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Induction checklist for new staff (downloadable template)
Inductions are vital to ensuring new staff settle into an organisation and make a positive impact. Using a straightforward induction checklist can make onboarding simpler and more effective.A concise and well-structured induction checklist for new staff can heighten the entire induction process, helping any new member of the team to get up to speed quickly and efficiently.An induction checklist can remove some of the pressures that managers and HR professionals face when effectively onboarding new team members.Our downloadable induction checklist includes:First day tasksFirst week tasksFirst month tasksTasks after three monthsTasks after six monthsWhile checklists are helpful in ensuring best practice and a thorough employee experience, they shouldn’t turn the induction into a tick-box exercise. Our free induction checklist template is designed to simplify the onboarding process and support your new starters through their first six months.Whether you are looking for guidance to use across your own company, or interested in learning more about what you need to include, this comprehensive checklist is an indispensable tool to help you and your new employees.
Internal communications: how to add value to your business
As workplaces evolve, internal communication (IC) is more important than ever – serving to strengthen bonds between employees and employers and foster an inclusive, supportive community. Often undervalued, the role of the internal communicator is that of mediator, successfully marrying fixed business objectives to the changing needs of the workforce. The Institute of Internal Communication drives standards through training, thought leadership, awards and qualifications across the UK and we interviewed the Chief Executive Jennifer Sproul (pictured below). Read the interview below on how businesses can enhance their internal communications strategy.InterviewQ. What is the value of internal comms, and how have strategies changed since the pandemic?A.Internal communications refers to the practice of communicating with employees, and helps drive organisational success by fostering engagement, collaboration and alignment. Its ultimate purpose is to improve the overall employee experience, contributing to high productivity and reducing turnover by keeping the workforce informed, engaged and motivated.Since the pandemic, employers have been adopting new IC strategies, such as increasing the use of digital channels, focusing on employee wellbeing, and enhancing transparency, authenticity and empathy.IC also played a big role in keeping employees engaged during the Covid lockdowns through online community-building activities. It continues to provide an opportunity and platform to keep everyone in the business updated, allowing stories to be shared and achievements celebrated.Q. To what extent is it only larger organisations that need employees who are dedicated to IC?A.Determining when to employ an IC professional largely depends on the company size, structure, and communication needs. Smaller businesses may not need a dedicated person for the role and opt instead for someone who can handle general comms tasks alongside other responsibilities. However, as the organisation grows, a team may be needed to manage the volume and complexity of communication channels. The goals for the business will shape the comms strategy.Q. What should small companies without the budget for people dedicated to IC do to improve their internal comms?A.Some options to consider when budget is tight might be to establish regular communication channels such as weekly meetings or a company-wide newsletter to keep employees informed about news and updates.Many people relish the chance to learn something new at work. Training and development programmes in communication can be a great way to improve employees’ soft skills. After all, good communication helps in all areas of life and work: leadership, presentations, influencing and mediation, for example. Confidence with communication can inspire staff to take on new tasks and more responsibility – increasing career prospects.It’s also good to encourage open and transparent communication among team members and provide opportunities for feedback and suggestions. It goes without saying that keeping up to date with the latest tech is crucial. Leverage affordable technology solutions such as instant messaging and video conferencing tools to facilitate remote collaboration.Regardless of the budget or size of organisation, understanding your workforce and prioritising a culture that emphasises communication, collaboration and engagement, can lead to better employee satisfaction.Q. Do you feel company intranets are an overlooked resource? What can be done to make them more attractive and valuable to employees?A.Company intranets are often viewed as a tool for top-down communication rather than a resource for employee collaboration and information-sharing. Several steps might be taken to enhance them, such as designing an intuitive and user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and find information, and ensuring the intranet contains relevant and up-to-date information, including company news, policies, procedures, and resources.Social media has resulted in people being far more enthusiastic about using comms professionally and personally – encouraging employees in forums or discussion boards to share ideas, feedback, and best practice can foster a positive culture.You could also consider the intranet as a learning platform featuring online courses, webinars, or podcasts. Fill it with easily-accessible tools and applications that make work more efficient, such as project management software or collaboration tools – and send reminders of any key changes that employees might find most useful and interesting.Q. IC can sometimes be undervalued – what are the signs of success?A.It’s all-too-often the task of the IC professional to have to explain or prove the value of their role to stakeholders who don’t fully understand its purpose.The success of IC can be measured by increased employee engagement, improved productivity, better morale, lower turnover, and increased innovation. When employees feel informed, supported and valued, they are likely to be more invested in their work and committed to the organisation’s goals. Good IC creates a sense of community and belonging.Q. What are some of the common challenges when responsible for IC?A.Every day presents new challenges, and probably greatest of all is striking the balance between the type, tone and timing of messaging sent. It’s not always easy to get right – employees have busy days when they barely have time to check their emails, so an understanding of when to try and capture their interest is key to engagement – and avoiding information overload. And it’s important to always be mindful of topical issues outside the workplace before releasing information that might be perceived as tone deaf because it was poorly timed.The job also involves ensuring consistency in messaging, a readiness to adapt to change, and overcoming language and cultural barriers. Empathy and confidentiality are important factors too.Q. Is it more usual for an IC role to sit within a marketing team than HR – does it matter?A.Where the role of IC sits depends on the business and its goals. Marketing teams often focus on external communication and promoting the company’s brand, whereas HR teams typically focus on internal comms and employee engagement. IC roles can fit into either team but should be where they can best support and enable effective company-wide communication.Ultimately, it’s essential for the IC professional to have a clear understanding of the company’s communication goals and work with both external comms and HR teams to achieve them.Q. What are the greatest industry changes the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC) has noticed in recent years, and how might IC change in future as workplaces continue to evolve?A.The IoIC has observed several significant industry changes. One major trend is the increasing use of digital channels for IC, such as the adoption of enterprise social networks, instant messaging, and video conferencing tools, which have enabled remote and flexible working arrangements.Another change is the growing emphasis on employee engagement and culture. Organisations are realising effective IC plays a key role in fostering a positive workplace culture that pays dividends in the longer term.As workplaces continue to evolve, the role of IC is likely to become even more critical. We could see IC professionals adapting to new communication technologies and channels, such as artificial intelligence (chatbots) and virtual and augmented reality balanced with human-centred communication. Those working in IC will also need to develop strategies to communicate with a diverse workforce, including remote and contingent workers, to ensure success.Looking for hire new professionals for your team? Get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.
Sabbaticals: considerations for employers and employees
The early years in a job are filled with learning: new skills, continued development and greater challenges along the way. For those lucky enough to love what they do in a workplace that meets their needs, years fly by – with some companies rewarding continuous long service or achievement with several weeks or months of paid sabbatical leave.What is sabbatical leave?Sabbatical leave used to be more commonly associated with academic professions, with educators traditionally granted a period of paid time off – usually one year – for further study or research. Similar opportunities have since filtered into other lines of work, with paid, part-paid and unpaid options, but are offered by relatively few employers across the world.Unlike career breaks, sabbaticals mean the work contract continues, giving employees freedom to explore without penalty. There’s no set format but it is recommended employers offer the leave on equal terms for everyone in the business rather than using an ad hoc system. A dedicated sabbatical policy can outline terms for both full-time and part-time employees to prevent misunderstandings and protect against discrimination and other claims – fairness and transparency are key.According to The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD): “Historically sabbaticals have been a benefit for employees. They are agreed for a variety of reasons including rewarding long service, travel, research or acquiring new skills, voluntary work, alleviating stress and burn out or to take care of health. In current times the motivation behind sabbaticals may be more for the employer’s benefit to provide alternatives to redundancy.”With greater focus on employee mental health and wellbeing, meaningful benefits such as sabbaticals can also encourage a member of staff to spend longer with the business.Having found their niche in a team and given the opportunity and resources to achieve and excel, many employees feel valued by the prospect of a morale-boosting sabbatical. What better than a reminder of approaching eligibility for a well-deserved break – usually starting after five years’ service.How much sabbatical leave should be offered?There is no law that says a business must offer sabbatical leave, paid or unpaid, but it is increasingly being introduced to attract jobseekers in competitive industries.Although the traditional year out enjoyed by academics is unheard of for most private companies, a more affordable period of four weeks’ paid sabbatical leave is considered fair, rising to six weeks or more after 10 years’ continuous service.Forward planning is essential to allow managers to reassign the leaver’s workload across the team or advertise for temporary help. This may require the employee to give at least six months’ notice but could well be longer depending on the seniority of the role.During the leave, the employee may receive full or partial pay, or no pay at all, depending on the company’s sabbatical policy. Some employers may formally request that no other paid work is undertaken during the absence.As an alternative or an addition to sabbatical leave, companies might choose to grant additional paid annual leave for loyal staff – perhaps five extra days after five years.What are the benefits of sabbatical leave?Time out can be an incredibly rewarding experience, and one with lasting benefits for both employer and employee. With the freedom that comes with the extra time off, sabbaticals are ideal for personal development, whether it’s a self-care plan, a period of study, travel or volunteering – the freedom from the 9-5 is ideally meant for discovery as well as relaxation.Employee benefitsBy using the time productively, employees could end up adding value to their role. Here’s a few ideas for how to spend the time:Rest and recharge: A break from the daily grind gives an opportunity to step away from your work-life responsibilities and find out what inspires you.Learning new skills: A sabbatical allows for plenty of free time that can be devoted towards learning new skills or honing existing ones. Whether it’s mastering a language or developing coding know-how, these experiences will enhance your career prospects and help you stand out from the crowd.Greater appreciation: Time out provides an opportunity to reflect on things taken for granted over time, such as our job, relationships, or health.Improved health: A sabbatical gives us the chance to focus on our physical and mental wellbeing by engaging in activities like yoga or meditation. This helps boost productivity levels upon returning to work along with improving overall quality of life.Explore new interests: During a sabbatical, you could take up a hobby you may not have had time for while working. This can be a great way to develop new skills and can even lead to a new career path.Personal development: Focusing on growth through travel, education, or other goals can bring new perspectives to your work when you return.Enhanced creativity and productivity: Stepping away from work can provide a new perspective and channel your interests into projects that could be useful back in the workplace.Eliminate burnout: Many people quit their jobs when they feel exhausted and demotivated through overwork and stress. Time away is a wellbeing solution that means you can retain your job while regaining your mojo.Employer benefitsSabbaticals can also provide significant benefits for employers in terms of employee retention and attraction:Retain top talent: Offering sabbaticals can be a powerful tool for retaining workers. Employees who feel valued and supported by their employer are more likely to stay with the company long-term.Improved productivity: Sabbaticals can lead to improved productivity in the long run, with employees returning to work with renewed energy and focus,Cost savings: If an employee takes a sabbatical instead of leaving the company altogether, it can save the employer money in the long run through recruitment and training costs.Enhanced creativity: Employees can explore new interests and ideas, introducing them in their work.Improved employer branding: Companies that prioritise work-life balance and employee wellbeing are more likely to be viewed as desirable places to work.Returning to workThe hope is that employees return to the workplace refreshed. The break may have brought clarity to their working routine, new skills that could benefit their role, and fresh ideas. The early weeks settling back in are a great time for sharing these ideas and considering how the job may be shaped by the sabbatical experience.For the employee, a little preparation before the end of their leave can ease any anxiety about the return: catch up on company and industry news, check-in with colleagues, and ask for team updates so it’s not a complete surprise on the first day back.Work may also seem a little overwhelming at first, with things unlikely to be the same as when the returner left. There might be different tech to get to grips with, new team members and schedules in place. Managers should keep checking in to ensure the returner is coping and not overloaded through this transitional period. Some workplaces provide a structured ‘return to work’ plan to help employees and managers meet their goals.To encourage and inspire new and existing staff, sabbaticals should be shouted about in job adverts, social media and company websites. The prospect of a break or memory of one may lead to workplace happiness and contentment.Looking for talented professionals to join your team or seeking a new opportunity? Contact one of our specialist recruitment consultants today.