Updated: Feb 16
Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect for the new employee, but it is important to remember that there are several steps that employers need to take to ensure that the new member of staff fits in, both legally and socially.
In a small business, the person who carried out the interview will usually direct the induction process. In a larger organisation, the HR manager should carry it out. If there are resources available, the recruit could be allocated a mentor so that they have access to guidance on either their role or the layout and culture of the workplace.
The duration of the induction will depend on the type of business and how complex the job is. The employer needs to prepare beforehand so that they have an idea of what the recruit needs to know and how long this will take.
The employer should ensure that the new employee is introduced to their immediate colleagues and supervisor. It’s often a good idea to give the new starter an organisation chart so that they can see the structure of the business and where they fit in the scheme of things.
The employee should also be introduced to the company as a whole – its history, aims, values and ethos. These may have been touched on at the interview stage but a recapitulation is always a good idea.
A tour of the premises should be organised as soon as possible. Since it is likely to touch on a great many matters related to safety, the Health and Safety officer should be involved. Areas to be covered during the tour should include:
Places for personal belongings such as coats and bags.
Where to get PPE, tools, stationery, etc.
How employees enter and leave the building.
What happens in an emergency, including the location of fire exits and assembly points.
Where the fire and security alarms and fire extinguishers can be found.
Where the first aid equipment and the qualified first aiders are located.
Location of the accident book including how to complete it.
The health and safety law poster and any company-specific requirements for health and safety
What measures are in place for company security – identity cards, securing working areas, alarm system, locking up etc.
Where the toilets and hand washing/hygiene facilities are to be found.
Location of any food and beverage machines or water coolers.
Notice boards and rules for their use.
What arrangements are in place (if any) for parking.
It’s often the case that employees will be sent paperwork relevant to their employment along with the letter of appointment; if not, that paperwork needs to be issued to them as soon as they start their job.
The job description or specification.
The person specification.
A copy of the job offer letter.
The contract of employment (terms and conditions of employment), which will be issued to – and signed by – the new employee, as well as on behalf of the employer.
The grievance and disciplinary procedures.
A copy of the staff handbook, if there is one.
Confirmation of the probationary period, which should also form part of the terms and conditions of employment.
Health and safety documents.
Documents relating to the provision of any company equipment and/or company car, with signatures and receipts to be obtained, as appropriate.
The new starter should have been advised to bring their bank details and P45 with them so that these can be passed to the appropriate person (payroll/HR/finance).
Whilst a company handbook is not a legal requirement, it can be a useful thing for a company to have as it can contain policies and procedures which won’t be included in the statement of terms and conditions of employment.
An employee’s first day is a good opportunity for the employer to go through the expectations they have regarding behaviour. Many issues will be covered in the contract of employment, staff handbook and policies, but it will draw the employee’s attention to them and ensure that they are at the forefront of his/her mind:
The smoking policy.
General behaviour and dress code.
Harassment and bullying policy.
Personal telephone calls.
Internet usage including social media.
Taking breaks and use of any canteen facilities.
The employer may want to have a written statement of terms and conditions of employment which contains the essential requirements as required by Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and accompany this with a company handbook which goes into detail on the policies and procedures, clarifying the terms and conditions if it’s necessary.
The employee needs to sign each document to confirm that they have received them.
Unless the new starter is very familiar with the nature of their new role, they will probably require some training before they can begin the job proper. The type of training, its depth and complexity will vary widely depending on the nature of the job.
Although the employee has only just started, it is worth discussing with them how their performance will be monitored – this can include regular assessment dates, appraisal or staff job reviews.