A new staff member's view of the University, faculty or division, their immediate work unit and their role, manager and colleagues, is strongly influenced by early impressions. A well planned and executed orientation and induction program will help make those first impressions positive, and the transition into the new workplace a smooth one.
When new staff members join an organisation, a distinction is often made between their orientation and their induction to the new work environment. The orientation of new staff is usually seen as comprising a short one-off briefing session and the provision of basic information, for example in the form of an information kit.
Induction refers to the process of helping people make the transition into a new workplace, a new role, or area of responsibility. It is considered to be a continuous process which generally starts with contact prior to taking up employment and proceeds through arrival, first days/weeks on the job and generally up to the third month or even first twelve months of employment.
Effective orientation and induction is essential for all staff, regardless of position category or conditions of employment, and should incorporate:
- An understanding of the specific experience, knowledge, needs, role and responsibilities of the individual who joins the University;
- The particular characteristics of the local workplace that the new staff member is entering;
- The wider context, ie. orientation to Flinders University and the context of higher education;
- The appropriate coaching and monitoring of performance of the new staff member, so that an informed decision may be made by both the new staff member and their supervisor with respect to confirmation of employment at the completion of a probationary period.
If all essential stages of an effective induction process are followed there are significant benefits for new staff and the University.