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Is there a better way to integrate new people?

By Jim Mc Phee

The speed and quality of integrating new employees into businesses is, at best hit or miss. In most cases it is left to the discretion of line managers, who may not fully realise the consequences of getting it right or wrong.

Get it right and the likely outcome is a motivated team member who is willing and able to contribute. Get it wrong and the consequences are seen as a turnover statistic. We spend millions of pounds each year recruiting high calibre, business critical people only to neglect a vital process that if done well will ensure the new person feels they belong to the business and are clear on how they can best contribute to the future success.

So how can we get it right more often?

The answer lies in having a well-designed defined induction process where everyone including the new employee understands his or her role. The basic elements are likely to be: face-to-face training, reading material, company publications and more recently an e learning module.

What is the value of e learning during induction?

E learning brings the ability to deliver a consistent message to all new employees. It removes the uncertainty of whether a manager has or hasn’t communicated the key information at the right time and allows the process owner to have information as to whether the new employee is making progress through at an appropriate speed and then provide feedback and guidance where necessary. The information gained is only as good as the action taken as a result of the analysis. It is easy to suffer form too much data and be unable to focus on the priority areas. To help this a clear evaluation plan agree at the outset will drive a systematic review and allow expectations at all levels to be met.

E learning can be personalised and tailored to whatever level and role the individual is within the business. In this way key benefits can be reinforced eg reward or environment and the overall employment brand developed. Messages can be included from the CEO or business area director welcoming the new recruit and outlining the key challenges facing the business. The areas covered can include: corporate welcome, company history, products, customers, communication, legal requirements and performance management. The exact composition will often be determined by budget and the diversity of the business. A very diverse business will mean greater complexity, a situation that a well designed e learning package can satisfy.

Provided the application is available via the Internet, a great advantage can be gained by giving access to the e learning prior to new people actually joining the business. It gives a further insight and helps to confirm the decision to changes jobs. It also allows family members to participate in the job changing process.

Induction e learning modules can be reused with minimal modification for existing employees to communicate changes to existing processes or update company information eg performance management or reward. By introducing e learning as part of induction it will be absolutely normal for it to be the media to use to learn and gain information. E learning is also a useful tool to include a questionnaire to receive feedback on the recruitment and induction process. It will provide vital information to improve your process and reinforce the culture of continuous improvement at an early stage.

Getting the mix right

There is a lot more to including an e learning module in the induction process than just designing and publishing the e learning modules, although don’t underestimate the resource needed to achieve this! Workbooks need to be produced and distributed, administration needs to work efficiently, passwords need to be communicated, tracking and feedback put in place, help desk support commissioned and trained.

Most importantly, managers must be trained in the process and actually complete the e learning for themselves. This will have a twofold advantage, namely they will learn more about their business and also be better positioned to support the new employee as they complete it. A well designed and easy to use approach will increase the confidence of line managers and ultimately result in a better job

The financial benefits

The business case to determine the inclusion of e learning will be driven by:

• Turnover
• The volume and mix of new recruits
• Current spend on induction

The solution you choose can vary greatly in price according to the length and complexity. The spend should be considered in the light of the costs associated with recruitment and the costs of poor staff retention including the management time needed to complete each process. A generally accepted statistic that may help in building your business case is that an
investment of 2 times salary is required to replace an employee who leaves.

The service interval

It may be stating the obvious, but the content of any e learning should be regularly reviewed and updated. The message sent to new employees if their first significant learning experience is flawed will be a tough one to change during future training.

Systematic reviews and clear accountability for maintenance are essential. The use of content management tools can greatly minimise costs and should be considered as a factor in selecting your provider during the tendering phase.

Final words

Induction, enhanced with e learning, should be the glue that joins the recruitment and performance management processes. If it is not in place, the timescales for new people feeling like they belong and really pulling their weight will be significantly increased. E learning is a useful tool to accelerate integration and provided it is balanced by the right degree of other media and efficient administration, will prove to be a valuable addition to your organisation.

I hope you found this article valuable, if so let me know.

If you would like to know more what we do please contact me by e mail jim.mcphee@maximisingcapability or telephone 07817 790268

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“….I believe that individuals have the power and capability to do great things but too often limit their performance due to a lack of clarity or the fear of confronting the issues….“

Jim McPhee
Maximising Capability

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