Episode from the podcastThe Boss Hat with Barbara Nixon

Episode 3 - The Boss Hat

Released Sunday, 10th January 2016
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Welcome to episode #3 of the Boss Hat. The podcast which is all about helping you get the most out of your team and yourself.

Hi everyone – thanks for listening today. Hope you’re having a great week. Today we’re going to be continuing with our series on on-boarding new employees which is a 3 part series.

In the last episode I spoke to Sara Wagers from Visual Biz Parter.com about the pitfalls of recruiting a new member of staff. If you missed that episode jump on over to episode 2 to have a listen.

In today’s episode we’re going to imagine you’ve already recruited your new member of staff and the importance of a good induction.

Ok – Now, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, when I say induction what I mean is the process you take a new member of staff through to make sure they understand everything they need to know about the company, and their role. I just wanted to make that clear in case your definition of induction was different, or if you called this process something different.

Right – a good and thorough induction is so important when you start a new role. Now, I know that it’s tempting to rush this, or even side step it altogether, especially if you’re busy and you really need the person to hit the ground running – but I would urge you to really take the time to do this properly. It is definitely a case for one of my mantras which is short term pain long term gain. And, let’s face it, once you’ve gone through the process of designing your induction it can be used again and again with just a few tweaks here and there. I would also mention that if you want the person to really add value, be motivated and get busy then their more likely to do this if they feel like part of the team and really know what’s expected of them. A good induction will do just that.

So – let’s go back a step first and talk about why we need one. When you’re starting a new role you might have a real mixture of emotions. You might be excited and looking forward to getting stuck in and adding value, to feeling incredibly nervous and anxious. How you’re welcomed into the company and the role will really help you feel a lot more relaxed and sure that you’ve made the right decision. This feeling of excitement can quickly turn to misery especially if you’re not treated properly, or left alone or even just left to get on with it – and it isn’t uncommon for people to miss their old job, feel like they’ve made a mistake and just feel miserable – and it’s much harder to bring people back from this then start them off on the right footing by making them feel welcome. It really doesn’t matter if you’re part of a bigger company – you can create a team induction to welcome people into your team, and if you’ve got a small company again this shouldn’t matter. Remember, a good induction is just code for a great welcome into your company / team.

So – I’m going to give you 3 tips here that you can use to structure your induction, but before I do I want to just say that it really doesn’t matter how long your induction is – but the first 12 weeks / 3 months of a new role is so important so do keep checking in with the person frequently during this time to see how they’re getting on, and most importantly feeling. It’s also a good idea to remember that people learn at different speeds – you might think something is simple and easy to pick up but they might need a little longer. It doesn’t mean that they’re rubbish and can’t do the job- it just means they learn differently to you. So, be patient. The other point to note here is that they may have done a similar job in the past, but the process might be slightly different – so may need a bit o time to essentially unlearn what they knew to replace it with how you do things.

Remember you only get one chance to be new so give them the opportunity to learn as much as they can. You can also use this time to ask for feedback about how you do things as they’ll have a fresh pair of eyes and can probably notice things or query things that you take foregranted.

OK –that said let’s get on to 3 top tips for a good induction

1.Be prepared

This is something that I’ve seen over and over again and it always works to make a bad impression on the new starter- and that is where it seems like you weren’t expecting them to arrive and their start date has come as a surprise.

Instead work hard to get their work station ready for them. Whatever that looks like. If it’s a desk- make sure it’s fully stocked with stationary, their name, and that they have a PC and log on details all ready and waiting. There’s nothing worse than them having to use someone elses log on for weeks after joining or having to chase their own log on details after they’ve started. Now I appreciate that you may have certain security protocall that means that this can’t happen until they’ve started – if so, make sure they don’t need it for a while and you’ll keep them busy doing other things until it’s organised.

2. Have a plan

If you’re busy it’s really tempting to get them in, give them a quick tour and leave them to read stuff whilst you get on with your work. But remember – induction is just code for a great welcome and if you were hosting someone in your home you wouldn’t just leave them in front of the tv whilst you carried on with your life. The same is true here. So, have a plan to make it easier for you both as you’ll both know what to expect.

Assign time for them to spend time with other members of the team learning about different roles and how they all fit together and make sure they all know what time they’ve been allocated and what to go through with them. Assign time with yourself, and you may want to give them time with other areas of the business to enhance their learning as well. You might also want to assign them time to reflect, and read on their own just to break it up for them so they’re not always listening to other people which can be tiring, but don’t do this as a the norm.

3. Tell your story

We all love a good story. It’s how we remember things and it’s the quickest way to give someone all the information about the business up to that point. So, share the story of the company. Why and when was it founded? By whom? How did it grow? How did it evolve over the years? What successes has it had? Any bad fortune? How did you get to where you are today? And along the way talk about any facts; statistics; and funny anecdotes. You could then go on to talk about the future. What’s the vision? Where are you heading? What’s the culture like? Do you have any values? If so, how do you demonstrate these? Why are they important? All of this will help the person feel part of the team and help with their sense of belonging and help them fit in with the company culture which is so important.

So, there are my 3 tips on creating a good induction. I have created an infographic to help. To download it visit www.barbaranixon.co.uk/download003

So just to go back to my tips.


  1. Be prepared

  2. Have a plan

  3. Tell your story


I’d love to hear your induction stories and tips so please pop on over to Barbaranixon.co.uk and leave a comment.

See you next time.