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Seb Anthony

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No Shows for induction


Hello there

does asnyone else have the following issues and if so, can you offer any advice. We run a six-week induction which includes company orientation but also 5 weeks of quite intensive systems training.

We don't run rolling recruitment/induction but tend to bring in new staff in groups of 10 either 3 or 4 times a year. In those numbers we always have one or two no-shows in the first few weeks. If it is a no show for one or two days, that's not a problems as that is the company orientation days. However, if it runs into one or two weeks we have a problem in that we don't have the resource to pick up another induction for just 1 or 2 people and the systems training is too complex for them to just pick up what they've missed.

Although it sounds draconian and we wouldn't want to do this if at all possible, our preference would be to have those people put on a waiting list for the next induction that becomes available. Unfortunately, we couldn't keep them gainly employed until the next induction - people have to do the training in their first 6 weeks and if they don't do it, we don't have alternative jobs for them to do, (unfortunately). However, our own in-house HR consultants say that we can't do this but show little understanding of how complex the work is to pick up.

Hope this doesn't seem like we are being unsympathetic to potential new starters but we do have a hard business context to compete in. Any thoughts.

clive boorman

6 Responses

  1. Some stuff…
    Firstly your HR consultants are wrong you can terminate on pretty much any grounds (except those covered by equality legislation) in the first year and pretty much not worry about the consequences. Failure to attend training (except for a day or two off-sick) is a perfectly good reason to drum someone out if it’s essential to do the job.

    Ways to address, this depending on the reasons, could be – I’ll start with skiving (persistent absence, whatever you want to call it). A few options spring to mind – the first is if the job pays more than minimum wage for you to hold the difference (this will need to be contractual) until succesful completion of training at which point they get their payrise to full salary and have it backdated to the start of their contract, which should be a good incentive to stay with the program. Or you could accept that you will lose 1 or 2 each time and increase your hire rate to cover the loss.

    If it’s internal factors preventing them from attending then it’s time to start “fining” departments that fail to release them into your care (e.g. money out of manager’s budgets and into your own).

  2. some more info
    Thanks Nik for your comments. Just to clarify, the issue lies with individuals just not turning up in their first few weeks, (illness being the most common reason given). The business departments don’t accept the new starters until they are fully trained and new starters go straight into training. The no shows are down to individuals who we have given a start date and they just don’t turn up. We don’t have a probationary period, we have a truncated capability procedure in the first 3 months but this still takes a matter of weeks to complete.

    many thanks


  3. maximising attendance on induction
    Hi Clive, this isn’t an easy one, particularly given the lack of information about the role, organisation etc. However, here are some things to think about which might help. Is there something more that could be done during the recruitment process to increase the success rate of starting. Offers of employment should be subject to the satisfactory completion of the induction process. Failure to complete means no ongoing employment. No additional Company sick pay to be paid during the three month assessment period. Are they recruited by the function – if so, six weeks is quite a long time to be away from the people and the work you have chosen to do. Is there a way that you could build in contact with their new colleagues and also give some sense of ‘hands on’ work during the training period. Do you keep statistics – is there a trend to when people ‘drop out’? How involved are people during the induction period? Six weeks is a long time to be absorbing information and not feeling like you are giving something. What about asking employees who have gone through the programme talk through their experiences early on in the induction process, perhaps even some type of buddying system?

  4. thanks for comments
    Hi Gail – appreciate your comments and to be honest a lot of what you suggest we actually do. The issue here is solely with people who don’t turn up at all in their first few weeks rather than people that might drop out part-way through the process.

    We do ask people, during an initial telephone screening process if they can commit to the 6 week induction and we tell them what the starting date will be. Only people that verbally commit to this get to the assessment stage. However, we still do get no shows on a regular basis but our HR people don’t appear to want to tackle this by withdrawing the offer of employment. I’m concerned this sounds harsh but it really doesn’t benefit the individual if they miss the first few weeks of the training and it really is too complex just to catch up.

    I agree that six weeks is long but only learning part of the process and then going back into their department really doesn’t work. If they can’t see the end to end process it leads to frustration all around especially with the individuals and that then is more likely to reult in people leaving.

    Just for information, my organisation is a large well known service provider and our part of the business is the back office; involved in initial account set-up, some elements of installation and billing.

    many thanks


  5. Additional Incentive to Join An Organisation
    Hi There Clive!

    Our group new starts are CSR’s (Customer Service Representatives) who are joining our Contact Centre.

    During their first 12 months they are enrolled for and expected to complete a Level 3 nationally recognised qualification. New recruits partially attain 12 Unit Standards against this qualification during their 5 week induction… which provides another component in the employee value proposition, another reason (in some cases) why they’ve chosen to join our organisation and another reason to come to work.

    We rarely have no shows.

    Speed Safely!

  6. maybe too simple
    Sorry if I’m stating the obvious but I see induction as a real partnership between HR and the line. If there are problems, is it worth sitting down with line managers to share the issue and brainstorm some solutions?


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