How to avoid failing your new recruits

It’s interesting how many friends and clients complain about how bad their induction process for new recruits is. It seems their organisations invest a lot of time, money and effort into selecting and hiring the right person. However, they forget that the way they treat their new starter has a huge impact on the way that person will perform and how engaged they will be going forward.

As part of our consultancy and communications services, we’ve supported clients to change their induction process over the years. From our experience, here are the five best ways to demotivate your new recruits:

1. Ignore that Day 1 is stressful

Many organisations try to cram everything into the first day of a new employee’s induction. They usually bombard them with PowerPoint after PowerPoint about the company’s organisation charts, customers, rules, processes, procedures etc. But really Day 1 should be about the basics. It’s about acclimatising, knowing where to eat, where the cloakrooms are, where the boss’ office is and meeting immediate colleagues. Save the company and corporate information for when they can actually concentrate and take it in.

2. Forget to explain the culture

Induction for new recruits is usually crammed with facts and figures about the organisation… where it operates, its products/services, key staff etc. Rarely do we try to explain the organisational culture to our new starters. What are the unwritten rules and values that are important to people who work here? What are we so particular about? What are the real no-nos when it comes to behaviour, the language we use and how we treat each other?   Give your new starters a cultural induction (warts and all). Be clear on what the organisation is trying to keep and what it is trying to change culturally.

3. Leave their manager out of the process

It’s amazing how often responsibility for induction of new recruits is delegated (I’d even go as far to say abdicated) to HR or the training department. Regularly there is little or no involvement of the new hire’s line manager. As a new starter, the person I want to spend more time with during my induction is my line manager. I want to know what he or she expects from me, their preferred work style, how they communicate and how I’m going to be treated. All too often, managers claim they are too busy to be involved in the induction process. This is a cop out. A key part of their role is to on-board new members of their team. If they can’t be available early on in the induction process, start the new hire on a day when the manager can be available.

4, Don’t give them a plan

Organisations are generally good at planning the first few days for new recruits and even weeks of a new employee’s induction. However, a few months in, it’s not uncommon for the new starter to have been cut loose and essentially considered “on-board”. However, I remember during my corporate career 6-12 months into a new job I was still confused about the organisation but felt embarrassed to ask “dumb” questions. Yes, new starters should be given responsibility early on and allowed to start to do “real work” as soon as possible. However, it also needs to be acknowledged that as part of this process, questions will arise and conscious and unconscious gaps will still need to be filled in. Give your new hires at least a 12-month induction plan with regular opportunities to discuss how things are going, to get meaningful feedback and to join any dots that are still outstanding.

5. Don’t link induction to ongoing personal development

Often induction is seen as a stand-alone process that occurs when employees immediately join. It’s something to get over and done with as quickly as possible so the new hire can start to be “useful”. The best organisations seamlessly transition the induction processes into regular performance and development processes. Relevant needs that are not addressed during induction due to time constraints or other factors should not just be forgotten but carried over into the employees’ long-term development plan.

Give your induction process a make-over

A great tool we use to support employee induction are Learning Maps. These visual depictions of your organisation help your staff to see the bigger picture, understand your goal and strategies and make the connection between their role and organisational success.

If you’d like us to come in and discuss your induction process with you or if you’ve already decided it needs a make-over or complete overhaul, get in touch with us by clicking here (squeeze page link) or email us at