We are working on a new Faculty staff induction to complement the activities that happen at a departmental and University level. As part of this project we interviewed new staff about their experiences joining the University. We also asked some teams what they did to prepare for new arrivals. We discovered a lot of good practice happening within our Faculty. From our findings here are some staff induction best practice tips:
Put in preliminary work before new members start
Nearly all our new members of staff expressed frustration at not being able to access University systems immediately. Although there are many processes that can only be started once a new member of staff is on campus, there are still some aspects that can be prepared in advance such as folder access, informing and setting up meetings with relevant people (including those who can provide card access).
Develop your own materials
We discovered some teams have developed their own induction materials specific to their job function. These even included tasks and treasure hunts so that new members of staff could get to know folder structures and try out the University's systems.
Get the whole team involved
Creating a schedule of training where each team member takes on responsibility for a certain aspect helps share the workload and means each member gets to know the new recruit.
Some of the staff we interviewed talked about being overwhelmed by "meeting too many people in a short amount of time". One team within the Faculty draws up a plan where the inductee is introduced to their immediate surroundings and then shown other areas as the weeks progress, ensuring their network increases at a manageable rate.
Put the role into context
Understanding where your role fits within the wider university is an important part of working effectively. One of our job families produced a special induction document introducing the University's strategy and how their job function fits into this.
Get them connected
Our interviewees mentioned how useful it was to meet others outside their immediate surroundings who performed a similar job function. Many people aren't aware of the mentoring or buddy opportunities available at the University, so this might be a good thing to highlight to inductees early on and at the mid-probation point.
The little things
In our interviews small gestures like buying an inductee a coffee on their first day really made a difference.
Our staff induction module will be available on the Faculty of Engineering & Design's staff wiki space's New Staff page in the Autumn.