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Organisational Inductions - you are doing them wrong

Recently I was talking to a group of people (all from different organisations) about Standard Work. That is when organisations have a method of doing things, just one method, everyone does it the same way so you can get repeatable results. However, the important thing about these standard work routines or practices is that they do have to change over time, they must keep improving. They do that because the people working with them continually challenge them and ask how can I do this better, it may be only a 1 second saving but over time it mounts up and eventually you find that you haven't saved a second you have saved 10 minutes or an hour or eliminated the process altogether.

One of the people I was talking too laughed at this point and said, oh, that must be what happened to the induction processes at my organisation, they improved them so much they eliminated them! Everyone was amused at this quip, but you could see that at least 6 of the 10 all felt something similar or had experienced a feeling of despair when they joined a new company.

It is not a surprise 

When someone joins your organisation they have gone through an application process, an interviewing process, possibly some medicals and reference checks and then finally they get their start date. They turn up on that date, excited and nervous about their first day, only to find you are not ready for them. There is no desk, no log in and no induction plan for them, which given that them starting that day is not a surprise you have to wonder how it got to this point?

Quickly things are cobbled together and at some point, they start meeting others in the company but by this point the 1st impression is made. Except, this is not a first impression, that was made all the way back the initial application and interview process. Now what they are seeing is the real you, the real way the organisation works, what the real culture is and that is when it tends to hit. The feeling of have I made a mistake, this is not what I was expecting, what have I let myself in for or just, these guys are a bunch of, well I'll let you finish that statement based on your experiences.

The Importance of Inductions  

So many organisations rush through an 'induction' because they are busy, and they want this new person to get to work. They cover off the health & safety stuff – that may be just handing them a manual and saying here read all 400 pages of this (I have seen this happen!) or maybe some video's, they will (hopefully) cover off where the toilets are, start & finish times, maybe get the bank details sorted out so the person can be paid. All of these things are important, but they could all be doing before the person even sets foot in your organisation (we can even support this with our MANGO QHSE software).

The most important part of the induction is about helping these new hires understand your organisation. It is about ensuring that they understand how they fit in and how they will belong in the organisation. It is about explaining the culture of the company, working through each of the values that your company holds dear and explain why they matter and what they mean. It is about explaining the purpose of your company, why does it exist and what areas are you focused on, where are you going in the future with this organisation and why this person is going to help you get there.

The aim of the induction is to help this person to understand what makes your organisation tick, what drives people, what behaviours are acceptable and what is not, what should they expect to see happen. For example, if there is an expectation in your organisation that people will passionately argue the facts and not let it become personal (and you absolutely should be doing this) the person needs to know about it. If for instance, they come from a company that values harmony and does not tolerate people challenging each other then your organisation is going to be hard for them to grasp, initially.

Walking through Values, Behaviours, organisation direction may sound like soft and fluffy stuff when you compare it to health and safety or the finance rules, but it is not in the least. It is hard and it is important. You are taking the time to explain to the person how your entire organisation works, how it co-operates, it's entire belief system while at the same time telling them, hey look if you find a better way of doing something we absolutely expect you to step up and tell everyone about it, even if you are only 5 minutes in the door.

Really Great organisations get that bringing someone into the company and doing it right the 1st time is critical, they know they are never going to get a better chance to really imprint on the person what it is to be part of this organisation. Of course, they also need to see all of this stuff in reality as well, outside of the induction, they need to see people living and breathing the values, they need to see people holding each other to account and they need to see people being given the chance to stap up and change things. If they don't then pretty quickly, they are going to realise that your induction, was just another empty sales pitch, a batch of standard work that didn't get changed to fit the new reality and then they will leave.

When they do leave, guess what, you need to also have a great exit process as well, but that's another post.


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Monday, 26 October 2020

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