about your candidate’s immediate team with a short video or head shots and text. Either way, help them to connect with team mates and get a headstart on Day One.
- What to wear around the office: Don’t underestimate the very basic need to fit in – and not stand out for the wrong reasons. Office dress codes aren’t as cut and dry as they used to be, so share what you know (the explicit and implicit rules) about what to wear at your office – and with clients (if that’s different).
You don’t need to start with more than 5 resources. Remember, you’re not ‘training’ them before they join – that would be challenging the psychological employment contract (they’re not on the payroll just yet!)
Check your resources with recent new starters and ask them if these would have been helpful to them before their first day. Then, get your resources out the door as quickly as you can to start preparing your candidates and start collecting actual user data!
Stage 2: Day One/Week One
New starters need a great deal of guidance during their initial stages at a new company but ‘content dumping’ – even in bite-sized chunks – won’t help them. By thinking about what your new starters will be trying to do during their first day and first week – and framing these as questions – you can guide them forwards with experience that you and your colleagues already have.
Here are the top 5 resources that work in other companies:
- How do I get off to a good start at Company X? Include tips that work in your company, like: Spend time with your line manager to understand short-term goals, meet your team mates, introduce yourself to clients and stakeholders and find out what problems they need you to solve for them, etc.
- What do I need to do to set up my technology? If not hardware, then certainly making sense of software, i.e. what system to use and when.
- What do I need to understand regarding my regulatory responsibilities? This could be a link to your online compliance training or you could address these in other resources on Looop.
- How do I really get to know the company? This may make reference to: getting the most of ‘Meet and Greets’, finding useful information inside the company, asking good questions, etc.
- What do successful employees wish they’d known from the start? This could be a really powerful set of quotes from – or a video montage of – recent new starters describing that they wish they’d known. People love real stories and they can be more than worth your time in gathering.
Stage 3: Up to 3 Months
We’ve all been new starters, so we know how hard it is to establish ourselves in a new team and start really demonstrating our value. How hard it can be to understand the nuances of the new organisation and how everything fits together. And how to get things done! You can’t expect to deliver a course for all of this but you can lay breadcrumbs, as digital resources, that show the way, based upon the paths that other successful employees have trodden. Beyond the transactional stuff, stories and tips from colleagues could prove to be invaluable – and will help you to uncover other useful topics that could also be turned into resources over time.
Useful resources during this stage include:
- How do I request annual leave / process expenses, etc? Don’t train new starters on internal systems, Instead, break down the steps that they’ll be expected to perform into resources that support and guide them while they are working. Use screen-recordings to demonstrate the actions required to complete individuals tasks, as if you were showing a colleague who’d asked you for help.
- How do successful employees get on here? This is a really powerful way of expressing the accepted and rewarded behaviours in your company. Phrasing these in a way that appeals to the motivations of ambitious new starters can help you to influence the way they learn to perform at your company.
- What development opportunities are there for me at the company? It might still be early days but ambitious people are climbing their own ladder and want to know how you might help. Don’t just outline what provision you have in place in terms of courses and programmes, share what successful people in your organisation do in order to grow. For example, they speak regularly with their line manager, find a mentor, develop a plan, network purposefully across the business, and make themselves available for cross-functional projects.
- How should I run my P&L here? Budgets are just one example of an internal process that’s specific to an organisation. Where an employee has a role responsibility that relies on unique internal know-how, unpack processes to provide both a high-level overview and more detailed practical steps.
- If there was just one more thing…? Ask recent new starters if anything is missing from this list that would have made their induction better. I’m going to guess that there is at least one more thing that your people would thank you for sharing because it helps them to establish themselves more quickly in your company. Push yourself to find that one more thing.
So, there they are: 5 resources for each stage of induction. You don’t need any more to get started. You’re building a Minimum Viable Solution to get the resources in the hands of your new starters, so that you can start collecting data and build out from there.
This is so easy to do that you could do it today in 5 simple steps:
- Create one Workspace in Looop called: Before you join us
- Within that Workspace, create the first 5 resources (from the ‘Before Day One’ section above), adding your company’s images as cover pages and just enough information to be useful in each resource. These needn’t be exhaustive but they do have to be useful. Once you’ve created them, share them with a couple of colleagues to make sure that each one offers sufficient value.
- Get them out there! Those resources are solving no problems by sitting in your ‘Drafts’ section. Trial them with candidates and start collecting engagement data and usefulness ratings.
- Create another workspace called: Welcome to (your company’s name).
- Within this workspace, create the rest of the resources listed above. Again, adding your company’s images as cover pages and just enough information to be useful in each resource. Share them again with a couple of colleagues to make sure that each one offers sufficient value before putting them in the hands of your new starters.
And that’s it!
Your digital resources will take a few minutes each to create and offer value to your new starters before they even join you on their first day. Your Minimum Viable Solution will grow based upon actual user engagement and feedback, without weeks of planning and an exhaustive implementation plan. Scale what works and compliment your resources with high-value face-to-face experiences.
Measure the effectiveness of your efforts by being clear what problem you’re trying to solve with any induction intervention. Are you increasing speed to competence? Are you looking to address unacceptable churn rates? Or are you trying to positively impact engagement? Whatever your reasons are, understand your starting point and progress from there.
None of what has been shared here is theoretical. All of it is already working at some of the most successful and admired companies in the world and so feel free to copy what they’re doing for great results at yours!
If better induction is a priority for your company then you can get solving this today, in a results-focused and data-driven way with ‘resources-first’.
David James is Chief Learning Strategist with Looop and a seasoned Talent Management, Learning & OD leader with nearly 20 years of experience in the field. Most notably, David was Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company’s EMEA region.
Looop help their clients all over the world to digitally transform their L&D and capitalise on how people really want to learn today with a platform that is renowned for its extraordinary levels of learner engagement.