Online inductions versus face-to-face inductions
Just as the world of business continues to evolve to meet the needs of an ever-changing landscape so, too, does the process of induction.
And when it comes to welcoming an employee in just the right manner, that’s a very good thing. After all, the ideal introduction to the workplace is a key foundation stone that sets new staff up for success.
Done well, it’s an absolute godsend, but done poorly, it can take weeks and even months to get things back on an even keel. So with the stakes so high, it’s no wonder HR departments spend so much time and money on getting inductions right.
But that’s not to say there isn’t room for improvement.
In the past, the commitment to induction has focused solidly on a people-lead approach, and indeed that’s something many firms still continue to prioritise.
But increasingly, leaders in the field are looking to the online sphere, not so much with an either/or view, but to look at the lessons of face-to-face induction and build on them in an ongoing quest for improvement, efficiency and cost effectiveness. Here’s four great examples you can take on board.
The human approach matters to a point
Induction can never exist in a vacuum – there always needs to be that ‘people’ element, which is so crucial to creating a sense of warmth and welcome from day dot. BUT, whereas face-to-face induction makes it all about the people, online induction makes it appropriately about the people. After all, you do need someone to offer a handshake and greeting when new employees arrive, and to show them around the office, but you don’t need someone to cover off every piece of information they need to know. And clever staff – which are the only type you should hire – are just as capable of reading a workplace bullying policy document as they are of being given its basic tenants in a conversation.So basically, what online induction allows companies to do is create training that is not solely dependent on people which, at its most basic, guarantees a successful outcome, even if your trainer calls in sick that day.
Timing is everything especially in advance
There’s a reason induction begins on the first day – and that’s because it’s vital. Companies know how important it is to get things off to a good start, so HR departments will often set up a full day – or even longer – of activities and administration. But some of these aspects, such as filling out bank forms, don’t need to be done then and there. And that’s where an online inductions offer the advantage over face-to-face – by giving employees the access and ability to start on some of these processes before they even step in the door. Not only does it save time, it also frees up opportunities for bonding. After all, most people would much rather go for lunch with their new workmates on day one that sift through endless paperwork. Plus, in an even more economically-minded advantage, it means the employee is doing this work on their time, not yours, which puts them that much closer to starting their actual job and helping to take the business forward. And that’s a win-win situation for everyone.
Delivery is everything and attitude and availability matter
People are some of the best things about being part of the workforce, but they can also be among the worst. And it’s a rule that applies very much to induction. When you think about a traditional welcome, personality is crucial every step of the way, escalating as more people get involved.
You could have the company GM, the legal counsel, the head of IT, the union liaison … the list goes on. And the more people you need to include, the more chances are that one of them isn’t up to the job that particular day. They may be stressed, they may be grumpy or they may not have even gotten the memo you were starting. And all of these things have the capacity to negatively impact on their part of the induction.
So that’s where an online process can again bring advantages to the table. By creating a single online process, you only need to call on people once, whether you’re asking them to write up a document or film a video. You can give them a small window of opportunity, with good communication, and that way, you can rest assured their input will be considered, thorough, thoughtful – and delivered at the top of their game.
Resources are precious and everyone is busy
This final point relates to a similar theme, which is that when you opt for face-to-face induction, so much of what the company needs is relying on people. And even if you could guarantee they would all have the perfect attitude and performance, you’re still overlooking one key fact … if they’re not from HR they are taking time away from their actual job to help set up a new person.
And in today’s busy world, it’s no cliché to say time costs money. For example, let’s say you ask the sales manager to take an hour out of their day for each new hire, to run through how the department works. Each one of those hours then robs them of much-needed time to contact potential new clients, to set up a feedback session with a staff member, or even to go scouting to see what their rivals are doing.
And these are all crucial elements of their ability to drive sales onwards and upwards. Now multiply that fact by someone from every department, and you soon see that having a fully face-to-face induction might create a good first impression, but it’s an expensive one. Which is where online inductions comes in – as it can bring about a very different result.
For example, going back to that same sales manager, they could instead do one reusable video outlining their department, which could then be used for every new arrival to sit through. The message will always be the same, so there’s no harm done, and you’ve saved the manager time and the company money, squeezing the most value from that hour they would otherwise have had to give up.
And that’s the key buzzword here – value from induction input.