Never underestimate the importance of an effective induction program for new employees. Induction is the vital first step in performance management - the perfect time to promote your workplace culture and make new staff aware of expectations, policies and procedures.
A well-structured and up-to-date induction program can help minimise staff resignations and increase productivity.
The process can take anything from several hours to a few weeks. Depending on your type of business and work environment, steps can include:
- introductions to other staff
- provision of uniform, locker, email address, business cards
- appointing a work colleague as a 'buddy' to explain the job and show the new employee around
- informal staff meetings to ensure there are no issues
- documented probationary meetings at the end of the first, second and third months.
Induction is ongoing, particularly for employees who change roles. Keep staff informed of any workplace changes that might affect them.
Duty of care
As an employer you have a duty of care to ensure all employees are protected. During induction new staff need to be aware of:
- possible threats to their health and safety
- procedures that ensure they do not suffer injury or illness while at work
- the proper use of protective equipment.
It is the employer's responsibility to provide proper training and supervision until new staff are familiar with safety procedures.
Make no assumptions – lack of familiarity means a new person is more at risk of being injured, regardless of their previous experience.
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Induction programs should be modified for different employees:
- school leavers – limited work experience means they are likely to need more support, instruction and supervision in the first few months
- graduates – while they also need extra support they will be keen to apply their learning and this should be encouraged
- career changers/mature age – induction should focus on identifying their skills while filling any knowledge gaps - try not to over-supervise their work.
Australian and State Government laws prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities, ethnic or social minorities, those with caring responsibilities and people from a non-English speaking background.
Reasonable workplace adjustments may be required to accommodate newly employed people from these groups.
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