Staff induction

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The induction of staff (often including the induction of new employees) includes not only the administrative setting, i.e. the formalities in connection with starting work, but also familiarization with the actual work task on the one hand, but also social integration into the work environment on the other. This includes both the direct working group and the social system of the entire company.


The induction process is usually viewed as a socialization process . The new employee is initially confronted with a strange and novel work context and a new social environment. He has to deal with this within a learning process and adapt to the norms and values ​​of the organization .

This adaptation process is a two-way process: on the one hand, the employee should internalize organization- specific values , norms and characteristics, on the other hand, he or she brings his own ideas, conceptions and value orientations into the organization that influence other members of the organization. The reciprocal effort of the new employees to bring themselves into the organization and to want to realize is also called individualization; the efforts of the organization to integrate newcomers and to adapt them to the organization, on the other hand, as organizational socialization.

As introduction programs or synonymously induction programs is called the well-planned, systematic and formalized application of measures that seek to ensure that new employees from permanent members of the organization. This contrasts with the spontaneous, improvised and often informal measures for introducing personnel, which complement the induction programs in practice.

Phasing of the implementation process

The implementation process can be represented as a phase model. Here, the focus is on the social integration process and the consideration of the special needs and motivation structure of new employees. With the help of the knowledge gained in this way, it is better possible to respond to the new employee as part of a staff induction program. Most of the subdivisions differentiate between

  • anticipatory socialization,
  • Confrontation phase and
  • Integration phase.

Under the anticipatory socialization is meant the entire learning processes of the new employee up to enter the company (z. B. from home, school and vocational training ). Depending on how closely these learned norms and behaviors match the norms and behaviors required in the company, the introduction process will be more problematic or problematic. The companies have the first opportunity to actively influence the applicants during the selection process. Expectations about the future activity and the future environment are built up among potential employees before they start work and any existing knowledge about the company is updated.

When they join the company, the confrontation phase begins , in which the new employee has to cope with the discrepancies between the expectations that have been built up and the actual operational reality. Due to surprises, this phase is characterized by a high level of stress for the new employee. This can lead to a "reality shock" which endangers integration and leads to an inner turning away from the company.

The integration phase includes the integration of the new employee into the social structure of the company and the internalization of the prevailing values ​​there. This creates an inner bond with the company. “Inner attachment means identification with and willingness to work for the company.” The prerequisite for this is that the newcomers have deciphered their role requirements in both the professional and social fields and have developed strategies for resolving any role conflicts. The term organizational commitment , which is understood to mean a psychological bond between employees and the company, should be classified here.

At the end of the implementation process, the new employee should be successfully integrated into the organization. Successful integration can be used when both the employee is satisfied with their new situation and the other members of the organization are satisfied with the new employee and their work. However, the socialization process of employees and companies does not end with successful integration, but continues in the form that on the one hand employees want to develop and realize their work role and on the other hand the companies strive to further adapt their employees.

Goals of staff induction

According to KIESER, a successful introduction from the company's point of view is when the employee has developed a high level of loyalty to the company, internalized and accepted the corporate culture and adapted their technical skills to the requirements of the position. In addition, he should be motivated and actively involved in the company in order to be able to creatively solve new problems. Derived from this, the creation of job satisfaction and productivity of the new employee should also be named as additional goals.

Possible measures to introduce staff

Measures before starting work

If the new employees build expectations that are too high in relation to their new job before starting work, disappointments and negative surprises, the so-called reality shock, occur when these expectations and the actual situation meet. According to previous empirical findings, this is one of the main reasons for early dismissals and internal emigration. With realistic recruitment , the company can reduce these disappointed expectations in advance. Both positive and negative aspects of the position are conveyed as realistically as possible to the applicant during the selection process.

To ensure that the newcomer is bonded to the company before the actual start of work and any problems that may arise can be resolved at an early stage, active support by the company is suggested for the time between the conclusion of the contract and the start of work. During this time, employees should have as much information as possible about their new work environment available. Introductory documents or adequate information brochures, workplace and company tours and also the briefing with the line manager are recommended as suitable measures .

To ensure that the professional induction runs properly, it is advisable to draw up an induction plan. This should record the order of the tasks to be completed, the time periods for their completion, the criteria for mastering the work tasks and also the additional qualifications sought . The scope and duration of such plans should be designed in accordance with the requirements of the position, ideally in cooperation with supervisors and employees to be trained. The individual learning progress of the newcomers should also be taken into account during processing. The direct supervisor of the new employee is assigned a particularly prominent role in the induction process. He is primarily responsible for the professional induction, but at the same time he must also be aware of the special socio-cultural adjustment process in which new employees find themselves. As a result, he has to deal with newcomers individually with his tasks and his feedback . In order to acquire the necessary skills for this, special training courses are often recommended for superiors, in which the special situation of the personnel introduction is simulated. The extent to which such special preparation is carried out by the superiors, and whether guidelines for leadership behavior are also conveyed by the company, is of particular importance in this respect. In order to enable performance behavior, the factual working conditions in terms of the direct work environment must also be right. For example, the workplace should be set up before the employee starts his new job. In addition to its purely functional significance, this usually also has a psychological function, as it represents a retreat for newcomers in the hectic initial phase.

Measures at the start of work

In order to ensure that the first working days run smoothly, checklists are available for direct superiors, in which it is specified which tasks must be completed at what time. The proposed spectrum of such a list ranges from pure formalities to company tours to an introduction to the work task and the organizational structure. With the help of this set of instruments, it can be avoided that necessary information is lost during a stressful encounter phase. In this respect, it is of interest whether the companies provide their superiors with such a list and which individual measures may be covered by it. Many measures are discussed to organize the start of work: The personal greeting by the management and the introduction in the company newspaper can increase the self-commitment of the new employee and reduce doubts about the correctness of the decision to join. Film screenings of the company and small welcome gifts, which have a positive influence on the important first impression of the new employer, have the same effect. Especially for larger companies it is advisable to bundle such measures within an introductory event in which all new employees of a certain period of time take part. The presence of the direct supervisor on the employee's first day of work is also of particular importance, as the greeting and introduction are part of his or her duties and he should also be available for a detailed discussion.

Measures after starting work

To facilitate professional and social integration, the new employee can be provided with an experienced colleague as a mentor . This has the task of informing about the written and unwritten laws of the company, about the workplace and the environment, supporting integration into the working group and helping with familiarization. The sponsorship system is not without controversy, as there is a risk that the sponsor will act as a substitute manager and that the manager will delegate his or her tasks to the sponsor and withdraw from the responsibility for the introduction. A mentoring system can be used to support the development of young executives . Here, a senior manager in the hierarchy acts as a mentor for the young talent (mentee) in an advisory and support role. This includes a role model function in personal, professional, social and managerial terms. The mentor should generally act as a neutral contact person and mediate between the supervisor and new employees in the event of problems and also contribute a further, independent assessment of potential. A mentor concept therefore also represents a means of career advancement, supports the incentive system and thus affects the motivation of the newcomers. The existence of informal measures can be helpful for integration into the direct social environment, as these improve communication in the team and create a “we-feeling”. Normally, such measures will arise spontaneously by the employees, but it is also possible that the companies initiate or promote such activities in order to actively intervene in this process. In this context, it is conceivable to initiate a get-together for new - and old - employees, to set up company sports groups or to promote other activities that support the establishment of social contacts.

To support the introduction process, Günther Schanz recommends that larger companies hold regular seminars during the first year of their membership in the company, in which the professional, social and cultural integration of new employees is encouraged. An exchange of experiences between several new employees also enables intra-individual conflicts to be overcome and the valences and norms of the company to be better understood. The inclusion of already integrated former newcomers is particularly helpful here. For the investigation, the question arises as to whether such seminars are carried out and which contents are dealt with if necessary. The importance of the "correct" feedback for the implementation process as a controlling and motivating factor is often pointed out.

Another aspect of staffing is the activation of the innovation potential of new employees, which represents a considerable part of human capital , especially in an environment that is changing ever faster . In this context, STIEFEL considers the mere reference to an existing company suggestion scheme to be inadequate and also suggests holding innovation talks. The newcomer should be informed of the company's expectations with regard to their own innovation impulses by their direct superior.

Evaluation of the implementation process

A systematic introduction of personnel also includes a continuous evaluation of the measures implemented. The results of such a success control can lead to a modification of the existing induction program or to the addition of further measures. In this respect, a systematic evaluation of the introductory practice is always the starting point for the design of a new introductory program. Evaluation objects can be the new employees as well as the superiors and possibly existing sponsors / mentors. In order to be able to assess the implementation practice, early fluctuation should be recorded both quantitatively and qualitatively. The organizational researcher Alfred Kieser sees the survey of new employees, especially those who leave the company after a short time, as the most important starting point for evaluating the induction program. The survey should take place within an exit interview , in which the results, summarized in overarching categories, are collected within fluctuation statistics. The job satisfaction of new employees also provides valuable information in this context, as this is closely related to both the willingness to fluctuate and the work performance of the employees. It can thus be used to monitor the progress of the personnel induction process.


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