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James Quinn

GRASP. Learning & Development

Learning & OD Consultant

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Inductions for individuals?


Hi all,

I'm about to start putting together an induction course for a call centre in a relatively small company.

I have plenty of experience with inductions in large firms but all of my material is aimed towards groups of learners rather than the one off new starters that my current company employs.

The sessions will include an intro to the company, telephone skills, handling difficult customers, complaints, technical info and generic stuff like equality & diversity, data protection and netiquette.

Does anyone have any suggestions how I could tailor these group sessions into individual coaching sessions for just one learner at a time?



8 Responses

  1. Just some thoughts – hope they help

    Hi James,

    I’m in a relatively similar scenario, in that most of the time we only have one new starter at a time.

    My best advice is keep the "induction" stuff (i.e. away from a desk, telling new starters information) as short as possible. I find a mindset of "they’re better off with their work colleagues finding out how to really do the job" works well when planning.

    Then, with the bits left, spread them out over a few days (otherwise I find you overwhelm them).

    Think if there is any need to "give" them the information – for example, could you give them a challenge to find out info on the company (especially if it involves asking people for help). This allows them to both meet colleagues and build up their own knowledge (rather than just being told it on the first day).

    Compliance related courses – can these be quick e-learning modules? They can then do these at their desk. Rather than simple "information dumps" try to make them as scenario-heavy as possible.

    Skills training – do you plan to make this mandatory, or will you allow someone to skip "telephone skills" if they can clearly demonstrate effectiveness in this area?


  2. Self-Directed with high support and high challenge


    As someone who specialises in designing flexible induction programmes, I agree 100% with the great advice that Rob has given. Getting the individuals involved and sharing responsibility for induction training is key. 

    However, people need a very clear structure and guidance about what to do, when and how. It’s important not to overload someone on day 1, but instead prioritise learning otherwise things just won’t go in. Encouraging the new starter to take responsibility for their own learning also develops great skills for the future.

    I have a 7-page guide to great inductions you can have if you like. Please email [email protected] (my business email is playing up!) if you want a copy.

    In terms of making it work in a call centre, I was involved with this 10 years ago or so, and saw real business benefits from introducing a robust 4 week programme that included formal training (both skills/behaviour and product/systems), coaching and more informal buddying. New starters learned the ‘simple’ stuff then applied that in live situations whilst being supported by buddies. They were then signed off as competent by coaches who then began the next phase of learning and so on. there was a clearly defined competence model in place, which helped enormously, and a number of willing buddies who saw this as a way to get more variety in their roles without having to take on more responsibility/hours. maybe a stepped approach would work in your situation?

    Good luck anyway,

    Sheridan Webb

    Keystone Development – Specialists in training design and induction

  3. Cheers!

    Thanks Rob, that sounds like good advice to me and I think i’ll probably go this way.

    Top management is asking that all new starters go through the training sessions I have designed but Im thinking of putting a "fast track" session together for new starters with telephone skills/experience.


  4. Training for training sake

    Yes, I have similar issues a lot of the time – I hear both "they might learn something" (even though they themselves have said the person in question meet all the end outcomes) or "it’s nice to get training" (ignoring the fact that we all hate being pushed into training situations where we can’t see the point of being there).

    The idea of a fast track or maybe a "tell me what you would do in x situation" approach where you assess against some sort of framework (allowing you to intervene with training if necessary) could be a good solution to this problem.

  5. Buddies

    Hi James

    I have  experienced a very similiar situation recently – I had to review the delivery style and timings of  the induction to accomdate  the lone new starter however the key information still needed to be shared .  I found the use of a formal buddy very helpful – they attended the training sessions (great refersher for them) and made the learning experinece a less "lonely" place for the new person . 

    Hope this helps



Author Profile Picture
James Quinn

Learning & OD Consultant

Read more from James Quinn

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