One lesson that took me years to learn was that it’s much easier for staff to retain and respect processes and procedures when they are communicated prior to employment or very early in their employment with you. This is not to say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but it’s definitely easier to teach habits and outline a standard and expectations rather than retrain habits.
It was truly a revelation for me when I discovered this. In retrospect it makes perfect sense that your staff should learn the ground rules from you and not other staff, who you’re potentially having problems with anyway.
“If you haven’t said it before they’re employment, it’s as if you haven’t said it”
I began delivering a pre employment induction to all of my new staff and was getting far better results than the age long ‘here’s and apron and name badge… good luck’ approach. My pre employment inductions were originally much like a checklists, job description; check, contract; check, start time, finish time, pay day check.
I was getting some pretty good results even with this simple induction, but I soon started adding to this. Everything that was important to me in employee performance was said. Well at least when I remembered to mention everything. Or when I had the time to cover everything with the new staff member.
It took an observing friend one day to suggest that I record the induction on powerpoint so that the same information was given to each new employee regardless of how busy I may be at any time. Genius, well it least it felt that way at the time.
So what do I include in my inductions:
Make sure you welcome your new staff members, A short message just letting them know that it’s great having them on board, is a great way to get things started.
If you don’t already have a vision for your business, this is a great opportunity to think this one through. Your vision is just that what you would like your business to look like in the future. If you do not share this vision with your staff they’ll be unable to assist in making this a reality.
Our mission is what each and every staff member will strive daily to achieve. Try and keep this concise and simple. If it’s too long winded your staff might just forget. An example of this might be ‘To make our customers experience perfect in every way’
This isn’t entirely necessary but I like it. This gives you a chance to instil a mindset. An example of a mindset may be “our service is great because we’ll deliver what others won’t”
In this section make it clear that there is a policy on grooming and staff must deliver on a minimum standard of personal hygiene and grooming. A great place to insist on a clean ironed uniform.
If your prospective staff haven’t asked you yet, they will soon. Why not give them a heads up on what to buy before their first day at work. If you provide uniforms this is also a great place to ask that they be returned if things don’t work out.
Say it now and say it loud… NO PHONES DURING WORK HOURS! Let them know if there’s an emergency their family and friends should call the business phone and sk for you. There’s nothing worse than an employee face booking on their new IPhone while a customer waits.
WORKPLACE HEALTH & SAFETY
Let your new staff know that you intend to honour your duty of care to ensure their workplace is a safe one, but you also expect them to help you with this task by looking after themselves and others and recommending improvements in processes and procedures to make the work environment a safe one.
I use this section to show people how to complete a time sheet. If you use an automated system of swipe cards or the more antiquated punch cards of the old (warner brothers “Hello Sam”) notoriety idiot proof the process here.
Avoid “I didn’t know when the roster was being posted” explanation of absence by explain where how and when the roster is posted and how to read it in this section.
Do you memo on walls or memo via email? Do you memo at all? How do staff acknowledge that they’ve read and understood your memo communications? Explain it all here.
There is nothing more embarrassing than missing your first meeting at work. If you have a scheduled day for staff meetings, make it known here.
Let your staff know that they won’t lose their job if they point out something is damaged. Staff always fear that the assumption will be that they’ve broken something and it’ll be docked from their pay. We’d rather know something is damaged and potentially dangerous so others aren’t injured and so others have working equipment to undertake the tasks we require of them.
STAFF FEEDBACK AND INCIDENT FORMS
Let your staff know where you keep your feedback and incident forms. These can be a great way of improving your processes and procedures. Let’s face it, if there’s and easier or better way to do something your staff have probably thought about it.
This is also a great tool to review situations which have occurred and how we can better handle them down the track if they reoccur.
I discuss stock control from the outset with staff because I don’t enjoy hearing that we’ve run out of something. I encourage staff to communicate with management when they suspect we may need to re-order stock.
Sounds like a silly one, but this is important. It needs to be made clear from the outset that we don’t’ care that the bus was late or that the car broke down. Staff should anticipate the worst and make allowances for these things to be able to be at work on time for each shift.
This is where I plug in my sexual harassment policy and have staff sign off on it. I also include examples here and point out that in many instances this can be unlawful and police intervention will be sought.
This where I plug in my discrimination policy and again make sure all staff sign off on this.
Another policy to be signed off on. This ensures that my workplaces are enjoyable and that my staff treat each other with respect.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) POLICY
In this section I outline what is acceptable use of IT in my business and what isn’t. Make this clear from the outset and you won’t end up with a curbed internet connection because 20GB of lewd movies was downloaded on your work PC.
STAFF FOOD PURCHASES
In this section I make it clear that staff are under no circumstances to remove food without paying for it. I offer a discount to all staff which is below cost, but make it clear that managers need to take payment for all food removed from the café.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
In this section I outline the health and safety act and what my obligation to my staff with regards to the act are as well as staff obligations.
Here I outline how staff report accidents and incidents, and why this is so important to maintaining a safe workplace with ongoing improvements to safety proceedures.
In case of emergency what is the procedure for staff? Is there an assembly point. Who is responsible for what?
Here I list what kind of chemicals we use and for what applications.
I also note here how to use and perhaps most importantly how not to use these chemicals.
PPE (PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT)
What kind of protective equipment do staff have available and when and how do they use it.
How do we read chemical labels and what do we do if a label cannot be read?
MSDS (MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEETS)
How do we read MSDSs what information might be helpful to staff and under what circumstances. Where can these sheets be found and how often are they reviewed?
How do we lift correctly? What should staff do if something is heavy and needs to be moved?
What is testing and tagging and why is it done? What should staff do if something hasn’t been tagged? How do we do basic checks on electrical equipment and what should we do if something appears to be unsafe?
What are the ramifications when theft occurs in your business. Will matters be referred to police. Could prosecution occur and what should staff do if they suspect a co-worker is stealing.
I require all my staff to apply for a police clearance before they commence work and present it to me once they receive it. Here I outline how they can apply for this.
What constitutes team work? Here I outline my expectation of all of my staff to assist each other to be able to make our customers experience in our stores remarkable.
In this section I make it clear that helping the customer enjoy their experience with us is our number one priority. Everything else is secondry.
I make it clear in this section that everyone of our customers must be greeted. Sincerely, and in the staff members own way and fashion. I don’t ever ask my staff to take the ‘do you want fries with that’ approach to service but they do need to greet in their own way.
SERVICE WITH A SMILE
Here I ask my staff to have fun at work. It’s a job requirement and I pay them to have fun. It’s on the job description. Have fun with the people they work with and have fun with the people they work for (the customer). Service with a smile just happens then.
This is a big one. I outline here exactly how we treat and handle food. It is clear and concise with no room to wriggle.
The Customer Service Standards
There are a few minimum requirements I have for staff interaction with our customers. I list them here. Things like having fun with them and greeting them are mentioned here. I also make it clear that their boss isn’t me. They work for themselves and the customer hires them and also fires them.
I’m lucky enough never to have been held up at any of my locations and I make this clear to all new staff, but in the event that something ever happens I list procedures here so that all staff know that endangering their lives in these situations is never an option.
In this section I outline the consequences of breaching health and safety policies. This is important because staff need to know the process that will likely lead to them losing their employment with you if they endanger their own or anyone else’s safety in your workplace.
REGULATIONS FOR EMPLOYEES
- I think of this section as the “Don’t do this stuff or you’ll lose your job” section. Here are my major no nos:
- Dishonesty as proven or admitted.
- Consuming, possessing or being under the influence of alcoholic beverages or narcotics on company premises.
- Insubordination, fighting or inciting other persons to fight on company premises.
- Gambling or bookmaking on company property.
- Willful falsifying a material fact on an application.
- Excessive tardiness and failure to return as scheduled from lunch and coffee breaks.
- Excessive absenteeism or failure to report to work.
- Absence without cause, such as leaving the job without permission or failing to report for work without informing your manager or supervisor and seeking permission.
- Fooling around or carelessness with equipment or merchandise.
- Wasting time, loafing or loitering during working hours.
- Leaving early without permission.
- Failure to perform work as normally required by the company.
- Willfully altering, defacing, mutilating, destroying, abusing, wasting or removing property or equipment and supplies located on company property.
- Failure to adhere to common safety practices that may jeopardise the well-being of yourself, other employees or company property.
- The distribution of written or printed material of any kind during working hours in work areas without prior approval.
- Engaging in personal work on company time.
- Failure to report immediately to your manager any injury sustained or accident in which you are involved on the premises.
- Using uncivil, insulting, vile, or obscene language in addressing fellow employees, supervisors, franchisees, or clients.
- Making false reports on work done, slowing or interfering with production intentionally; handicapping or contributing to the slow-down of other employees.
- Posting, removing, or altering any document on company bulletin boards.
- Failure to report immediately to your supervisor any damage sustained by any equipment, merchandise, or other company property.
In this section I have the job description. In all honesty I keep this very broad. I expect all of my staff to be multi skilled, so all areas of work in my establishments are covered here and almost all of my staff have the same job description.
My letter of offer and employment contract are also included in my induction. I keep my contracts simple and note things like the job description and regulations for employees within. There is always a commencement date, employment classification and relevant award noted. I also have a termination section which lists reasons why their employment may be terminated.
This is the section where you collect your staff’s personal information. Don’t forget banking details and super details.
I never start a new team member without having them complete my induction. You not only get a chance to communicate your expectations to new staff, but also give them a good idea of who they will be working for and what the clear expectations of them will be.
IS all of this overkill? Too much information? What’s missing from this induction? Please let readers and myself know with a comment below.