Later that afternoon I watch as Sally Gulliver hammers at her keyboard as if attempting to push the keys out the other side to see what it would look like.
She flings papers up in the air as she goes. One lands perilously close to my roots and I huff, pointedly. ‘Sorry, Bingleby, but I’m going to get this induction process right if it kills me.’
‘Let us hope it does not come to that,’ I rumble. ‘It would be a sad day indeed if the coroner was obliged to record a verdict of “Death by HR Innovation.”’
‘Wouldn’t be the first time,’ muttered Sally. ‘Thing is, induction here has been designed as a comprehensive process – that’s the best that can be said for it – but not as an experience. Or at least, not as an experience human beings would recognise as useful. Let alone enjoy.’
‘Is it important employees enjoy themselves?’ I have on occasion been accused of being ‘old school’.
‘It’s not what they’re here for, granted; but don’t you think if a process is as pain-free as possible, perhaps even fun, it’s more likely to do its job?’
Unlike certain rhododendrons I could mention, I am nothing if not tactful, so I say nothing.
I am briefly assailed by a vision of Senior Executives holding strategy discussions while they wheesh down a slide built for the purpose in the Management Suite. Unlike certain rhododendrons I could mention, I am nothing if not tactful, so I say nothing.
‘Right!’ says Sally with a flourish. ‘Here’s the plan!’ She begins to pace around the office, declaiming, punctuating each point by tugging at a loose thread on her jumper. ‘For a start, we need to tailor each induction to the individual. If you want people to indulge in what you have, offer ‘em a menu! Get manager and employee talking from the start - training, career opps, culture, what’s expected of the manager as well as of new joiner. Lots of support from HR so they know what’s on the menu.’ Tug, tug. ‘We want to make the poor saps feel we’re glad they’re joined, rather than treating them like a weird inconvenience in our otherwise perfectly ordered lives.’
By now, Sally’s sleeve is getting noticeably shorter. ‘We’re gonna use the intranet more – we can’t afford to revamp it, but we can rewrite the content so that people might want to read it. We’ll use the existing software to set up a Facebook equivalent, and we’ll put up all the background info on the company for those that want it. As for the important legal stuff, we’ll set up a simple online test, an obligatory 30-minute thing, where we tell ‘em the do’s and don’ts, then run a test afterwards to make sure it’s all gone in. And it’ll have an engaging style – not legalese.’ Sleeve now ceases to exist below the elbow.
‘Next: those all-important contacts. Everyone’ll get a peer mentor – someone at their level who has got on in the company. Then, we’ll get their managers to make sure they meet the five or six most important stakeholders for their role. And if they have more than that, I suspect that something isn’t being managed properly….’ Sleeve now seriously ebbing like a tide towards the shoulder.
‘Now all we need to do is write that lot up, convince the Board and then launch it. Bingleby, have you seen the rest of my jumper…?’
Wearily, I sigh.
Next Friday: What’ve You Done With My Culture, You Maniac??
I like it! Induction should indeed be involving, engaging and fun. I think the whole concept needs a big shake up along the lines you have suggested. I wrote about this recently and it sparked a useful conversation. If you are interested here is the link:
Next month I've been invited to shake up an induction event for a company and I will take your thinking on board. I'll pop back and let you know what worked and what didn't.
Douglas, I am most gratified by your kind words. Your 'online discussion' and its highly relevant title is recommended to all comers (though I admit I struggle with the mouse myself, as they're poorly designed for leaves; fortunately Ms Gulliver was there to assist).
I'm sure all attending here will be extremely interested to read how your induction event goes. We wish you the best of British and would love to hear back from you.
Yours etc, Bingleby
PS Providing Ms Gulliver can spare the time to once more assist with the mouse, I aim to be the world's first pot plant on Twitter later. Watch this space. Yours aye, Bingleby
Communication!!! so they say....but effective and impacting communication is what does the job!
I am now going in to read Doug's post...and will return as soon as that is done:) Can't wait to read the next one...
Having a mentor (who is supportive, motivating, encouraging and a great teacher) in your induction is a great way of giving induction.
How do i identify peer-mentors for an induction processs revamp? Will i get the high achievers or people who are interested in the scheme? Please advise
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