Staff onboarding and inductions

New employees can easily feel overwhelmed. By following clear and practical onboarding and induction processes, you can help them to quickly become a productive member of your team.

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Employee onboarding

The onboarding process starts from when you first offer the new employee the job. The process is about:

  • familiarising the employee with your team and business culture
  • helping them understand their role and what is required of them
  • helping them fit in socially and professionally.

Onboarding new employees will ensure they feel welcome and have everything they need to start their first day with confidence.

Employee onboarding in 6 steps

  1. Stay in contact with your new employee before they start. You could, for example:
    • ask them how their notice period is going
    • start copying them in on important emails
    • invite them along to work social events.
  2. Share relevant information in advance. This gives them time to review, read and sign the information before they officially start. You could, for example, give them a starter pack that includes:
    • employment contract and new-starter paperwork
    • organisational chart
    • key business-related information.
  1. Prepare for the first week or two. You could, for example:
    • ensure that the new employee will have the equipment, tools and uniforms to perform their role
    • book meetings with key employees
    • provide the new employee with a schedule so they know who they'll be meeting and when
    • organise building access and security passes
    • systems access and login information
    • set up their workspace or workstation.
  1. Let the new employee know what will happen during the first week, and what will be expected of them.
  2. Arrange any training the new employee will need.
  3. Schedule a regular one on one meeting. These meetings will be important over the first few months to provide and seek feedback.

Make sure you have...

On the first day, ensure you have:

  • a copy of the signed employment contract
  • a completed tax file number declaration
  • a completed choice of superannuation form
  • the employees bank details (bank name, BSB and account number)
  • details of their emergency contact (including name, address, phone number and relationship)
  • copies of any licences or qualifications they need for the role.

Employee induction

The first thing you need to do when a new employee starts, is to complete an employee induction. It's important to have a plan in place to manage each induction to make sure you don't miss any important information.

Plan the first day

Don't let your new employee spend all day reading by themselves or meeting person after person.

Structure some variety into the induction activities and spend time to help them understand:

  • how they fit into the business
  • the policies, procedures and processes that apply to them
  • how the business culture influences them in their role.

Employee induction in 8 steps

  1. Introduce the new employee to:
    • colleagues, including their manager or supervisor
    • the workplace health and safety representative, fire wardens and first aiders
    • important customers or suppliers they'll be involved with (when possible).
  1. Take them on a tour of your business, showing them:
    • car parking
    • toilets
    • fire escapes and emergency exit procedures
    • kitchen and meal areas
    • their work area – equipment, tools, machinery
    • where they can store their belongings.
  1. Provide them with general information on your business. This may include:
    • annual reports or business plans
    • organisational charts
    • performance expectations and your performance management process
    • employee contacts (e.g. phone lists).
  1. Finalise payment details, including:
    • how and when they'll be paid
    • completing any related forms
    • pay, allowances, tax and superannuation.
  1. Explain employment conditions and policies, including:
    • the relevant award or agreement and where they can get a copy
    • job description and duties
    • work hours, break times and how to record time
    • leave entitlements and how to apply for leave
    • absence or late notification procedure
    • probation periods for new staff.
  1. Arrange training and development, including:
    • job specific, for example, for licences or permits
    • on-the-job (what it will look like, time it will take, how their competency will be assessed)
    • work, health and safety (WHS) (e.g. first aid, hazardous chemicals, fire and emergency evacuation procedures)
    • workplace behaviour.
  1. Provide employee with:
    • equipment
    • uniforms (if any)
    • email addresses
    • computer access details
    • security access cards.
  1. Ask if they have any questions and schedule regular follow up meetings.

Ongoing inductions

Depending on the role and your industry, ongoing inductions for new employees may be needed. This could include:

  • specific details about processes, tasks and equipment related to their role
  • training for specific equipment or processes
  • WHS training obligations, depending on the role
  • reviews of work practices and procedures
  • work competency reviews.
Thumbnail of workplace induction checklist Word document template

Action item: Develop an induction checklist

Induction plans normally include a checklist of:

  • what needs to be covered during the first day, weeks and months of the job
  • who will be responsible for the induction.

After the induction, new employees should have a solid understanding of their role and responsibilities and your expectations.

You can adapt this workplace induction checklist to suit your business.

Consider online induction

Depending on your business, number of employees and employee turnover rates you might want to consider developing an online induction program, covering some or all aspects online. An online induction program could cover elements such as:

  • an introduction to your business
  • details of your organisational structure
  • information about key policies, procedures and employment conditions
  • WHS information.

Inductions for existing employees

Existing employees who are changing roles may need to be taken through an induction to:

  • understand new duties, expectations and processes
  • receive any additional training needed.

Employees returning to work after a long absence, such as maternity or long service leave or after an injury, may need a refresher induction to become familiar with any new or updated policies, processes and equipment.

You are also required to update staff about any WHS changes.

Also consider...