Five Common Induction Training Mistakes

Induction training is the new employee’s first impression of an organisation and sets the tone for their future working experience. Great inductions inform and engage employees so they are work ready and excited about working for the company from the first day. Bad inductions can leave new employees confused and disappointed and in some cases, compromise the safety of the workplace. Here are some of the most common induction training mistakes and tips to avoid them.

Inductions should provide enough information about the company and the workplace to ensure that new employees are safe and understand the rules and expected behaviours in their work area. The information should be relevant for all employees in the same work area, regardless of their roles. The human brain can only take in so much information at one time. If you overload new employees with too much information, they may not remember the important points, if they remember anything at all.

TIP: Talk to employees who have recently joined the company and completed the induction. Go through the topics of the induction and ask them which topics gave them useful information, which topics were not necessary and if there was anything they felt was missing.

A little like too much information but this is about the amount of detail on a single topic. How much does the new employee need to know right now? For example, if there are hazardous substances in the workplace, your employee needs to know how to identify them and who to call if they see them. They don’t need to know the chemical composition of each substance. Show them where to find Material Safety Data Sheets and they can look up that information later if they are really interested.

TIP: Look carefully at your information for each topic. What does the employee need to know to keep them safe and understand the expected workplace behaviours?

Did you know that a magazine in mining is a place to store explosives, not a book? And in medicine, IM is Intramuscular, not an instant message. Every industry has their own language. When we have been in an industry for a while, we can forget this as the words become part of our own vocabulary. For a new employee, these words can be confusing and distract from the important information.

TIP: Have someone from outside your industry review the induction and check for Jargon. Provide a terminology sheet and refer to it as you encounter the words. If using e-learning, you can use the rollover function so that learners can access definitions as they come across the words.

This applies to any form of facilitated training but it is especially bad if your new employee’s first impression is a person reading word for word from a powerpoint slide with their back to the audience. And it happens all the time.

TIP: Make sure that your trainers (or whoever delivers your induction) have good facilitation skills. There are a number of great courses around that can quickly address the bad habits. Sit in on the induction occasionally to make sure that the training is effective. Tell the presenter that you are there to meet the new employees so they don’t feel uncomfortable.

Everyone has seen this happen. You are in such a rush to get a new employee to start work that you put off the induction. Six months later, when you go through your records, you realise that they still haven’t done it. By that time, they know more about the company than the presenter.

TIP: Don’t do it. All employees should have an induction within the first week. If they are going to be working in a hazardous environment, they should not start work until they have completed the induction. If your induction takes so long that you avoid putting new employees through it, take a look at points 1 and 2.

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