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Once the selection and appointment processes are completed, the new employee will have to be introduced into the organization and be helped to overcome the difficulties and pressures of the first few days and weeks. Induction and orientation of an employee can be regarded as the last stages to complete processes of entry of employees into the organization. In effect, this stage ends the recruitment, selection, and appointment methods. This chapter explains orientation and induction programs and examines their role in developing a more effective organization.
Meaning of orientation and Induction of Employees in organizations
A new employee typically joins the organization coming from outside after being recruited and selected and appointed into a given position. However, an individual employee serving within an organization can also be promoted into a new role, transferred into a new role, or transferred to another division if the organization runs various divisions. In such a scenario, the employee will be unique to the function, structure, environment, systems, and probable culture in that section or division.
The terms ‘orientation’, ‘induction,’ and ‘socialisation’ are usually used interchangeably, although slight differences exist. Orientation and induction training is part of the corporate learning and development program because the new employees acquire knowledge, skills and adopt new behaviours. Armstrong points out that orientation and training incorporate formal and informal learning whereby learning is planned and systematic and sometimes takes place entirely in the workplace. The direction follows a series of steps that start after the candidate accepts the job offer.
It is a learning process that mainly involves familiarizing the new employee with the new working environment by introducing aspects of the Company, such as workplace facilities, work rules, regulations, policies, employee benefits, incentives, and management. It also involves handing over a rule book or documents of the policies, terms of employment, and procedures. Orientation is an essential component or subset of a comprehensive induction program. Armstrong views induction training as the process of receiving and welcoming employees when they first join a company and giving them the essential information they need to settle down quickly and happily and start work.
Induction is more comprehensive than orientation. On the other hand, induction involves ongoing, systematic training and support for new employees beginning the first day of work and continuing the first or two years (Thornton and Rupp). In other words, orientation is one small activity during an overall methodical long training process known as induction. Employee induction is a training process that seeks to familiarise new employees with their new roles, organizational cultures, and new organizational environment. The general belief is that new employees are strangers and unclear of their positions, corporate culture, and environment. Induction includes inculcating work procedures and standards, safety aspects, and practices and systems.
Importance of employee induction
According to Torrington, induction brings with it numerous benefits, which are:
1. Induction enables new employees to fit and change organizational culture
Induction is a process of inducting and orienting an individual into the organizational organization’s norms, values, beliefs, expectations, and practices to ensure a good fit. In the organization’s interest, it is to establish an acceptable culture and provide new employees to fit into the existing culture. When employees undergo an induction program, they are informed of their norms, values, and beliefs. Culture mismatch commonly results in individuals failing to fit and may leave the organization due to culture shock.
2. Induction establishes a psychological contract
According to Armstrong, a psychological contract consists of “implicit, unwritten beliefs and assumptions about how employees are supposed to behave and what responses they expect from their employer.” An arrangement of employment alone is not enough. Without inducting an employee, you cannot expect the same employee to know what is expected of the employee and their expectation of the employer. The psychological contract is key to employee engagement which reduces labour turnover. Therefore, failure to induct employees blocks the establishment of psychological contracts, threatening employees’ propensity to stay.
3. Induction builds social networks
Induction helps new employees establish social networks at work. If introduced to staff members, new employees will be able to develop work relationships with colleagues, subordinates, superiors, and so on. This assists them in quickly settling in. If employees are formally introduced to workmates, they find it easy to interact and liaise rather than in situations where they find out for themselves. New employees also feel welcome and supported. This helps them integrate themselves into their workplaces.
4. Induction reduces inconvenience caused by early leavers
According to Fowler, employees are more likely to leave soon after entering the organization, thereby bringing a lot of inconvenience due to lack of continuity and smooth takeover. The organization would want to re-recruit and operate with a vacancy for a prolonged time. It also sends a bad image of the organization that keeps on losing people quickly. Leaving employees may also spread the word that the organization is not good, affecting staff attraction. Some people may also spread the word about the Company not being good, which also damages the image of the Company. Proper induction arrests inconveniences and other associated negative publicity and loss of production in the organization.
5. Induction reduces start-up costs
New, promoted, or transferred employees take time to fit into the organization’s unique role, which is costly. During such a time, the employee will not be as efficient as an average employee who has been in the system for a long time. Start-up costs include selection costs, learning costs, training costs, supervision costs and correction of errors, costs for the gap between employee value to the organization, and employee rewards. A comprehensive induction program helps employees settle quickly in their job, thereby reducing costs associated with learning the job.
6. Induction saves time for supervisors and co-workers
If an employee is well inducted, the chances are high that the time concentrated on training the same employee is minor because they would have acquired the basics of the job. The employee is likely to meet given deadlines, thereby saving time for both the supervisors and co-workers.
7. Induction reduces the learning curve
The learning curve is the time lag between when training starts and when an employee is fully competent in a role. Prolonged learning curves affect productivity. Induction ensures that employees know everything they need to know – information about their jobs, where to get what, the organization’s structure, policies and procedures to be adhered to, key performance areas and indicators, among others, within a short period.
8. Induction increases productivity
If an employee learns fast through induction, chances are high such installation will increase employee productivity. Organizations with quality induction programs quickly get their employees to align employees to superior work standards. Resources will also not be wasted since they are being utilized efficiently, cutting resources, wastage, and costs.
9. Induction assists in increasing employee commitment and retaining employees
Induction creates employee commitment as new employees develop a sense of belonging, pride, and commitment to the organization. A committed employee identifies with the organization. Organizations cannot retain employees if they fail at the induction stage. Induction, therefore, is the foundation of good employee retention strategies.
10. Induction reduces employee turnover
Induction reduces employee turnover. Employees can be pushed out of the organization when they realize that they are not valued. In such cases, people tend to quit because they perceive such scenarios as set-up or entrapments. It is therefore critical to induct employees and avoid labour turnover.
11. Induction reduces the sense of insecurity
A new employee may not know who to ask, where to get an item, among other things. Induction, therefore, reduces such insecurity since employees will be familiar with people they are to interact with, their workplace, and their environment.
Issues to include in an induction program
These include basic information about the organization and structure, policies and procedures, conditions of service, working arrangements, guided plant tour, security, and access, to mention a few.
1. Information about the organization and structure
An induction program should cover information about the organization. These shall include and not be limited to the products produced or services offered by the organization, vision of the organization, mission, core values and philosophy, and the organizational structure. New employees must understand what the organization produces and where products are marketed.
According to Martel, if employees are not aware of the organization’s vision, mission, and values, they will take a different direction, which affects the organizational performance. Employees also need to know the organization’s structure and understand where they fit in the frame. This takes away role ambiguity and avoids cases where employees report to so many supervisors, which affect their potential or supervise wrong subordinates, thereby failing to get results. Induction, therefore, must include this information to help employees get directed from the beginning.
2. Information about the organization history and practices
The history of the organization typically shapes the culture of the organization. Employees need to know the historical developments of their Company and understand why the Company may be pursuing certain services or products because they may have historical connotations
3. Information about the organizational plans
New employees need to know about the organizational plans. Some organizations may be having plans to expand or fold. In some cases, organizations may be running projects that require input from the new employee. For example, a Procurement Manager would want to know tasks at hand, which companies are contracted to supply spares. Therefore, it is critical to make employees aware of the organization’s plans and prepare them for those plans. This takes away shocks generally associated with change that comes as a surprise. So, it is good to include such information in the induction program if it is readily available.
4. Information on policies and procedures
Policies and procedures that affect individual contracts must be documented, and employees must be trained on such policies and procedures. Employees need to be aware of documents that will be applied to them from time to time or apply. Policies also form part of conditions of employment, hence the need to brief the affected employees, including a general overview on company guidelines, rules about e-mail, computer, phone usage, media usage, public notice boards, and security access.
5. Information on terms and conditions of contract
The contract’s terms and conditions may be spelt out in the contract, but it is critical to discuss them in an induction such that issues that may not be clear are clarified. The new employees may have specific questions that need to be answered, making it appear to include such matters. In addition, a psychological contract is built at this stage. Issues omitted or not written in a contract of employment are then explained. Issues like salary, benefits, and entitlements are presented at this stage.
Pay and benefit payment arrangements are also defined at this stage. Any details of performance-related pay, production bonuses, skills-based pay, profit sharing, share ownership schemes, pensions, medical aid cover, funeral assurance, accident cover, and life cover are explained under the terms and conditions of the contract.
6. Information on conditions of service
It is critical to induct new employees on conditions of service. This covers hours of work, leave conditions, such as maternity leave, sick leave, annual leave, and so on, and public holidays. Harrison postulated that individual employees need to be knowledgeable about conditions of service for planning purposes. It will not be correct to deny a person maternity leave on full pay without explaining it to her in the first instance. Some people may assume that holidays are off days, but this may be different for an operation 24/7.
7. Information about introduction to staff members
It has been noted that employees need to belong to and create social networks at work. There is a need to introduce individual employees to colleagues, subordinates, and superiors to know who to ask in case of need. Human Resources personnel and most senior Managers shall be submitted to site Workers Committees and Trade Unions. They know each other and help each other when dealing with the issues of industrial relations.
8. Information about health and safety
Most organizations have got safety standards to be followed and observed. Safety signage differs from Company to Company, and safety programs also vary. In safety induction, employees will be trained on preventing accidents, injuries, the need to put on safety clothing, observe basic safety rules and regulations within the organization, and issues to do with occupational health.
9. Information about training and development and career progression
Employees need to know the requisite in-house training they require before they resume work or even after they have started work. Employees also get clarification on the career path in the organization. Doris reinforces employees’ propensity to stay since the organization builds expectations.
10. Guide plant tour
The employee will be shown around the company premises in a guided plant tour, amenities, canteens, kitchens, meeting rooms, parking area, transport routes and transportation arrangements, clinic, and first aid facilities. This helps the employees not worry about where to go.
Induction and orientation training for new employees is the last integral part before completing the recruitment process. They play an essential role in the socialization process of new employees into an organization. As a rite of passage, it is part of corporate learning and development aimed at acquiring new skills, culture, knowledge, and abilities by the new employee. There is, therefore, a need for human resource managers to gain support from top management to include orientation and induction training in their work every year.
This could be achieved by explaining the activity’s advantages and giving reference to other organizations that recognize such. The absence of well-planned, properly conducted induction practices may lead to voluntary resignations during the probationary period. Orientation and induction are crucial in building an effective workforce for any organization.