In the news this week the new CEO of Fonterra, Theo Spiering has begun his new role with media intensity and a round of meetings with farmer shareholders. A blog that came across my laptop via twitter had a message for the new CEO of HP with advice for beginning her new role.
It got me thinking about how we introduce people into our organisations. Thankfully when most of us have begun new roles it has been without media scrutiny and expert comment. However, we do need to become familiar with the new culture, learn new responsibilities and meet new people. It can be a challenge.
When you recruit a new person, how much thought do you give to the orientation process? The basics of how things work, where things are and basic health and safety issues can be covered on day one but more comprehensive programmes are important. The following are suggestions for what could be included in an orientation programme to maximise the chance of long term success.
- A reasonable amount of time spent with all key people to understand expectations, routine and personalities
- Information about the history, values and strategies of the organisation
- Communication processes, how they work and what outcomes are expected
- Policy and procedures, no-go areas
- Compliance requirements
A well planned induction or orientation process should take place over a period of time and not in the first day, new employees need time to assimilate all information. The orientation process is the first component in a long term training programme and ideally will set the scene for future training.
Next time you recruit a new person, give some thought to how you will integrate them into your organisation. Not just from the perspective of tasks and policy, but also from the perspective of culture and unwritten expectations. To do so may well increase your chances of success.
Investing in staff training has taken a bit of a hit since the GFC and is slowly building again. It can be difficult to justify money spent on staff training, particularly in roles which are typically transient or part-time/casual positions. However, it is important to think of the risks of an untrained employee from day one of their employment. The risks could be: poor customer service, customer complaints, loss of customers, mistakes requiring rework, safety issues, interpersonal issues in the team (and so the list goes on)
Investing in soft skills does return an investment to an organisation, resulting in better customer service, better decisionmaking, less interpersonal conflict, clearer communication, higher staff engagement, better teamwork, efficiency and so-on.
Measuring a return on investment
How can you measure a return on your training dollar? Here are a few examples that may apply to your organisation
- Overall profit from increased sales, efficient use of time, less rework, increased customer satisfaction
- Survey customer satisfaction
- Survey staff satisfaction/ staff engagement
- Reduced cost of recruitment- reduced turnover
- Internal succession/promotion
How can I maximise a return on investment?
Unfortunately I still see managers and business owners who think I can perform miracles in training programmes without help from them. To ensure your staff member gains maximum benefit from the training here are a few things you can do:
- Know what you want to achieve: plan and set agreed goals from the training
- Discuss your goal with the trainee prior to training: they need to know why you have selected this training and what your expectations are
- Discuss your goal with the training provider:ensure the course is designed to meet these goals
- Ask for a report from the trainee when they return: create an expectation of “things I will do differently” as a result of the course
- Review ongoing learning and achievement of outcomes at regular intervals: remind the trainee about what they have learnt, provide opportunities to apply learning and new habits will develop