Tips for creating perfect online inductions
Congratulations, you’ve hired a new employee, someone who you expect will bring their A-game, as well as great passion and performance to your business. But before they can get down to that, you need to run an online induction.
For many companies, this whole of online induction can seem overwhelming. After all, there’s just so much to tell, especially when the staff you would ask to deliver it are already incredibly busy. And this is why online induction is becoming increasingly popular, because it allows for the presentation of information in a manner that doesn’t rely on anyone’s schedule, mood, timing or attitude. BUT, in order for online induction to work, the content, development and presentation need to be done properly, right from the start.
So here’s 10 important tips to consider when you sit down to do it.
- This might seem an obvious start, but it’s important to understand there needs to be a human element to an online induction. You don’t want new staff to turn up at reception and then just be guided into a video booth. Instead, make sure you’re there to greet them, to introduce them to people and to show them around before you focus their attention online. Also, make sure you give them very explicit instructions on how to move through the modules when they sit down for the training. After all, nothing can create a sinking feel for a new employee more than sitting there with no idea what to do and feeling too ashamed to ask for help.
- Some aspects of the induction, such as workplace health and safety, are automatic inclusions. But you should never forget that you’re doing this for real people who, quite understandably, will be a bit nervous about their first day on the job. So think back to when you joined, and what you felt anxious about at first. Were you worried, for example, about how you would cope in an open-plan office? If so, you might make sure the online induction shows off the quiet rooms available. Were you worried about how you would ask to have a late start occasionally to allow attendance at your child’s school? If so make a point of mentioning any family-friendly policies you might have. After all, the more humanising information you can give them, the better.
- Along these lines, you should never create an induction in isolation either. Instead, have a group think-tank to come up with the company’s program of ‘need-to-know modules’ and, as each one is finished, encourage people from other departments to undertake, and then review, them. That’s a great way to identify any gaps – after all if someone within the organization is left floundering by a lack of information, imagine how a total newbie is going to feel.
- Now to the content itself, and there’s one rule that can make or break an induction – you need to be bold, not boring! By this we don’t mean having a soundtrack to your training, or adding in random explosions. You just need to make sure it has enough variety to keep the employee interested – especially if they’re sitting in a darkened room! In other words, don’t just have a slideshow of PDFs – have interactive quizzes, great graphics, easy to read fonts and more. As you run through each department, you could also have a small video profile of someone who works in it. They could tell the new staff member what they do and why they love the company. It’s all about creating a lovely sense of familiarity from the start, as well as enthusiasm.
- Along the same lines, don’t let the modules drone on in a flow from one to the next. Break them up into bite-sized pieces that allow for human interaction in between, even if it’s having morning tea or sitting in on a meeting. This keeps things fresh and interesting. Then to ensure information retention, you can just set it up so that each session begins with a recap of the last – even just in bullet points.
- Wordwise, here’s a clever tip – don’t speak in jargon or in ways a politician would appreciate. They make get a kick out of saying nothing with the most possible syllables, but you should not. Be efficient with your language, as well as clear and concise with a firm outline of expectations. Trust us, your staff will thank you for it!
- You should also try to avoid an induction that is fully automated with a pre-programmed pace. After all, you don’t want people to miss something important because they were still processing something they heard 30 seconds ago. Instead, let them move through the modules at their own speed, albeit with an overarching deadline or a rough plan for learning given to them when they arrive.
- If you have the capacity to do so, leave a little room for some personalisation. After all, by the time someone is hired, you should know a little about their personality outside work. So funnel that into the induction to show that you value them as an individual. For example, if you know they’re a sporting fanatic, have a module that tells them about the rewards program where staff members can get tickets in the company box at the football. Or, if you know they love travel mini-breaks, mention the company’s flexi time program and how it can be used to their advantage. Obviously there’s a point where you can’t cater to everyone’s unique interests, but having some broad-ranging information helps to assure them you are a well fleshed-out company.
- This idea is a little bit different, but it’s a pretty common factor these days that many people have a bit of a social conscience, and are keen to do things for the betterment of the world. So if this is something your company supports, you should say this. Perhaps your payroll system will match charitable donations dollar for dollar. Or perhaps you let staff have some time each quarter to work for a community cause. Or maybe even you’re just very firm on sustainability and don’t allow plastic cups in the office. Whatever you do, make sure to highlight it, if for no other reason than to reassure the employee you see the bigger picture.
- Finally, and most importantly, if you want to see how effective your online induction is, ask the opinion of someone who knows best – the inductee themselves. Not straight away of course because a) they will only say nice things and b) they won’t have had time to see how comprehensive it was. Instead, wait a month or so and then ask them if there’s anything that would have been handy to know when they started. Then, if they tell, make sure you listen. It’s the best way to keep refining your induction process until, one day, it is perfect.