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Reflecting on your year's inductions

Businesses continue to grapple with the digital transformation as the competitive landscape gets more competitive. In such an environment, organizations have to find and keep individuals who will upraise them to the next level of growth. As ever, December is a good time to start looking back at the previous 11 months and get the full picture of your organisation and where your induction might help improve your workforce and workflow.

Inductions aren't just checklists to go through where you tick a box here and there. A comprehensive and fine-tuned induction program helps the workforce adapt to the organization's standards, and understand their responsibilities and your expectations of them. It also acts as an ongoing annual compliance process for critical areas such as HR and Health and Safety, so your workforce can quickly reach and retain maximum productivity.

Insights and Lessons Learned

Yes, induction is a common process for a wide array of managers who engage and preside over contractors, employees, and visitors who work on a site or workplace. However, it's as much about gaining insights as it's about following streamlined guidelines. The focus should be on what lessons you learned in the workplace so you can ensure your workers stay up to date on relevant changes, particularly regarding policies and procedures, as well as new safety measures.

Take incidents, for example. What kind of incidents happened? Slips, trips, and falls, maybe machine-operated accidents or overexertion-induced injuries? Were there a lot of them or did you keep the number to a minimum? All these common workplace accidents (near misses, in my book) and safety observations can provide the invaluable information you can learn from in order to prevent incidents from happening next year.

Step back and try to get an all-encompassing view. What were the workforce challenges at an organizational level? As one of the more obvious ones, health and safety standards routinely come in the forefront, not just because they're governed by law but because they're vital to the overall employee wellbeing. But what about changing employment laws, either on local, state, and federal levels? Was workplace diversity implemented accordingly through predefined standards of behavior? Nowadays, companies have the opportunity (more of an advantage, really) to employ a diverse and global workforce. This means local policies and procedures must be in tune to reflect a mixed bag of experiences, ideas, and perspectives that global expansion brings.

Knowledge Management Gaps

More importantly, what knowledge management gaps were present between the leaving staff and new ones arriving? As some employees leave for greener pastures, their expertise, knowledge, business relationships, and extensive training leave with them. These elements took years, sometimes even decades to cultivate and they simply can't be replaced (and thus solved) with new hirings. As businesses evolve and grow outside their shells, so do their visions, strategies, and internal processes. Some employees have difficulties keeping up with these changes, which makes the responsibility of adapting the workforce to changes and growth all the more important.

Instead of going through the numbers, organizations should treat induction as a strategic opportunity to reconfigure their entire culture and take it in a new and desirable direction, especially in the face of expansion. If done properly, the induction process will allow every newcomer, whether it's a contractor, employee or visitor to build the foundations necessary for deep relationships not just within the team but throughout the organization, and provide him or her the best possible starting point.

What are the things you need to update?

Based on the observations and lessons learned, what are the things you need to update in your induction?

Start with making sure you bring up to date your workplace learning and inductions for employees, contractors, and visitors. Investing in the development and training of employees is critical to keeping them engaged and productive. It doesn't have to be a time consuming and costly process as you can provide online inductions that your workforce can go through when it's most convenient for them. Important workplace content like safety materials, policies and procedures can be formatted into interactive and bite-sized chunks for easier consumption.

As an effective method for training, online solutions should include refresher induction training for all staff and contractors, highlighting what's changed for the upcoming year. For instance, on-field employees, being one of the hardest workers, often don't have the time to take a training course. In order for the business to remain competitive, training must be enabled round the clock so employees don't become overloaded, stressed or just plain bored. The importance of continuous training mustn't be underestimated as the induction process doesn't end after a week or a month of training - it's an ongoing process.

You also need to make sure you reflect on the lessons learned from past year experiences so that the staff can be aware of these things and understand them. In today's fast-paced climate, businesses must be quick to adapt, or they risk being left behind and overrun by their competitors. The challenge is getting everyone to embrace the change and learn. With any change, make sure you set clear goals and provide the relevant training so your workforce gets comfortable and understands the why, when, and how. They are your most valuable asset and you want them to contribute as soon as possible. A powerful induction program, as well as the lack of one for that matter, can be the difference whether a new worker successfully integrates and shows continued engagement or leaves swiftly. It's the entry point into understanding what makes the organization tick and it can critically affect whether the business meets its potential or not. That one is on you.

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