Last weekend, my son had his very first swimming lesson. He spent the week prior to this lesson lurching between being very excited, and mildly petrified about what was in store for him. We tried to make things easier for him by explaining what was likely to happen, and taking him to the pool the week before so that he was familiar with the environment. The big day arrived, and we crossed our fingers: This could go either way…In the end, he did brilliantly. He even had the courage to jump into the pool (holding the teacher’s hand) at the end of the lesson. We were very proud of him.
Even as adults, the first time we prepare to do anything new can bring about a mixture of feelings; the first time you go on date with someone, the first time to you try a new sport, the first day of your new job. They all bring with them a lot of uncertainty and lot of different expectations. It made me consider what do we do as L&D professionals to reduce uncertainty and manage expectations when someone starts a new job in a new company? Do we help them to plan and prepare, do we take care of them and help them slowly eliminate their fears, or do we let them jump in at the deep end and see if they sink or swim?
In my 16 years in the training profession, I have come across a wide range of approaches to induction training, from nothing other than a safety briefing and tour of the building, to structured programmes lasting weeks. Different business and indeed different people, have different needs, so I’m not suggesting that a 6-week structured programme is always the best way forward (though I feel it is generally better than a half-hour orientation). What I AM recommending all L&D functions do is to consciously think about what new people joining their organisations need. What questions do they need answering? What issues do they need to be aware of? What is expected of them? How does their manager/team prepare for their arrival? In short, does your current induction programme give the INDIVIDUAL what it needs, and what the BUSINESS needs?
Induction training is one of our main areas of expertise. We believe that if you can harness someone’s motivation from day one (rather than make them think “Help! What have I done?!”), they are more likely to have a productive career. We are delighted to announce that we have just finished working with Kellogg’s to create a flexible induction programme, and are eagerly awaiting the formal launch later this month.
So passionate are we about getting induction right, we are happy to provide a free 7-page guide to effective inductions to anyone who requests it, so that you can review your own induction. Just send an email to Sheridan@keystonedevelopment.co.uk and put ‘Free Induction Report’ in the subject line.
As Plato said “The direction in which education starts a man, will determine his future life” So let’s get induction right.