Graduate Careers Australia
The Graduate Grapevine - Number 2, December 2005
Orientation and Induction
So, you’ve come through the bulk of the recruitment and selection process and you have your new recruits. They have been matched as closely as possible to your organisation’s skill requirements, they have been reference-checked, and now they are ready to start the next stage of their life, often in their first serious employment.
At this stage, the graduates will probably be experiencing some trepidation and nerves, as well as having a strong desire to contribute and to make their mark. Harnessed correctly, this enthusiasm can have significant benefits for your organisation in both the short and longer term. They will also be naturally observant of their environment – and everything that happens in the first few days will affect their perceptions of your organisation. You can be sure that they will pass their experiences on to friends, family and other graduates. For this reason, it is essential that your program runs smoothly and creates a genuinely positive environment.
Graduate induction is often conducted through a formalised Graduate Induction program, where all of the incoming graduates are inducted at the one time, often via a live-in program. However, the following comments are equally applicable if you are merely inducting one or two graduates.
The aim of the orientation and induction process is to familiarise the new intake of graduates with the organisation, their job and their workplace. Through a properly conducted induction program, new graduates become integrated into your organisation, acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes that make them successful contributors to your organisation.
Some of the recognised benefits of a properly managed induction program include:
- improved morale and a reduction of the new graduate’s anxiety
- increased productivity
- facilitated learning and lower training costs
- development of a team spirit and camaraderie among the new graduate intake
- ensures the graduate understands the performance requirements and standards expected.
You should give careful consideration to those who will lead the induction/orientation program or participate in it from within your organisation. Some suggestions are:
- A senior person within the organisation to provide the ‘official welcome’ to the organisation.
- Members of the HR department, who will lead the new staff member through the formal stages of the induction process.
- The new graduates’ ‘buddies’, who can perhaps participate in any social activities conducted as part of the induction program.
- The Line Managers who will be responsible for the new graduates or will be part of their ongoing rotation program.
There are a number of stages in the Induction Process
Stage 1 – Prior to commencement
There are many important tasks to cover before the new intake of graduates even arrives, such as:
- payroll registration for them all
- arranging office space and equipment requirements
- notifying graduates of travel/parking arrangements
- completion of relevant paper work etc.
While these are primarily administrative matters, they can impact negatively on the new graduate’s perceptions of your organisation if they are not organised smoothly. Also, don’t forget to let existing staff know when and where the new graduate intake will be arriving.
Stage 2 – Welcome to the workplace: the first steps
- Have a formal welcome to the organisation from a senior staff member.
- Introduce the new graduates to each other – perhaps conduct an ‘ice-breaker’ exercise.
- Introduce them to other members of staff, starting with those they will be dealing on a regular basis.
- Outline the next few months of their working life as a new graduate – whether they be on a rotation program, what type of work they will be doing, etc.
- Explain practical matters such as office procedures, communication protocols, computer and email policies, internet access and use policies, what to do if they are sick, how to apply for annual leave, etc.
If you are conducting a live-in, condensed graduate induction program, you may find that the elements of Stages 2 and 3 are condensed into the one program.
Stage 3 – Ongoing induction: further steps
Over the course of the first month you should:
- Provide more details about organisational goals and culture.
- Clarify OH&S, sexual harassment, privacy and other legal requirements.
- Outline the opportunities for future training and let them know how to apply.
- Explain how their performance will be managed and assessed.
- Let them know of development opportunities.
And throughout, provide them with plenty of opportunities to ask questions and raise issues of concern in a relaxed, non-threatening environment.