How to run an online induction – advice for employers

Running an online induction is a key part of managing remote workers, especially in times of Coronavirus. Here’s how to make your online inductions go smoothly.

Inductions are an important part of welcoming any new staff member into the business. They are usually done face to face, but organisations and line managers need to adapt whilst Coronavirus measures are still in place. We have pulled together a list of things for managers to consider if you are running an online induction at this time.

It is important to note that this online induction will be to your business and how it is working now. You will need to consider running a second induction and a welcome to your office and team once that is possible, too.

You need to ensure your new employee has all the tools to do their job – not just that they have an email address and the logins to the right systems, but also that they have the technology and space in place at home to work to their best abilities.

Prior preparation

  • Share an outline of the induction with your new team member before they start so they can see what to expect, start to learn names in the team and get a feel for the programmes you use.
  • Ask yourself: what can be done to make the team member feel more comfortable with working and learning online?

Essentials to cover in an online induction

  • Relevant policies and procedures – where to find them and who can help
  • Health and safety procedures for the current way of working
  • Responsibilities

It is important that employees understand policies and procedures. Spend time explaining them and give examples rather than assuming the documentation speaks for itself.

What else to include?

It is a challenging time to start working in a business as a newly hired employee. You want to make sure that new staff feel supported and not overwhelmed. You need to explore what needs covering right now, and what will have to wait until you are back in the office.

Be patient, too! You are very likely to have to repeat training and learning experiences as learning online doesn’t suit everyone.

Visions and values

Make time to cover the vision and values of the organisation. The vision of the organisation is one of the reasons your new employee signed up to work with you. Bring them on that journey and help them see the whole organisation and what is planned linking it back to their role and department where possible.

Understanding the organisation’s values and how you do things is important especially for young staff. Don’t just read the company values verbatim;  give examples and say what these values mean to you.

For example, don’t just say “collaboration, customer, teamwork, respect, working smart”… what do these mean for the team and for individuals? Talk about the local culture too. Do people share tea? Is there a team lunch? Does the first person in put the kettle on? Make it a chance to cover some of the unwritten work rules that young employees might not be used to.

Set a clear timeline

An induction shouldn’t just be one day or even a week. Think about how long it took you to fully settle and learn your role. Induction training may officially be two weeks, but make sure you set out regular check-ins. Start your induction by ensuring that your new staff member knows the full agenda for the next two weeks and how training will be covered long term too.

Make sure the induction plan has all the links to any online meetings, information or training with clear timelines and learning objectives.

Keep it simple to start with…

An induction is about making sure your new staff members have what they need to begin working and training. It isn’t possible to fully cover all the different aspects of a job in two week,s but it is a good chance to lay the groundwork of the skills and tasks needed. Setting unrealistic expectations will leave you all frustrated very quickly.

Keep your online induction engaging

Split the training into bitesize learning. As the whole team will be working remotely, it is harder for natural breaks to arise. Split learning up into bitesize pieces and keep things interesting by asking quick fire questions or having short quizzes throughout.

Buddies/Mentoring/Shadowing

If you do offer any buddying, mentoring or shadowing opportunities make sure you introduce and set up a call with them this week. Work shadowing might be trickier in this period of lockdown, but think about working lunches with existing staff.

Every online induction needs a checklist

Make sure your employee can see all the things they are going to learn. This will enable them to know what’s coming and also see how far they have come as they tick things off. A checklist keeps everyone on track and allows other team members to pick up different parts of the training should the key manager be unwell or unable to make a session.



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