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Induction Seminars – Information or Inspiration


I have recently been asked to design an induction event for a large corporate organisation, and as part of their brief they have asked for a lot of company information to be included.

Whilst this information is undoubtedly important (Risk and Governance, Peformance Appraisals, Company Benefits etc ), it does take up the majority of the day, and I can't help feelng that the time could be better spent inspiring people rather than simply informing them.

I also believe that this type of information should be provided by Team-Leaders. The event is aimed at mainly middle managers who are new to the organisation.

I would appreciate any ideas or thoughts on what I could include in such an event to make sure the delegates are welcomed, enthused and inspired rather than just informed.
Alistair Gordon

4 Responses

  1. Include a “Handout”
    I agree with you, I hate the blah that though necessary makes an induction boring and uninspiring.

    I find it best to bung it all in a handout, give them 20 minutes or so to read it and then do a 10 minute highlight of key areas, then get them to sign for it.

    As for making it inspiring – show them where your company fits into it’s sector and what its ambitions are and where their business function fits into that.

    Give them some background on the business plan and what each part of the business does to contribute to the strategic aims.

    Get their bosses in to give 15 minute upbeat intros to life in each department.

    And so on…

    Don’t kill it with processes, find out what motivates them and then fit your material to their aspirations. Make them want to work there at the end of the first day and for every day after that.

  2. Induction
    There are three main things I would keep in mind. Firstly, I would be talking to the client about an induction process not an induction course. This might involve a range of activities and support over several weeks or even months. E-Induction is growing – this allows existing employees to go back and refresh themselves too as a lot is often forgotten in those early weeks on joining a firm. If that design then includes a short course, it is clear what is best covered there and what will be covered elsewhere in the programme.
    Secondly, I would be looking at organisational culture – what is the existing and the desired culture. Induction is as much about ‘what is it like around here’ as it is about content. It is also a good opportunity to emphasise or embed key organisational competencies (such as innovative thinking, networking, customer focus, etc.) before people are ‘contaminated’ by less helpful influences.
    Thirdly, which is your main concern, how do you design the induction course with both the right content, the right style and keep it interesting and dynamic. I have used an approach when I get people in pairs, or very small groups, to ‘research’ a particular induction topic. They can call in and interview those people who might otherwise have been guest speakers (who usually find it more enjoyable themselves), including perhaps some team leaders. After 90 mins they have to present their findings to the rest of the group.
    Not only is it less dull than most other approaches to induction, I have found that they unearth some really useful information and grow in confidence.
    It also means that as an external you can concentrate on facilitating things effectively rather than worrying too much about the accuracy and currency of the messages they are getting.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Make it interactive
    I agree completely with the comments already made. Using other approaches rather than trying to include everything in the one day is essential. I do frequently have to include these types of topics but tend to involve the group in some reading and presenting back type exercises rather than a tell session.

    In terms of inspiring people, they need to know about the type of company they have joined, the company’s mission, current position, values etc. I find that most delegates ‘soak’ up this type of information and middle managers are always asking for more!

    Making videos of real customers talking about the company or real employees talking about their experiences also works well.


  4. An interactive quiz (or tour with questions)
    I agree, much of the induction can be dull and boring (if not for the participants then definitely for the presenter).

    I use a quiz concept… a number of set questions and directions to departments with the answer… e.g. a ‘trip’ to finance to ask what our turnover is, a visit to a key department to highlight important facts about our business.

    Split them into teams and send them off around the building (different teams tackle in different orders).

    It takes half an hour max and I also ask them to ask additional questions – this helps each delegate to get something they specifically wanted.

    Oh, and it’s fun. We did however get an apprentice asking a receptionist their bra size… so, quickly shuffled the programme around and focused on equality and diversity for the next session!


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