Hiring the right staff can be a bit of headache, but once you get the perfect people on board it can be all too easy to sit back, put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
But really, it’s just the beginning of your journey with your new employees, and if you want it to be a positive one you'll need to start out on the right foot.
And a fantastic employee induction is a great way to start.
What is an induction?
If you remember, in the old days the employee induction process was often confined to a dreary meeting room and consisted of a few handouts and some monotonous, sleep-inducing speeches. Or, it might have involved a quick chat with the boss, a tour of the building and a pointing out of where their new desk and the toilets were. In short – not very inspiring.
But, the process of onboarding a new staff member is vital as it helps to get them up to speed with the job, the practicalities of working for you, as well as company culture, your values and practices.
Thankfully, things have moved on since then and you can be as creative as you like when it comes to welcoming new employees.
It’s not just about making them feel comfortable, it’s about fostering a positive relationship from the get go that will encourage loyalty, retention and productivity in the long term.
6 ways to give a new employee a great induction
1. Introduce them to the company vision & values
As important as the facilities tour is, it doesn't give you an idea of what the business really is. Providing a new starter with an overview of company vision, goals, culture & values is crucial to set the tone for their employment.
Either way, you don't want to miss an opportunity to communicate who you are - and why the business does what it does. Giving employees this information will help build their loyalty to the organisation. It'll also help them to truly understand their role, and their place in the SME.
2. Pair them up with a buddy
Mentoring is a great way to get a newbie settled at your company and up to speed with your culture and ethos. It's also great for building strong inter-office relationships.
You can be creative as you like about how you assign your new staff to their mentors. At Netflix, they give new employees bingo-style cards which get stamped each time they have coffee or lunch with co-workers. Once the card is filled, they get a prize.
We've trialled the buddy system ourselves and have found it's a very effective way of getting our new team members settled quickly and happily.
3. Get them involved in the social side
Is there something you do regularly with your team - regular social outings or coffee mornings in the office? Or maybe a few people pop along to the pub after work on Fridays?
If so, it's a great idea to get your new team member involved and building connections with colleagues.
For example, the managers at Perkbox encourage their new team member push the beer trolley around the office on a Friday, handing out drinks to other employees. They believe it’s a great way for the new staff member to get to know the rest of the team and strike up a conversation or two.
4. Give them a welcome gift
Everyone loves presents, so what better way to welcome someone who is a little nervous than to give them a gift? You can be as generous or creative as you like: you could go for branded pens and a nice notebook (who doesn't love a bit of stationery?), sweets or or even go as far as arranging monthly goodie-subscriptions for them.
For example, at Breathe we welcome every new member of staff with a 'swag bag': a lovely Breathe-branded bag with pens, notebooks, a t-shirt, stickers and a water bottle inside. It's proved to be a lovely surprise on a newbie's first day.
If the budget doesn't quite stretch to this, a team lunch always works well, too. You could head out to a local restaurant or café, or all arrange to be in the office on the same day for a lunchtime catch-up.
5. Give them a holiday... before they start
We know what you're thinking. Why on earth would you give an employee a holiday before they've even had their first day?
Bear with us on this one.
This technique has already been adopted by several tech companies and is a great way of gaining the loyalty of the new staff-member right from the start. These companies give their new staff-members a set amount of cash to go and have a few days away so they're able to start their new job refreshed and relaxed.
If you don’t have the budget to do this, you could consider starting them mid-week to give them some time off between leaving their old role and starting a new one. Or consider making their start time a couple of hours after everyone else so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Perhaps even a day at a spa or a relaxing massage before they knuckle down at their desk or take them somewhere nice for lunch on their first day.
6. Get them noticed
Putting your new employee on the spot can seem a bit unfair, but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At Google, new hires are asked to tell an embarrassing story in front of their colleagues. It breaks the ice, guarantees a few laughs and gets conversations going.
At Google, new staff are called 'Nooglers' – as well as having hats with 'Noogle' on, they undergo intensive in-person training so senior managers and new staffers all have the same shared values. The process is very much about making them part of the team by ensuring the newcomers don’t go unnoticed.
In short, the best way to induct new employees into your business is to remember your culture & welcome them as best you can.
Author: Sarah Benstead
Sarah is a Product Marketing Specialist here at Breathe. Always innovating, she loves writing about product releases in an engaging & informative way. When she's not coming up with new ideas, she enjoys long walks with her dog, Clifford.