Induction training: The real world
It’s 09:00 Monday morning; you have a customer on the phone, an email from the boss requesting an urgent report and a new starter waiting for you in reception. Sound familiar? This is the real world of busy line managers. Since the downsizing of the 80’s & 90’s, a line manager’s role has become increasingly demanding. Something usually suffers, and in the scenario above you would expect it to be the new employee, wouldn’t you? Yet this is the most important day of an employee’s career, and the old adage, ‘You only get one chance to make a good first impression’ rings true as they experience your induction procedure.
How often are your managers involved in induction?
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claim private sector organisations have 22% annual staff turnover. The vehicle retail industry averages 18% and is estimated to cost the industry £130million a year in lost productivity, management and induction time. Staff turnover generates more induction leading to over-familiarity and tedium issues for the people giving repetitive induction training, which can result in a cursory chat and tick box recording. Managing induction time effectively and removing the potential risks of inducting new employees badly is challenging if employee expectations and corporate objectives are to be realised.
What do employees expect?
Expectations are high; they are eager to get stuck in and are looking forward to the new challenge. They seek evidence to confirm that their move to your company was a good choice. Family and friends will be asking about the ‘new job’ and they will want to answer positively about their initial experiences.
What do employers want?
I believe employers want to integrate new employees quickly, so they can contribute to corporate objectives without delay. Effective induction procedures facilitate this whilst complying with legal responsibilities in terms of Health & Safety training, and if appropriate, driver risk assessment when the employee’s role involves any work related driving activities.
Computer-based systems can contribute hugely to the professionalism of induction procedures, by ensuring that new starters are uniformly trained to a high standard of basic Health & Safety education, delivered in a vibrant and consistent way. Employees are therefore able to start work in a manner that meets both legislative and company requirements.
Induction training has the greatest impact when it takes place on an employee’s first day. At Hayman Quantrill we advocate that it is completed along with driver risk assessment within the first two hours of employment. The HSE figures for 2006/7 highlight that the highest number of ‘over three day’ injuries were caused by handling, lifting or carrying, followed by slips, trips and falls. These could be considered ‘everyday’ injuries where the dangers are the same on day one as they are after an extended induction course of several weeks. Why delay the training that helps keep people safe?
Unfortunately, the UK has developed a strong compensation climate, where employees are aware of ‘no win, no fee’ solicitors willing to sue companies. These rely on employers’ inability to demonstrate that training has taken place. E-learning automates the input of training records and the compliance audit trail needed for legal requirements of the Health & Safety at Work Act, Corporate Manslaughter Bill, ISO:9000 and Investors in People; as well as helping employees avoid the dangers in the first place.
So how do new recruits find e-learning?
Research has shown that there is a 25% - 60% increase in learning retention with this type of training. This is partially attributed to users being able to go at their own pace, that the interaction helps to retain their attention and the visual impact supports the points being taught making it an immersive experience.
Of course, the quality of the product has a major influence. Pictures speak a thousand words. A survey by Hayman Quantrill discovered that their use of photographic images in TakeCare and ArriveSafe helped users to visualise and relate to the educational message more easily than by description or computer generated graphic.
How do employers benefit?
E-learning products don’t have a bad day and are not called away on urgent business! Managers are able to concentrate on their day job, safe in the knowledge that all new employees, regardless of location in the Company, will be trained to a consistent level without tying up other people.
The costs of e-learning systems are significantly lower than those of tutor-led training.
E-learning can help create the right impression, giving new employees professional and prestigious training to provide a basic level of understanding as soon as they begin their employment. Once this training has been given, an employer has time on their side to enhance it with bespoke, modular training related to the employee’s role.
Branding of e-learning products with company logos can help them be regarded as company resources, and be preceded with a motivational corporate profile and Health & Safety documentation for total ownership.
The automated recording of performance data negates manual inputting errors, and enables automated production of management reports, email alerts that immediately highlight a need for corrective action and up-to-date statistics as well as the audit trail needed to prove legislative compliance.
E-learning products can also boost corporate legal protection and show insurers that Health & Safety risks are being managed and that a safety culture is in the making or in place. These conditions can lead to insurance premium reductions and/or savings through higher operational standards.
In short, e-learning can lighten the induction load to give training that is both enjoyable, memorable and traceable, allowing new recruits to start day one as you intend them to continue.