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Induction of new employees: procedure, tips, checklists

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New employees shouldn't just feel that they're welcome. The first few days in the new job also include professional and thorough training of new employees. This not only ensures that the “newbie” finds the job more quickly and that they can do their work more motivated and productive right from the start. The induction of new employees, the so-called "onboarding", is essential for whether a new employee feels comfortable in the company and quickly integrated. Unfortunately, familiarization is often neglected and (unnecessary) errors occur ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Why is it important to train new employees?

Often new employees are thrown into the deep end and left to their own devices. Motto: “You can manage it, it's not that difficult. And it hasn't hurt anyone yet. It was no different for me - and Learning by doing is best anyway! ”A blatant misjudgment! Of course, most new colleagues find their way into the job sooner or later. If you are left to your own devices during the induction phase, you will not only lose valuable time in finding your way around the internal procedures and processes. The new employees may make unnecessary mistakes, have to ask more frequently, research contact persons and (for the time being) only achieve a limited quality of work. Apart from that, the lack of familiarization massively affects the intrinsic motivation and the fresh vigor. Under certain circumstances, this can ensure that the new hires quit the job during the probationary period or reject continued employment.

How long does it take to train new employees?

The time it takes to train new employees depends largely on the complexity of the workplace and its tasks. Added to this is the length of employment of the predecessor (if the position was not newly created). The longer the employee has been in the company, the more specialist knowledge, know-how and experience have accumulated, which should now - if possible - be passed on. The induction process can accordingly extend over several days or weeks - or be limited to a single handover meeting.

In principle, employers should start providing the new colleague with all relevant information for the new job from the time the job is accepted, but at the latest after signing the employment contract, in order to make it easier for him or her to get started. A contact person should also be named for queries and familiarization. Last but not least, to relieve the new colleague of fear and uncertainty as well as to control the familiarization process and to give feedback on the progress.

Who is there when new employees are trained?

As a rule, at least the leaving employee and his or her successor take part in the so-called handover or induction meetings. However, it can also make sense for superiors, team leaders or other colleagues to take part in the discussions. In particular, employees with whom the newcomer will work closely should exchange and coordinate relevant processes. Ultimately, the aim is to shorten the familiarization phase and minimize friction losses.

In a few exceptions, however, it may be advisable to exclude the new employee from discussions with their predecessors. Especially if the breakup was involuntary. In this case, it is advisable to request the necessary information (see checklist below) from the departing employee and later, filtered and passed on to his successor by a manager.

What are the tasks and goals of onboarding?

The induction of new employees - in short: onboarding - pursues several goals. The main purpose is, of course, to take the nervousness away from the new hiring and to enable them to quickly and confidently complete all the necessary tasks and to achieve their full potential. After all, the employee is paid for success. Another (often underestimated) purpose is to literally get the newbie “on board”. In other words: It is about a structured, systematic integration into the existing team. This not only serves team building and increases its satisfaction, but also reduces possible conflicts, misunderstandings and disruptions in the work flow. Ultimately, this benefits everyone: the company, the existing team - and the new employee.

How does the induction of new employees work?

Classically, the induction of new employees takes place in three typical phases:

1. Greeting & Welcome

On the first day of work at the latest, the new employee should hear a warm “Welcome aboard!”. Accompanied by an appropriate greeting and subsequent introduction to the team. Names, contacts, roles, organizational structure - all of this should first be clearly presented and explained.

2. Processes & tasks

In the second step, the new employee is informed of their precise tasks in the position. Likewise important workflows and processes. Questions like: How does what work? Who do you work with directly? Who reports to whom? Which projects are currently running? What is the new person directly involved in? Which projects have already been completed to what extent? What tasks still need to be completed? Important topics are also:

➠ working hours
➠ Break regulation
➠ Time tracking
➠ Vacation planning
➠ Drinks & canteen
➠ Toilets & coffee kitchen
➠ Behavior in the event of illness
➠ Performance standards
➠ Contact person
➠ Telephone lists

3. Workplace & entrances

Finally, the new employee receives - in a very practical way - an introduction to his new workplace. Filing systems, tools, computers and software are fundamentally explained. In addition, the new employee receives important access and passwords for him or her. This is the formal and organizational part of the induction process. These include, for example:

➠ job description
➠ working methods
➠ work instructions
➠ Process descriptions
➠ instruction manuals
➠ training materials
➠ Tools & aids
➠ Templates & forms
➠ storage compartments
➠ checklists


Incorporation using the 4-step method

Regardless of the job: The so-called 4-step method has proven itself when training new employees. This is how it works: First you explain the task (level 1). Then do this step by step and explain what you are doing and why (level 2). Now it is the turn of the new employee and must imitate it while you guide him and comment on his work steps (level 3). Finally, the newcomer is allowed to take on the learned task independently and continue to practice (level 4).

Induction plan: 13 practical tips

Whether the induction of a new employee succeeds is decided before and during the first working days. Take enough time to do this. The following practical tips have proven themselves time and again during onboarding:

  1. Create a transparent process for familiarization. Existing employees need to know how they are involved. The process gives a clear orientation.
  2. Team leaders should discuss the upcoming induction with the team and distribute the tasks as evenly as possible. Otherwise, the feeling of unfairness may be carried over to the newcomer.
  3. Ideally, assign each employee tasks from their specialist area that they can convey well with little preparation.
  4. Important for the acceptance of the induction in the team: The team leader or boss should also participate and take on his part. This is also a form of appreciation: "Induction is a matter for the boss."
  5. It is essential to use checklists for the various departments when training new employees. This is the only way to ensure that no important aspect is forgotten.
  6. Put all the requirements of the position together - including things that are supposed to be taken for granted. Much already emerges from the job description. The preliminary work also helps to clearly define the expectations of the employee.
  7. Do not forget any necessary training. Not every employee who has just finished their apprenticeship or university immediately knows how what works.
  8. You can also put together training documents, operating instructions and process descriptions. Standardized processes and documented structures make it easier for new employees to get started.
  9. Appoint a mentor or induction mentor. This reduces queries from colleagues and gains trust more quickly. Mentors should not only have knowledge, they should also be able to impart it.
  10. Don't leave the first few days to chance. Make a detailed plan for at least the first week. It gives orientation, structure and ensures that the new person "arrives" straight away.
  11. Please do not overwhelm new employees. At the beginning they should enjoy "puppy protection", be able to find their way around and be allowed to make mistakes.
  12. For the first month, ask new employees every week about their induction and their satisfaction with the process. You can use this feedback to continuously improve and develop the process.
  13. Allow enough time for (regular) feedback: Name your progress and give constructive criticism so that incorrect or dangerous working methods do not become entrenched in the first place.

Extra tip: familiarization wiki

If your company is growing and new employees are hired more often, you should think about an induction wiki or detailed documentation of the current tasks and work processes on the intranet. The protocols from the handover discussions with the predecessors can also be archived there, for example, and further checklists or experience reports can be made available. In this way, valuable information is permanently retained in the company and can be accessed by (new) employees at any time.

Induction of new employees: checklist as PDF

Companies should consider the induction of new employees like a project. And like any good project, it takes careful planning. In this case a so-called "familiarization plan". This also essentially comprises three phases: preparation, the first working day and the time afterwards (usually the probationary period). The following checklist is intended to help companies keep an overview and not forget anything.

1. Preparation to start work

➠ information sent?
➠ Workplace set up?
➠ Have handouts prepared?
➠ colleagues informed?
➠ mentor / sponsor named?
➠ Works council informed?
➠ Start of work known?
➠ Introduction planned?
➠ Did you clarify the way to work?

2. The first day of work

➠ Greeting clarified?
➠ Welcome package put together?
➠ Information material ready?
➠ ID cards ready?
➠ Assigned tasks?
➠ go out to eat?
➠ Mentioned company events?
➠ Have a feedback talk?

3. The time after

An important part of training a new employee is conveying the corporate culture. This includes values ​​and the company's mission statement, as well as the basic rules of cooperation and mutual respect. Much of this cannot be conveyed on the first day of work, but will emerge in the following time. It is important that the newcomer is not left alone. Work processes and progress should be registered, questions that arise should be clarified and assistance should be given again. Or in short: Regularly check whether the onboarding is successful and whether the new employee receives enough support. This largely depends on whether the employee successfully passes the probationary period.

You can download the 3-part checklist for familiarization HERE free of charge as a PDF.

That is why you should take over the induction

Volunteers are rarely found to train new employees. Most colleagues see this as just an additional expense to the already stressful job. We recommend: Register voluntarily anyway! For two reasons:

You broaden your horizons: New employees often bring new ideas, working methods and perspectives with them. You can benefit from direct contact during training and gain new impulses. A little breath of fresh air might give you new impetus too.

You will get to know your job better: Very few employees regularly think about their own job, the distribution of tasks, the processes and upcoming projects. By introducing a new employee, you reflect on your own job, fresh know-how or learn new things through questions from your colleague.

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[Photo credit: Karrierebibel.de]