Taking a new staff member from a ‘green’ trainee to a star performer can be a lengthy process. Businesses that have coherent, structured and detailed induction programs take advantage of the ‘window of engagement’ to communicate and embed standards and responsibilities, cultural expectations and norms and to clearly establish business structures. This coherent approach not only creates proficient staff faster, it arms the business with the tools to effectively manage staff throughout the employment relationship. So what is a coherent induction?

Real and relevant

New staff have a lot of information to take in – on the business, the location, the people and the role – upon their commencement. Businesses need to communicate not only the ‘how to do the job right’ compliance aspect, but also ‘how we operate here’ cultural element. But new starters can only take in so much information at a time and traditional, read-tick-flick induction approaches, fail to embed important compliance and cultural requirements, and the pressure to get a new starter on the floor as soon as possible can lead to a ‘just do as I do’ approach, that can perpetuate errors and dysfunction over time.

It is up to the business to keep the information real, relevant and geared to right now. Getting the balance right between what a new staffer must know now and what the business will need them to know long term can be difficult. The test to apply in the first instance is one of compliance.

Get it right, right now

Compliance should be the core of an employees induction, with cultural elements being adopted over the first shifts and weeks in both an informal and formal manner AFTER compliance is addressed. This is because compliance is key to the continued viability of the business and thus the employment relationship.

All information passed onto the new starters in the first days of their employment should be geared towards protecting the business from breaches. Declarations and information that is required to be communicated to staff, such as Fair Work Information Statements, should be undertaken immediately, and documented appropriately.

Business critical compliance learning’s should be communicated BEFORE work is commenced. Until new starters have proven understanding of their responsibilities they should not be placed in a position to breach those responsibilities and put the business and safety at risk.

Online and face-to-face compliance programs like the industry’s own Petroleum Convenience Compliance (PCC) course and detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) training can facilitate transfer of knowledge on the ‘how to do the role’ element, quickly and effectively to new staff.

From compliance to culture

Once a new starter has a functional understanding of how to undertake their role in a compliant manner, without causing breaches, then it is appropriate to communicate the cultural ‘how we do things here’ elements through site specific inductions and on the job training.

Induction as an afterthought?

The time it takes for a new candidate to become ‘proficient’ depends on the thought, preparation and commitment to the induction process that the business undertakes. Businesses that put into place training for managers on how to properly induct staff, require pre-employment or pre-commencement compliance training, utilise standardised onsite resources and follow detailed induction checklists internally not only achieve this proficiency more quickly, they also ensure that they have the mechanisms to ensure conformity to business expectations and a clear emphasis internally, on safety and best practice.

ACAPMA can help

ACAPMA members are reminded that the ACAPMAlliance Workplace Relations Professionals are available to assist with induction and recruitment issues.

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business. They are provided as general advice and you should seek further advice on your situation by  calling 1300 160 270 and speaking to one of ACAPMA Workplace Relations Professionals its free for members. Click here to apply for ACAPMA membership.