Managing people

How to induct a new employee

Induction, or orientation, is the process of introducing a new worker to the workplace and your business. Its aim is to assist the worker to settle into the job and become fully productive and committed to the business as soon as possible.

A well-structured induction program reassures the worker they have made a good decision in joining the business. There are also legal reasons why induction is essential. These include:

  • employment documentation, such as confirming contracts and processing tax declarations

  • an obligation to inform workers about their terms and conditions of employment

  • work health and safety issues – the employer has a duty of care to ensure the health and safety of workers and other parties such as customers and visitors to the workplace, which means workers must be aware of their obligations and trained to perform their work safely and with diligence

  • information regarding evacuation procedures, including risk management.

Printed or online support material for inductions

Even in a small business, it is a good idea to provide back-up information in a printed or online form for future reference. Much of the following should appear in a written contract if not, it should be integrated with the induction package.

Suggested support material includes:

  • terms of employment – job title, work section, award or agreement coverage, name of supervisor, a probation period, type of work (full-time, part-time, casual, etc.)

  • pay rate, pay method, paydays

  • hours of work – start and finish times, meal breaks, overtime or shift provisions

  • time-keeping requirements – method, location, lateness, absenteeism

  • leave provisions – annual, personal and carer's, how to apply, medical certificates required

  • health and safety – guidelines, procedures, first-aid facilities, incident recording, workers compensation

  • handover documents – outlining key roles and responsibilities for the new employee

  • facilities – parking, public transport, eating and recreation areas, bathrooms, lockers

  • other information – may include dress requirements, uniforms, petty cash, expenses, personal use of various types of employer property, mail, confidentiality, etc.

  • performance review – including discipline, the grievance process

  • termination of employment – procedure, notice period, dismissal

A good approach is to have a standard format that allows generic information to remain constant, and gaps where specific information for each worker's details can be added.

If you have employees who do not speak English well, consider having this information translated or use an interpreter.

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