HR managers and business managers often debate about the effectiveness of induction programme and its impact on the ability of new employees to adapt and bond quickly with the organisation.
HR managers and business managers often debate about the effectiveness of induction programme and its impact on the ability of new employees to adapt and bond quickly with the organisation. Most often HR managers do plan a comprehensive induction programme for new employees yet they fall short of expectations on account of several reasons. Feedbacks taken at the end of the induction programme often indicate the concern around information overload in the given duration and the ability to absorb all the details shared.
In large organisations, there are many departments and people to get to know and a week or fortnight is not adequate to do justice to all of this. However, if the time spent on induction has to be extended, organisations feel the pinch of time and cost incurred on expensive resources.
Then there are the challenges around how the information is shared with the new employees. Based on the level and experience of the new employees, different information packs have to be designed. New employees may have several questions, handling them is an art in itself. For organisations which are located in multiple geographies, this process is even more tedious and time consuming. While planning for induction programmes, if adequate care is not taken to ensure the core message of the business and expectations are communicated effectively, new employees may end up getting confused with the roles and the expectations set for them, even as they get started.
Therefore, organisations which onboard large number of employees on a regular basis give utmost attention to the induction process and use a careful mix of tools to make it a meaningful and an enjoyable experience for the employees. The judicious use of digital tools and technology in conjunction with face to face interactions would pave the way in enabling the induction programme realise its objectives.
The purpose of induction programme is manifold—it is aimed at helping the newcomers understand and align with the culture of the organisation; making aware about the key people that they would work with; getting familiar with the domain and product offerings of the business, getting exposure to the processes and systems that they are expected to deal with and for those who are relocating to new geographies, also getting to know important every day routines in these locations.
Some of the subjects that are good to know but are not confidential in nature could be shared with the candidates even before they onboard with the organisation. Contents that are in the public domain and are available on the website of the company or elsewhere on the internet could be packaged well and customised for the specific groups of employees and shared with them prior to their onboarding.
Once the candidates come onboard, depending upon the levels in which they are expected to function, information that has to be shared could be categorised such that general introduction and vital information could be communicated on a face to face mode and rest of the information could be made available through intranet. In order to make the process of assimilating large amounts of information easy and at the same time assess their absorption rates, some organisations are using interesting formats of e-learning including interactive gaming. This not only makes the induction programme exciting but the competitive approach leading to rewards built into the programme ensures higher levels of attention and absorption.
Further the engagement levels would be high when the content could be accessed via mobile devices and the learning management system could calendarise the learning plan as well as monitor the progress with the periodic reports and assessments being shared with the supervisors investing in high quality videos by experts in different domains along with the views of physical layout of businesses at different locations could be immensely helpful and accessed via YouTube. These would help the newcomers get a much clearer view of the business and help them absorb the content at their own pace. Well planned virtual classroom sessions would help in bridging distances and avoiding the necessity for experts or the candidates to travel.
Many organisations have benefitted with the identification of buddies during the induction phase. Tech led buddy system if devised well could be very effective as it would not only be feasible to have more than one buddy but the conversations would help in strengthening the knowledge management system for future updates and also help with quick introductions to people and systems that could address their queries. Organisations that have built extensive knowledge management systems would recognise its value most when transitioning the knowledge and experience of the past with the new employees.
While the induction programmes focus on imparting explicit knowledge, getting new employees upto speed with the tacit knowledge is a bigger challenge. Conversion of explicit knowledge into tacit knowledge is an art that has to be cultivated and imbibed in the organisation culture. The ability to make use of the preserved tacit knowledge along with harnessing new competencies of new employees would help businesses in retaining their competitive edge in the market place. Induction programmes should highlight the importance of retaining organisation memory and the benefits for new employees to adapt to the organisation with speed and therefore the responsibility they have in perpetuating this culture by contributing and preserving the knowledge assets for future.
The writer is CEO, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company