Isn’t it strange so much focus is put on candidates to make a good first impression in the initial interview, yet no pressure is put on the new employer to make a good first impression of the employee’s first day?

It is common for a new employee to arrive for their first day on the job and the company is just not ready for them, no business cards, no computer, sometimes not even a desk has been prepared for them. Imagine inviting guests to your home for dinner and when they arrive you have to run off to buy the ingredients for the meal, and then spend the evening cooking in the kitchen, setting tables and running around rather than hosting and settling the guests into you home.

Employee experience is as important as customer experience. Induction creates the first impression: it also reinforces why the new employee chose to work for your organisation. Careful thought and preparation can transform staff induction from a matter of compliance, to a powerful productivity and staff retention tool.

Induction can commence prior to start date, new employees can be provided with details to familiarise themselves with such as a company profile, organogram, welcome letter, job description, code of conduct and other information to allow the new staff member to become more familiar with the company and its culture and gives them the ability to better integrate into the company.

Proper planning ensures that even before the new employee steps foot in the building for her first day of work, a desk and a telephone line has already been assigned, a computer profile has been set up, and stationery has been provided. Special gestures such as a bunch of flowers or welcome note and chocolate go a far way in obtaining early commitment from the employee.

Induction should always be a centralised HR function. This approach ensures that new staff members receive a company perspective rather than a departmental perspective.

An added benefit is that friendships are forged with other new employees across divisions. This is very good for business and company culture building.

Induction should commence the moment the new employee walks through the door. She should be given an Induction Programme, outlining activities, topics and meetings that have been scheduled, and any training that will be provided. Proper planning ensures that relevant staff members or managers are available to meet with the new employee, and that sufficient time has been allocated to address issues and topics properly.

The Induction Programme should cover the basics, the location of the notice board, the canteen, the organisation’s mission and goals, values, ethics, the importance of integrity, corporate social responsibility, safety and emergency procedures and the organisation’s dress code.  Organisations should never lose sight of the fact that induction also provides a wonderful opportunity to develop existing staff, by involving them in the process.

Having been fully inducted into the company the new employee should not only have a very good understanding of their role, but a clear understanding of their employer’s expectations. This should convert into higher levels of productivity, greater loyalty, better morale and increased job satisfaction.

Employers often complain about staff turnover, but have to take accountability for making employees feel welcome, valued and empowered and this starts at the induction process.