By Richard Lawrence-Allen
Starting a new job can be a nerve wracking experience; meeting new people, navigating a new workspace, learning new skills. It’s like the first day of school all over again! If not handled properly brand new staff entering into a business can feel overwhelmed. This is why here at RSVP we feel that an in-depth induction for new staff on their first day is so vital to ensure a smooth settling in process. Other than during the interview process, a staff member’s induction will be their first real experience of the office, and you only get to make one first impression. Therefore, an induction will greatly colour someone’s on-going experience with a company.
The induction of new isn’t just a perfunctory HR exercise in ticking boxes, sorting paperwork and pointing out the toilets; it’s also an opportunity to give new staff a feel for the personality of the business, ease them into a new environment and make them feel welcome. Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, state that “[e]mployers who get it right and invest properly in induction often succeed in creating a positive sense of loyalty and attachment in new staff”. This is exactly what we at RSVP try to foster in our inductions. Staff at RSVP are in constant transition as they come and go for their performing work, so making sure that RSVP is a comfortable place for them to return to between their performance endeavours is very important to us.
During an induction, there are certain things that have to be covered. These include filling out requisite forms for payroll and tax code purposes, explaining attendance procedure, health and safety instructions and fire procedure. When presenting information during an induction, it is important never to take for granted that while everything you are going over is second nature to you, to your audience, everything is completely brand new. There is a great deal of information thrown at new staff to company, and in a relatively short amount of time. It is important, never to rush, to make sure everything is understood as you go along, to answer any questions and, of course, to keep it fun!
RSVP is an office with a lot of personality. As you’d expect from an office filled with professional actors, there are bright and enthusiastic characters everywhere you turn, everyone is chatty and friendly and ready to engage. It is the job of whichever staff member conducts the induction to reflect this vibrant and exciting side of RSVP to new staff. This not only gives staff a nice welcome to the office, but also gives them a sense of the overall office atmosphere.
Humour is also an invaluable tool to use during an induction. It is of course to make sure that any serious and important pieces of information are delivered to new staff with the weight that they warrant. Nevertheless, dispersing casual jokes throughout an induction is just as helpful. New staff members, as already mentioned, have a great deal of information given to them on their first day, breaking up this some light-hearted humour will help keep staff engaged, switched on and listening enthusiastically. Again, this will give new staff a feel for the ethos and the environment of the office as a whole as well. Well-judged humour will allay first day stresses and nerve of new staff as well. Michael Kerr, an international business speaker and author of ‘The Humour Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank’, explains that “[h]umour offers a cognitive shift in how you view your stressors; an emotional response and a physical response that relaxes you when you laugh”. It will also put new staff at ease with the manager/supervisor conducting the induction, making them feel more at ease and more able to ask any questions when they are uncertain of something. Kerr states that “You can build trust with the effective use of humour because humour often reveals the authentic personal lurking under the professional mask”.
As well as plenty of necessary forms, health and safety talks and well-timed jokes, an induction will also include a tour of the office. At RSVP this isn’t just a look at the facilities, the break room and the fire exits of course! We use the office tour as not just a navigation exercise, but also as a chance to meet as many of the supervisory and management staff as well, in a casual and informal way. This helps to promote the idea that all of the management at RSVP are friendly and approachable right from the offset. If this is established from day one, it means that if staff have a problem or need help; they feel comfortable approaching their manager or immediate supervisor whenever they need to.
Inductions at RSVP end with a workplace station check. Staff are taught during their training days what RSVP as a company expects of them; however, before training starts, during their induction, we also want to make sure that they know what they should expect from us as well. During the final parts of an induction, staff members are taken through how to check that the equipment that they use is in full working order and what they should expect from the work environment around them. This means that if a piece of equipment is not up to scratch or if something in the office needs attention, right from their first day, staff members know that they can, and should, tell someone about it to ensure that the problem is fixed!
Conducting inductions in this manner means that staff at RSVP know exactly what to expect form us from the get go, starting everyone off on the right foot. This makes RSVP a great place to work in between performance work, and keeps people coming back time and time again!