Guide to induction and training

The usual definition of induction is a formal introduction of a new employee to a job. However, Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula and SmallBusiness.co.uk, our Q&A panel expert, feels that induction and training should not only happen at the start of employment, but ‘should be ongoing in order to provide solutions to problems as the job duties change’.

Usually, much time, effort and money has been spent even before the new employee starts. A smooth professional introduction to the organisation and the employee’s role within it will ensure that money is not wasted because the newcomer leaves soon after beginning.

Here are my top tips on getting the most out of new starters.

Teach in stages: There are a whole host of subjects that need to be covered to ensure the smooth induction of an individual into any organisation. Some will have to be carried out immediately, especially if there is a high security or health and safety risk; others are more suitably dealt with at a later stage.

Plan your induction: A properly planned and executed induction programme will ensure a more relaxed and confident employee, comfortable with their new colleagues and their own role within the organisation. It ensures that relevant paperwork is completed relating to national insurance number, P45 or P46, driving licence, SSP1 form, bank details, emergency contact, permits to work (if applicable) and so on. You should also provide the employee with their statement of main terms and conditions of employment, including supporting policies and rules, to comply with health and safety obligations.

Make sure training is completed: Someone in the organisation should be responsible for ensuring that the induction is carried out properly. That person may carry it out themselves or delegate to others. Some induction subjects are common to all starters while some will only apply to a specific job in a specific department. Inevitably, induction will have to be carried out over a period of time and will almost certainly involve more than one person. It is therefore vital that it is properly planned in a sensible order and recorded as completed, including the signature and date of the newcomer confirming that each stage of training has indeed been done.

Test your new employee: Where the newcomer is acquiring knowledge, try to organise it in appropriate bite sizes. You must also ensure that the learner has learnt. The answer is invariably ‘yes’ to the question ‘Do you understand?’ – it is a brave soul who says ‘no’ as a newcomer. It is the trainer’s responsibility to ensure the lesson has been learnt, so make sure you test that you have been understood.

Keep training: Changes to an individual’s role, especially where it is to be expanded to include extra responsibilities or where promotion to a more senior grade is involved, pose their own particular problems. Again, proper planning for the training is essential to be able to carry out the new duties effectively.

Related: Six reasons why you should invest in training

General statistics show that half of all leavers resign within the first three months and a further 25 per cent leave within the second three months. Well-planned and executed training for new starters and ongoing changes/promotions should minimise this, lead to higher-quality performance from staff and higher morale among your workforce.

Click here for tips on establishing the right wage levels for prospective employees.

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