We’ve all seen the pictures on LinkedIn. You know the ones I mean, the ‘new starter’ desk image filled with goodies. In no particular order, these usually consist of iPads, iPhones, iMacs, Montblanc pen sets, Rolex timepieces, luxury chocolates, food hampers, weekend away vouchers to Vegas and a welcome letter from the Queen.
Ok, I exaggerate – I don’t think I’ve seen one with a letter from the Queen.
Of course, these pictures work well on social media and attract a lot of comments and publicity for the company involved. Which, in my experience, tend to be tech start-ups in London with two employees – the second of which is due to arrive any minute.
Whilst most of us work and live in an alternate reality, first impressions still count and your induction process is no different. Having just gone through a significant ‘intake’ of new starters ourselves, and a review of our process with them, we thought it would be useful to share our findings with you in case there are any ideas or tips you can implement within your own manufacturing business.
Day one can be both exciting and daunting for new starters. The feedback we received from those that have recently joined us was there was way too much information given out on the first day - including being expected to remember hundreds of names during a walk around the company! With so many questions about the business already running through new starters heads, along with more ‘softer’ ones like where is the nearest bank or Post Office, we developed a welcome pack. This is now handed out on the first day and includes:
- Welcome letter from the CEO
- A Frequently Asked Questions document covering everything from where the nearest supermarket is through to holiday booking and sickness procedures.
- Organisational chart
- Map of the building and departmental locations
- Stationery set (unfortunately not a Montblanc one though)
- An introduction to outsourcing eBook to help all new employees, regardless of really understand why customers use the services of Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers like us.
- Locker keys
Who we are
Seems an obvious one but we have been guilty in the past of assuming every new starter we employ knows exactly who we are and what we do. Or that they have previously worked in the industry which as we know, is full of technical jargon and acronyms. To make sure every new starter we employ (regardless of past experience or department they move into) has a solid grounding of who we are and what we do we provide an ‘overview’ presentation to them in the first couple of days. This presentation isn’t just a regurgitation of what is on our website. Instead, it covers our sales and marketing approach to building relationships with new clients, the strategic reasons OEMs outsource and some background information about who our key clients are, what they make and the ‘real world’ applications they go into.
Understanding the link
Before new starters begin training in the department they have been employed in, they now receive a one-to-one session with other departments. These sessions allow the new starter to not only understand the roles and responsibilities of that department but also how they link to others within the business. Some departments naturally link together, for example, Marketing to Sales, Engineering to Production, Procurement to Logistics etc. During the induction process, we now tailor the scheduling of these sessions to the individual to make sure that all of the departments that naturally link are explained first before other sessions are run.
Delivering a consistent message
In order to ensure that each department stays ‘on message,’ we created a series of questions for the Department Head to answer in advance. We then documented these answers so that regardless of the person providing the overview, all of the subjects they covered and the information they gave would be consistent. In the majority of cases we try and make sure that the Department Head delivers the overview but by having the information essentially scripted, Team Leaders or Supervisors can also now provide the overview if required.
Time to breathe
One of the biggest changes we made to our induction process was its duration. Historically we have carried out the induction over a single day but have realised this is not appropriate. There’s too much information for new starters to try and retain and it’s not possible to get a solid grounding in the business and the way in which the departments link together in that time. So, we have extended the process to run across several days which gives the employee time to absorb the information they receive, digest it over the first couple of days and then come back to us with any questions they have before starting their role.
Whilst many of these ideas are not revolutionary they have started to make a positive impact to our induction process. If you are unsure how effective your own process is why not ask staff that have recently joined? Seeking their input is a great way to involve them and find out what they thought worked well and which areas could be improved. We would love to hear from other manufacturers that are willing to share their ideas with the industry so if you feel what you have in place is effective, why drop a comment below?