The Benefits of an Induction Programme.

I recently attended a workshop on Attracting and Retaining Talent and so felt my blog this month should be about one aspect of this subject – Induction.

For new employees, induction has a huge impact on their first impression of an organisation. Through effective induction practices, new starters will better understand their role, the organisation and its values. This in turn enables them to feel integrated with the business and become productive more quickly. 

The importance of induction metrics

As existing research suggests that induction processes are linked to employee retention, it’s key that line managers and people professionals prioritise the induction experience.  If you gather metrics you are able to measure the effectiveness of on-boarding for a business, as this will highlight where improvements can be made.

Metrics collected from the induction process can also be used to identify wider workplace issues and opportunities. The article I read illustrated this by outlining a case study from the banking sector. This organisation identified an increase in the turnover of new starters and exit interview data did not reveal the cause. Participant feedback from on-boarding programmes was available but hadn’t been used to diagnose the issue. This data could have shed light on the quality of training and support that new hires received when they joined, which could have impacted on their performance and satisfaction. 

When should data be collected?

Many organisations collect data at the end of an induction programme to evaluate its effectiveness. Whilst this is useful, it is also suggested that data should also be collected from the start to establish a baseline.  During the 1st year of the employees experience with an organisation for example collecting data 90 days and 180 days after a new employee joins, as well as immediately after the induction experience, will help track the long-term impact of induction and prove its value. 

Finally, induction data should be collected not only when a new person joins the business, but when employees move internally, for example with a relocation or secondment.

What type of data should be collected?

Data to collect include short-term metrics, both objective and subjective. These include employee satisfaction with the programme, induction training attendance, and performance or probation related metrics. 

Long term metrics can also be utilised to demonstrate the value of induction. These include the cost of employee turnover, the time taken for employees to become proficient, and the results of exit interviews. Focus Group feedback can be a very useful tool in understanding the impact of induction. 

The objectives of the induction programme should inform the type of data collected. For example, if employee retention has been identified as a challenge, both short term and long-term turnover metrics should be prioritised to discover the programme’s effectiveness.

Taking action on induction data

To prove the value of investing in induction programmes, I suggest a simple survey be carried out,   and the data collated be shared with your with line managers and business leaders. Companies need to take action to address issues. One example of this is through the creation of a taskforce that can refresh induction training, while also acting as an opportunity to share learning from parts of the business where induction is most effective. 

Of course, the value of people data extends beyond measurement surrounding induction. It allows people professionals to demonstrate the value of organisational practices to key stakeholders, and better solve business problems. Taking an evidence-based approach, of which organisational data forms a part, can ultimately aid better decision-making and improve business productivity. 

Bereavement Leave – how do we handle this in the workplace?

I read an article on bereavement, that Alice Murray recently wrote an article on in the Irish Independent and felt that it was something worth taking notice of:  

“Grief is an indescribable pain. Only people who have felt the jagged shock of it slice through them will understand just how horrendous it can be.

Self care, exercise and even personal hygiene are swept aside in the torrent of emotions.Suddenly the simplest tasks like finding a matching sock, completing a shopping list or even brushing your hair can require a Trojan effort.

Suddenly the simplest tasks like finding a matching sock, completing a shopping list or even brushing your hair can require a Trojan effort.

It’s one of the toughest human experiences that we have to endure, yet, there is still no legal requirement for Irish companies to provide their employees with bereavement leave.

For a nation that handles death so well (Irish wakes are praised the world over) we still don’t handle what comes next with any great compassion or understanding.

When a colleague returns to work after a death, the office falls quiet. No one wants to say the wrong thing, so, in turn they decide to say nothing. We ignore the emotional issue and hope that it goes away.

And that’s exactly what we’re doing by not legally enforcing paid bereavement leave for the people of Ireland. We’re avoiding what is a hard and painful topic. It’s simply not good enough.

Thankfully, some companies have compassionate bereavement leave policies in place already.

Last year, Facebook announced that it had extended its bereavement policy. Doubling its leave, Facebook now offers up to 20 paid days off for employees who have lost an immediate family member or 10 days of leave for an extended family member.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, who lost her husband in 2015, wholeheartedly supports the measure. In a Facebook post last year she outlined why.

“Amid the nightmare of Dave’s death when my kids needed me more than ever, I was grateful every day to work for a company that provides bereavement leave and flexibility,” she wrote. “I needed both to start my recovery. I know how rare that is, and I believe strongly that it shouldn’t be. People should be able to work and be there for their families.”

However, we all can’t work at Facebook. What about the people that work in the local café or bank? Is their grief any less real?”

Statutory bereavement leave is common across Europe and around the world; however bereavement leave in Ireland is a discretionary leave, and here is no statutory obligation to provide it.

Many companies do offer up to three days paid leave for the death of close family members, and some companies provide more than this.

A close family member is usually defined as a spouse or civil partner, daughter, son, parent, sister or brother and may include grandparents or in laws.

In the event of death of grandparents, in laws, aunt or uncle one day may be granted.

Any leave the employee will be entitled to will generally depend on what is set out in their Contract of Employment or Employee Handbook. However, leave can also be determined by what is deemed to be custom and practice within the Company.  If employees have been given additional paid time off for bereavement in the past, it will be considered unfair not to give this time off to another employee, so the policy the Company has in place on Bereavement Leave should be applied consistently.

I would advise all companies to a have a policy on bereavement leave in place and have it outlined in the employee handbook.  

We all do not handle grief in the same manner, and employees need to be supported at this time.  From an employer point of view, bereavement leave makes good business sense.  An employer that wants to build staff morale, build employee engagement, promote workplace wellness and earn staff loyalty has got to put their staff first so they can garner rewards later.