Frances Morris, Human Resources Consultant

Back to School? First days and the importance of Induction

We all remember how it felt starting at a new school – Will I know where to go/what to do? What will people be like? Yet we often forget how daunting it can be to start a new job or return to work after a lengthy absence when introducing new employees or returners to the workplace.

Organisations invest considerable time, effort and resources into recruiting new employees, but forgetting to put the same efforts into their induction can be costly. A good induction process not only ensures a positive first impression of your organisation (important for the psychological contract between employer/employee and to build loyalty and commitment), but research has also shown that effective induction shortens the time it takes to get a new recruit up to speed and reduces the likelihood of new employees leaving within the first 6 months of employment.

Induction is effectively the process, formal and/or informal, that introduces newcomers to your organisation. An effective induction process benefits both parties; for the employee it reduces their anxiety and provides them with all the information they need to undertake their role effectively, making sure they understand the culture and values of the organisation and helping them to integrate within their new working environment. As an employer, the resulting benefits can include improved morale and productivity, as well as reducing the likelihood of absenteeism and turnover.

For best results, induction should be tailored to the needs of the individual and the requirements of their role – too generic an induction process risks it being regarded merely as a tick box exercise to be completed, which is unlikely to meet either party’s needs. It’s also worth acknowledging that some employees may have more specific or individual needs – for example graduates and those new to the workplace, those returning following career breaks or long-term absence and employees with specific working arrangements such as remote working or home-based workers.

However, there is essential information that every new employee needs to be given during their first few days and weeks, such as health and safety practices, working arrangements and terms and conditions, as well as those elements which are intrinsic to your organisation and its way of working – the culture and values, preferred style and way of working, key relationships etc. For this reason, it’s important to consider how best to deliver these different elements e.g. using different people in the organisation, a mix of formal/informal elements, assigning a buddy/mentor for new recruits, or, for larger organisations, holding a regular induction “training” day.

Having a well-planned and structured induction process will ensure it covers all the key information new employees require, provides consistency of approach across line managers and teams and makes sure that information is pitched at the appropriate level and provided at the right time – avoiding the temptation of information-overload on the first day!

What’s been your experience of induction? Have you had any positive experiences you’d like to share, or examples of where it’s all gone wrong? Please do share them in the comments below.

Inspired to improve your induction processes?
Roots HR can devise and develop induction programmes tailored to meet your organisation and employees’ needs, and our factsheet “Successful Induction and Probation” provides a useful starting point. For more information contact us at

2 Responses to “Back to School? First days and the importance of Induction”

  1. Buddy

    Great post Frances! My first day at dog training was a scary one but all the other dogs made me welcome so I soon got used to it!


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