How to Make Great Workplace Inductions

Onboarding people effectively

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Firstly, let’s think about the aim of induction, we want to help our new workers (employees and contractors) to feel welcome, fit in quickly and understand how our business works and what our values are. We also want to make sure they are able to understand and work safety around any of our common hazards.

What is a workplace Induction?

It might be called various other names: orientation, site induction, online induction, staff induction. Basically they all mean the same thing. It is the process where new employees learn and adapt to the norms and expectations of the organization to quickly reach maximum productivity. Sometimes called onboarding, it’s what needs to happen from the time between offering someone a job and up to a month after they have commenced work (some parts of the induction process may continue past day 1).

We need to consider both new staff (permanent and casuals) and contractors.  The needs of these 3 groups can vary somewhat, so we need to consider these differences and make sure we don’t cut corners by making a one size fits all type of induction. We want to make sure that new people are only provided with what THEY PARTICULARLY need, otherwise we can drown them in information. Also, we might actually want to collect information during induction, for example contractors insurances and Workcover information, emergency contact information. The relevant information will vary with different groups.

What makes a good workplace induction?

Words that come to mind – efficient, timely, engaging, motivating, inspiring, well-structured, easy to follow, well-contextualized.

What makes a poor workplace induction?

Words that come to mind – irrelevant information, wordy, boring, long, overwhelming

What should be covered in a good workplace induction?

  • The company mission and values
  • The organisational structure (who’s who)
  • Specific technical skills
  • Safety procedures and typical hazards in the work environment and how to avoid exposure to them
  • Incident reporting
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Acceptable workplace behaviours
  • Dress requirements

Methods of delivering workplace induction

For a small company it might be more efficient to run group sessions, for example or arrange one-on-one buddy type inductions. If you are doing this, make sure to develop an induction checklist so that

  1. The person delivering the induction doesn’t miss anything
  2. You have somewhere to record that the induction has taken place

For a medium to large organisation, you will ideally use a few methods which work together to form an overall induction.

Firstly, you might put together on online induction. A good online induction will include:

  • Video (ie the CEO Welcome message)
  • Some written or audio information broken in to small easily digestible chunks
    • Key policies and procedures
    • Key information about your company
      • Locations
      • Product and Services
      • Brands
    • Pictures relevant to the text and demonstrating your organisational culture
    • Collection of information (ie contractor insurances, emergency contacts, etc)
    • A quiz to ensure / test understanding of the information provided
    • A declaration to record understanding, agreement to comply
    • A certificate to verify successful completion of all of the above
    • Auto-generated reports of induction completions for your records

Once this online induction is ready to go, you may even choose to have new workers complete the induction prior to commencement, as they should be able to access the induction from the internet with simple emailed instructions.

The online portion of the induction could alternatively be done via a classroom method, however problems with this may include:

  • Having enough people starting at once to justify a room and a person to run the induction
  • The consistency of the information is not quite as guaranteed as each trainer will put their own spin on the content
  • If a person misses the session, how will you complete their induction on their own without wasting resources?

Ideally, this online or classroom-based induction will be followed up by some further one-on-one induction with a supervisor or co-worker. This might involves showing the person around and introducing them to co-workers. Perhaps providing ID cards, keys etc. This part of the induction should also be recorded with a checklist so that nothing is forgotten and you have a record.

How to set up an online induction?

There are many commercial platforms that can be purchased to host an online induction, but in my experience, the best way to go is via Moodle.  Moodle is a learning platform designed to provide educators, administrators, and learners with a single robust, secure and integrated system to create personalised learning environments. Click here for a quick video explaining how Moodle works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxVNd4uaw0Y (or see below). You can download the software onto your own web server but it is preferable to have it hosted by a Moodle specialist.  The good news about Moodle, is that it is open-sourced software, which means you don’t actually pay for it, therefore providing a very affordable option for those struggling with justifying a significant budget for inductions. OHS&HR Management Systems specialises in helping organisations with hosting and development of online Moodle-based inductions. For more information check out this link https://ohsmanagementsystems.com.au/online-induction-and-training/, or go directly to www.safetyinduct.com.au

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