The term ‘induction’ is generally used in a workplace context to describe the whole process whereby employees adjust or acclimatise to their jobs and working environment. As part of this process, ‘orientation’ can be used to refer to a specific course or training event that new starters attend, and ‘socialisation’ can be used to describe the way in which new employees build up working relationships and find roles for themselves within their new teams. Some people use the term ‘onboarding’ to describe the whole process from an individual’s contact with the organisation before they formally join, through to understanding the business’ ways of working and getting up to speed in their job.
Every organisation, large or small, should have a well-considered induction programme. Employees who have a well thought-out induction are more likely to stay with the organisation. The induction programme should provide all the information that new employees need, and are able to assimilate, without overwhelming or diverting them from the essential process of integration into a team.
The length and nature of the induction process depends on the complexity of the job and the background of the new employee. One size does not fit all – a standardised induction course is unlikely to satisfy anyone.