The Catholic church has just announced the name of the new Pope, Pope Francis.  As he starts in his new job perhaps consideration might be given to providing him with a good induction procedure so that he can familiarise himself with his new workplace using a variety of methods.  

Induction is an important process following on from recruitment and needs to be effective to avoid the "induction crisis" which is where employees do not feel comfortable with their new surroundings and decide to leave which incurs another recruitment cost for the organisation.   In recent years the term "onboarding" has crept into the language of HR and is a US term for the induction process.  

The length of the induction period and methods used to provide information to the new employee will vary depending on the size and nature of the organisation and the role.  However it is really important that all organisations have a well thought out induction programme.  This may need to be tailored for certain members of staff, however, eg promoted staff – such as Pope Francis, graduate trainees, senior appointments, technical specialists, temporary staff, job sharers etc.

Without a good induction programme certain problems may arise – poor integration into team, low morale, loss of productivity, failure to reach potential none of which are acceptable and damaging to the business.

Various members of staff could be involved in the process.  The line manager is very important as they will manage the employee on a day to day basis.  An HR representative, if appropriate, could ensure that certain admin duties are performed eg bank details are collected and the employee knows what to expect from induction.  The health and safety officer may explain health and safety issues appropriate to the workplace.  With large organisations often senior management do a presentation to groups of new starters on the organisation, its history, mission, values and structure. The training officer will outline any training activities that will take place.  There may be union representatives that meet with the new employee if the organisation is unionised.  Also there could be a "buddy", an existing employee, who is assigned to provide the new employee with informal information about the company to help them settle in. 

A good induction programme contains the following elements:

The process should be conducted gradually  over a reasonable period of time trying to avoid "information overload".

Ideally there should be an induction checklist drawn up that covers all the areas that a new employee needs to know about indicating which staff member will be responsible for each area.  It can then be signed off once each area is completed then held on the employee’s personnel file. 

Hopefully, the new Pope will quickly settle into his new role with a well thought through induction procedure.