Induction. Being the new person.
Consider the induction from your new employee’s perspective. They want to work for you. The want to work in the environment that you have created. They want to be successful.
But, they don’t know where anything is, they don’t know anyone’s name, they may not be able to access the building, they don’t have any equipment and they don’t know your processes and procedures that have been developed and refined over a number of years.
What can you do to help?
Design a structured process that covers pre-start, Day 1 (very important!), through performance tracking to the end of the probationary period.
Invest in Day 1, first impressions count. If day one leaves them demotivated and feeling lost, it doesn’t set a good precedent for their employment. Your role is to encourage commitment, by ensuring a positive experience, that builds loyalty. Like with branding, build a positive emotional investment, so they enjoy coming to work.
It is important for the individual to feel comfortable. Spend time with them and get to know them, then sort all the paperwork later.
Organisation values are often displayed prominently, but you need to show them they are an important cog in the machine, build buy in from them to those values, describe how essential their role is to the future vision, how it all fits together.
Day 1 is really important, but so is building long term commitment. This comes through continual investment in your employees.
Consider the key questions that they will have..
- What am I responsible and accountable for?
- How am I accountable i.e. what are the targets, measures, reporting processes?
- How is the school organised?
- What is the school culture and ethos?
- What are the career development opportunities available to me?
What to include in an induction
I would recommend designing a standard induction pack that is suitable for all staff and have a section where you can supplement with information for particular roles.
You could also have a summary version of your induction pack that is suitable for students, volunteers, trainee teachers and supply staff.
The Staff Handbook
There is a lot of information that can be summarised in short in a staff handbook, with links to more detailed information… how to reclaim expenses, how to claim mileage, dress code, what to do if you are going to be absent, key points from teaching and learning e.g. behaviour consequences and rewards, how to order resources, key contacts (payroll is a handy one to include), guidance in taking equipment offsite (if allowed) and how the tea fund works.
Induction Pack Ideas:
- Induction checklist
- Staff handbook
- Safeguarding policy, procedures and name(s) of designated safeguarding leads
- Relevant health & safety guidance i.e. personal safety and evacuation procedure – perhaps design a leaflet with key information
- Term dates
- Year planner
- Map of the site
- List of school/MAT policies and risk assessments
- Key policies that must be read
- Staffing structure diagram or list of staff (with names and roles)
- Details of staff with particular responsibilities and specialisms, include the admin, site and pastoral teams
- List of governors and what their roles are
- Performance management and CPD process
- School development/improvement plan
Supplementary information that is specific to the individuals role:
- Job description
- Person specification
- Contact list including telephone numbers and email addresses for internal and external people
- Dates and times of regular meetings that they will be required to attend
- List of pupil names
- ICT login details for all relevant platforms
- Timetables e.g. moderation, monitoring, data collection
All of this information can be prepared and provided in advance to the individual. There are also practical things that we can do during the first days and weeks of the persons employment.
Please do not start thinking that as the business manager or HR manager that you need to do all of this yourself. You don’t. What you need to do is set up the process and agree who will take responsibility for each element.
I would suggest designing an induction checklist and your own version of the list of information above and discuss it with your school leadership team. Ask what additions or amendments they would make, get their buy in.
If you are starting this process from scratch I would also suggest that you talk to some of your most recent starters. Show them what you’ve designed and ask their opinion. Also ask them about what they thought of their induction and support, has the experience been positive?
What else can you do..
Make introductions – introduce your new employee at a staff meeting (say something positive about them); introduce them in assembly to pupils and arrange for them to have a tour of the school making introductions as they go around.
Be ready – have essential equipment ready, such as gate/door entry pass, ID badge, laptop/PC and mobile phone. Having these essential items ready, gives a great impression about how organised the school is and how valued the person is.
Buddy system – link them up with a colleague who does a similar role, this can provide a really useful support mechanism in the early days.
The little things – it is little things that make the difference, such as taking them for a break in the staff room, make them a drink.
Welcome pack – this can include anything like you like. It is a way to show that you believe in looking after staff wellbeing. Include items such as biscuits, nice stationary, a travel mug, just small items that give a positive message.
Plan in time with key people – these appointments don’t need to be long, you don’t want or overwhelm the person. Include the Headteacher, Health & Safety Lead, Teaching and Learning Lead, Safeguarding Lead, etc.
My key message is make the person feel welcomed and cared about.