Induction: the mechanisms of joining up. A #WorkingOutLoud post

When we join an organisation, we often go through induction: the sequence of stylised sessions and activities that are the organisational equivalent of telling you where the toilets are and which coat hook is yours.


I’ve been working on the design of a programme today so, as i #WorkOutLoud, i’m sharing some reflections on seven aspects of induction that we don’t want to miss.

<em>1. Ceremony – our early lives are full of ceremony and ritual gateways: birthdays, graduation, turning eighteen. These rituals mark transitional moments when both we and our society view us differently. We become grown up. We shouldn’t underestimate the role of ritual and the need for ceremony: at some level, joining the organisation should be recognised and clear: if you have to wait three months before doing induction, the moment has passed.

2. Knowledge – learning facts is not as important as linking people to knowledge, linking people to communities, linking people to relevance. In the Social Age, our relationship with knowledge is evolving: make sure your induction reflects that. It’s not just a matter of signposting systems. Instead, it’s about understanding where innovation is taking place, what permission you have to join in, and where the best arguments are happening.

3. Community – there are many aspects of this to consider: how organisations view formal and semi formal communities, what reputation is drawn from membership (e.g. Hi Potential networks, women’s network etc). Communities are ‘sense making’ entities. Our ability to join them and be fluid in our role is key: this is something worth addressing as a core skill during induction.

4. Intent – where we share the purpose and values of the company: is it socially responsible in what is says and does? This is about learning where momentum comes from: will it be imposed on us or are we given permission to drive it? What permission is there to learn?

5. Culture – there are two aspects of this: one is how we navigate the existing culture (particularly in multi domain global cultures that cross legal, ethical and moral boundaries), and the second is understanding what our role will be in the evolution of the culture going forward. If we subscribe to the model of co-created and co-owned culture, this is key to understand.

6. Support – finally, but obviously, we need to see where our support will be: not just the formal, hierarchical support from a manager, but also the role of mentors (and their availability), coaches, communities and semi formal ‘buddies’. Don’t assume support will come through hierarchy: it’s usually through community.

7. Go – once we’ve done this: we need to launch. Be clear and decisive in the handover from Induction to live.

These are just thoughts as i go through the programme design, but sharing them here as #WorkingOutLoud is all about prototyping and sharing.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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18 Responses to Induction: the mechanisms of joining up. A #WorkingOutLoud post

  1. Michele Madden says:

    I have professionally battled the ‘buddy’ concept. The tendency I have seen and been part of involves HR or Senior Leadership creating rather humdrum and predictable criteria that defines who or what makes the ‘ideal’ buddy or mentor. So, if you do not fit the profile, find the ‘process’ tiresome or your manager feels it will take time away from your day job well then forget it. Yawn! I agree that often the most successful and genuine connections happen in the informal (yet well supported through time/collaboration/space/financial resource) community groups or circles that organically grow within a healthy organization e.g.. woman’s networks, debate/learning sessions, sports, csr activities and other special interest groups.

    • julianstodd says:

      Good point… i guess the key is that we can’t rely on formal hierarchical relationships to provide what is essentially social and performance support 🙂 Hope you’re well Michele, nice to see you here!

  2. Julian – great post. Another component which is underestimated is “welcoming”. People, regardless of position, when entering into a new organization feel a sense of excitement and at times anxiety. Their path as a whole is changing, new people to work with, new responsibilities, a new space to work in, a new coffee machine to get used to – it’s all very different from the day before. Being welcomed into an organization even before you hit the door the first day, adds to level of excitement and awareness that I have, indeed, made the right choice to be here with this company, at this moment. Being properly welcomed into the business cements those feelings.

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