Is your Corporate Induction a flagship learning event?

There comes a time in most the life of most L&Ders when they are faced with the dilemma of delivering the Corporate Induction. I say dilemma because it’s normally laden with presentations and is meant to be a high point, but in truth is nothing more than being less a facilitator and more an event organiser.

And, for the purposes of this blog post let’s clear up some things. Whether you call it Induction, Orienteering, Welcome Day, [insert organisation name] Life Day, or anything else makes little difference. I’m talking about that one day where new starters come and expect to be wowed by being part of the business. And if the term Induction summons visions of a woman in labour, I can’t help that. Get over it. For the record, I don’t like the term Induction, it’s too hard and doesn’t actually convey the right meaning at all. And finally I’m not talking about the Induction that happens on the first day. That’s not the same thing as this.

So this day. This one day where new starters come together. And what do we do with them? Sit them through a suite of presentations about the business and expect them to have a better understanding of the business. All they’ll have a better understanding of is the complexity of the business. They won’t understand it any better. At all.

Here’s how we can make better use of modern technologies and techniques to make this day a flagship learning event.

Anything which is operationally important should be dealt with in the first two weeks of a person joining. Typically a new starter has waited several weeks if not months before attending Induction. As such, if they don’t know the IT policy, H&S policy, Fire Safety procedures, and anything else which is vital to their day to day working life, then this isn’t the place to mop up and make sure they all understand. Your process on each of those needs to be much tighter in early days of a new starter joining.

Anything you can make available via e-learning should be. We can make very engaging and sophisticated modules to ensure certain tasks or learning is undertaken in the early days of joining. Don’t make someone do this in Induction. That’s just mean.

We can use social collaboration tools like Jive or Ning to help share knowledge about how things get done and what a person needs to know. We don’t need to subject a person to “this is how we expect you to work”.

So what should be included on the day itself then if you’ve taken away the core bits? I think there’s plenty of room for play and helping develop a high impact learning event.

I think there’s no beating an introduction from a senior leader in the business. Hearing from someome who knows the business well is a major step towards employee engagement. What’s key is that you, the L&Der, provide clear guidance about how to invite participation. Many senior people think they do this by virtue of presenting. They are mistaken.

From here, the rest of the day should focus on the core messages people need to understand. How those get delivered is where things get interesting and you get to play. If it’s a presentation, fine. But add purposeful exercises that embed that presentation knowledge. If it’s a series of presentations, fine too. But give people a chance to have meaningful discussion about what they’ve learned.

Does it need to be a full day? Well when you expect a person to spend a few years with you as an employee, the least you can do for them is give them a meaningful introduction to the company. For some this may be half a day, for others one day, and for others three days. It’s less about the length of the Corporate Induction and more about making it a meaningful experience.

The thing about Corporate Induction for many is that it’s seen as a necessary evil for employee engagement. I mean what hope have we got for making new starters truly feel welcome if that’s how we think about what it’s meant for. For me it’s a prime opportunity to shine and dazzle. The organisation that we work for is amazing in its own way and we need to pay attention to making it a top class learning event.

And here’s my controversial bit. If you can’t make the Corporate Induction a flagship learning event, then what confidence is there in any of your other learning events you hold?