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What should be on your induction programme for new recruits?

Settling new recruits at work is much more than showing them where the toilets are and then leaving them at their desk with a pile of work.

While some employers may regard induction as a pointless HR exercise and expect new appointments to just get on with it, the evidence suggests that making the effort early reaps big rewards.

First impressions can have a lasting effect on career outcomes, particularly for young people new to the workplace.

Employers who get it right and invest properly in induction often succeed in creating a positive sense of loyalty and attachment in new staff.

Those who get wrong can foster negative feelings of disappointment and resentment that never really disappear - leading to loss of productivity and possibly an early resignation. Eight out of ten staff who leave organisations are new employees.

Making an induction programme

Preparing for a new recruit's arrival ensures that the individual become effective in the organisation quickly. A planned induction programme is the best means to harness the incomer's excitement and eagerness to impress.

It doesn't all have to happen on the first day; elements of it could take weeks or even months to cover. In any case, induction should be the beginning of a process of staff development that continues throughout a career.

Before the new recruit starts, organisations can plan who will meet them, who will act as 'buddy' or mentor, where they will work, and send them useful information about the organisation and their new workplace.

The first day should be about helping new arrivals find their feet and get familiar with the working environment, and introducing colleagues, managers and mentors.

Providing an aide-memoire with names, faces, contacts and job titles will help them remember names - and avoid them the embarrassment of forgetting who's who.

If there's time for it, get the pressing paperwork out of the way - such as staff security card and P45. Health and safety issues, such as what to do in an emergency, they should know from the off.

The first week

By the first week, it's good to have gone over how the organisation works in more detail, explaining what the new employee's role is and how they fit in to its plans and vision for the future.

This could touch on training and development opportunities, routes for promotion, and how performance will be assessed.

Look at the terms and conditions of their employment contracts, explaining the detail of matters such as probationary periods.

Let them know what the standards of acceptable behaviour are, including company policies on social media and email use, and other important rules about, say, dress code, smoking, parking, notice periods, parental leave and so on.

It's also the moment to explain how discipline, grievance, capability and absence management issues are dealt with.

When they are more settled

After a month, you could check on how they are settling in, whether they have any concerns, or need further training or advice, with options for a further review at three months.

At six months, it could be time for the organisation to make a decision about employees on probation, and if they're staying, new objectives and training needs could be established.

And by the year end, the employee could have a full performance management review or appraisal, including an opportunity to give feedback about the effectiveness of their induction.

Remember that some employees may need special attention, particularly to reassure or to address anxiety, such as recent school leavers, people returning to work after a long absence, people with disabilities, individuals undergoing gender reassignment, professional trainees and minorities.

Acas publications and services

Settling in a new employee: A step-by-step guide is one of a suite of step-by-step guides to help you get it right in key areas of employment relations. The guide shows you how to get your new recruits up to speed quickly, so that they're effective and engaged members of the team from day one.

The pdf icon Starting staff: induction guide [356kb] looks at the various stages of the process in greater detail, including special considerations about certain groups who need extra attention, and an word icon Outline of a job induction checklist [75kb] is also available for free download.

Acas experts can visit your organisation and help you review your recruitment and induction procedures. See Recruitment and Retention: how Acas can help for further details.


Practical Acas training is also available on the related areas of Recruitment, Staff retention, Skills for supervisors, Contracts and terms and conditions, and Employing People - A Practical Introduction for newer employers.

For free, impartial advice and guidance visit Acas Helpline Online.

Visit the Acas Training Courses, Workshops and Projects area for more information.

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