The Lost Art of Corporate Inductions

Once again, I find myself at new employer, this has happened fairly consistently every 2 years for around 6 years.  So I found myself sitting through yet another company “induction” and found myself thinking “they never used to be this boring”.

A bit of history, I got working in the IT industry around 6 years ago, before that, I worked a variety of jobs from Call Centres to Hardcore sales.  I’ve worked in IT jobs from Support through to Management and I’m now a Systems Analyst/Architect.

Each employer that I’ve worked at has had to do some kind of company “induction”, with vastly varying degrees of usefulness and enjoyment (on my part).  However recently, they seem to be getting just plain terrible.

To me, an induction sets the scene of the rest of the employment.  It’s your first impression of the company, how they work, the “characters” that work their, and where you will fit in to the company.  Maybe I put too much stock in this, but it is something that I feel is important.

You may reply with “But there is no one size fits all”.  However, should we not strive to acheive that?

I feel that my “Sales” based jobs were the best inductions.  These involved “getting to know you” type games, days of training, and generally, a short time while you’re employed with the company when your not expected to produce a quantifiable output.  My IT related inductions have been quite poor really, the most recent being simply a one-on-one talk about the company and a walk round the office to see the fire exits (not all that terrible, but I was left wanting more).  However, by far the worst was my last employer.

Now, I’m not sure if this is common with all the small businesses out there, but this company was very small (10ish people when I started).  My first day was “There’s your laptop and credentials, go and get yourself set up”.  I appreciate that companies of that size are short on “bandwidth” to spend time with people, but that was a terrible first impression (I should have seen it as a sign, but that’s not for this post).

So my question is, should we be doing more to give a better first impression to our staff? am I alone in my analysis of this, am I just choosing companies that are lacking in this area?

To add something constructive, these are the things that I will be implementing for any new staff I hire:

  1. Introductions to the department heads at their desks.
  2. Team lunch in the first week.
  3. Late start and early finish for the first week.
  4. Product Overviews (preferably delivered by someone doing the same job as the new starter).
  5. AT LEAST 1 hour a day of my time for the first week will be dedicated to helping them.

If the above isn’t possible, then the start date will be reorganised for a time when the above IS possible.

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