Top 10 tips for staff inductions
Lorraine Sutcliffe, HR manager at Baxter Freight, explains why there is more to welcoming new starters than office tours and buddy systems in her top ten tips for staff inductions.
The interview process is a long journey- it takes a lot of time to find the correct candidates. But what’s next? Too many businesses think that the first day is the end of the recruitment process, when really your staff induction is your opportunity to establish the company’s personality. New staff will be given the chance to understand the company values, strategy and their role within the organisation. After you’ve invested so much in the recruitment process, it’s sound business sense.
Here are my top ten tips on how to conduct a successful induction programme.
1. Invest from the beginning
Initially inductions can seem like a lot of work , but ensuring employees have the right knowledge, skills and attitude for the workplace has so many benefits; it can avoid issues arising in the long-run, increase retention and generate a happy and productive team. Plus showing any new starter that you are invested in them from the off-set will develop a positive first impression.
2. Induct everyone
People often feel that inductions are just for junior staff, but inducting senior members too ensures that everyone in your business buys into the same vision- whether they’re a director or member of an operation team; everyone should have a staff induction. This is your opportunity to ensure consistent standards, expectations and values are kept across your business too. It doesn’t matter if you are a small or large organisation, every business should have common standards and visions to follow. This is especially relevant for SMEs to ensure that established ideals remain consistent throughout their rapidly expanding environment.
3. Target different learning styles
The induction process can sometimes be a little daunting for new starters as there is a lot of information to take in. Because of this, it’s important to make a conscious effort to incorporate different learning styles into the process to ensure new information is absorbed and retained by everyone. This could mean incorporating diagrams or videos for visual learners or physical elements for kinetic minds- targeting your inductions to cater for everyone is a worthwhile step that can also make inductions more engaging.
4. Do lunch
Whether you’ve got ten employees or ten thousand, lunch time can be a daunting time for a new starter. When you’re going to so much effort to create an inclusive, welcoming induction, it makes sense to ensure this vibe continues into lunch and into the afternoon’s session. We arrange a buffet for our new staff so everyone can have lunch together and start to build that team and get to know people. It may sound simple but it helps our employees feel more comfortable and enables them to begin to understand the team dynamic within our office.
5. Develop key skills
Inductions are a great time to equip your staff with the basic skills they need for their position. In our line of work this focuses on effective communications, and so our inductions explore a number of useful techniques to help new employees achieve this. Although it may sound simple, using role play to learn how to ask open questions or how to listen effectively is a great way to assess and teach these skills and ensure a consistent standard of communication is adhered to across the organisation.
6. Layer Information
There is a lot of information to share in an induction, so to help your staff retain knowledge, focus on building understanding through separate layers. Doing this will effectively aid learning and boost their confidence. Layering also helps identify gaps in employee knowledge and allows any potential concerns to be addressed. For example we begin to layer information for our Sales Account Managers on day three of their induction, walking them through everything from rapport building to profiling information. Each module has an exercise to reaffirm what we’ve learnt and its importance to that particular position.
7. Play Games
Avoid boring new employees to death by PowerPoint and think about how you can make your induction more engaging. At Baxter Freight we make a conscious effort to help our new employees retain information through a variety of fun activities. Games are also a great opportunity to bring your businesses culture to life. Being in the logistics industry, listening is a vital skill for our employees, one of the games we play is Chinese whispers: it might sound simple but the nature of the exercise means our new starters learn how to actively listen to ensure their understanding is correct.
8. Have difficult conversations
Many companies shy away from discussing subjects such as race, gender or sexuality, but your induction is a great time to address the company expectations. Diversity is a great example; we initiate conversations with our staff challenging the causes of stereotypes. It is important to discuss equality and diversity, to combat any issues and establish an agreed standard across your business.
9. Meet the managers
A lot of companies forget the recruitment process is a partnership- your new starters are helping you grow your business, so it’s important to remember this throughout the induction. Getting senior members of staff to take the time to introduce themselves is an effective way to show new starters that you are grateful to have them on board, along with establishing a transparent culture across your business.
10. Tell your story
Most companies will cover the basics during their inductions, however many forget there is an interesting story behind their success. For example, our fresh approach to the freight industry has come from the knowledge of our founder Ian Baxter, who has an intrinsic understanding of the freight industry as the former MD and co-owner of RH freight. This story is an important part of our corporate identity and influences our actions as a result; from our employee expectations to the strategies we use, all our business actions are shaped by our previous experience, so it’s important to make some time to enlighten new starters as to how we built our company.
Top 10 air freight carriers
10. Cargolux Group
The Luxembourgish freight carrier Cargolux Group (comprised of Cargolux Airlines and Cargolux Italia, established in 2008) remained in the number 10 spot, with a total reported FTK (Freight Tonne Kilometer) equaling 7.45 bn, which represents a 7.7% expansion year-over-year. The carrier group currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft (26 through Cargolux Airlines and an addition four through Cargolux Italia), primarily variants of the Boeing 747.
9. Korean Air
Headquartered in Seoul, Korean Air provides cargo and passenger services to over 100 destinations in 44 countries. The carrier fell from eighth place in the previous year’s rankings, with a total FTK of 7.66 bn, representing a 7.1% decrease year-over-year. Korean Air reported a net revenue of $10.7bn in 2017, also reporting a return to profitability for the first time in five years, according to Forbes.
8. Air France-KLM
The Air France-KLM freight carrier group was founded in 1947. The group is comprised of Air France, KLM, and Martinair, and is based in Paris, France. Falling from seventh place in the Freight 50 rankings, the carrier reported a total FTK of 8.13 bn, which represents a 9.2% decrease in traffic year-over-year. The group reported a net revenue of $29.08bn at the end of 2017 and is ranked #28 on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best Employers.
7. Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways, the nationally owned airline of the Kingdom of Qatar is based in Doha, and ascended two places in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 9.22 bn, representing a 19.6% increase in comparison to the previous financial year. The carrier’s Cargo division recently launched facilities at its hub in Doha to provide a “Seamless Cool Chain”, comprised of a “2,470 square metres Climate Control Centre situated at the airside… equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals and perishables.” This end-to-end supply chain control is expected to further improve Qatar’s standing as a leader of Middle Eastern air freight.
6. Lufthansa Group
Based in Cologne, Germany, the Lufthansa Group (comprised of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines) fell from the fourth position in the Freight 50, with a combined FTK of 9.46 bn. While this represents a 1.6% increase in traffic, year-over-year, the carrier was forced down the list by drastic growth from other German freight company, DHL. According to Forbes, Lufthansa’s revenue and net profits ($41.5 bn and $2.78 bn, respectively) in 2017 are both the highest reported by the company over a ten-year period.
5. Cathay Group
The Cathay Group (composed of Cathay Pacific Airlines and Dragonair) is headquartered in Hong Kong and its Cargo division accounts for 21% of the airline’s total revenue. The company’s first dedicated cargo flight between Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London, was established in 1981, according to the official site. Now, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Division services over 47 destinations worldwide. The carrier fell from the fourth position on the Freight 50 ranking, as its total FTK fell by 3.6%, to 10.21 bn. According to Forbes, Cathay Pacific experienced a second year of unprofitability, although the airline’s asset portfolio reached a record high in 2017, with a net value of $24.1bn.
4. DHL Express Group
Operating as the largest European carrier group, DHL Express Group (composed of DHL Air, DHL International, Air Hong Kong, Polar Air Cargo, ABX Air, Southern Air, Aerologic, and EAT Leipzig) rose two positions in the Freight 50 rankings. The carrier reported a total FTK of 10.56 bn, which represents an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. In 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show, DHL Express announced the purchase of 14 Boeing 777s, part of a new strategy to modernise its fleet.
3. UPS Airlines
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS Airlines is part of United Parcel Service, Inc. Founded in 1908, UPS is the oldest company in the Top Ten, and retained third place in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 11.26 bn. This represents a 3.9% increase year-over-year. The Company as a whole reported a net revenue of $67.7 bn, according to Forbes, representing a continuation of a ten-year trend of continuous growth. Forbes also ranks UPS among the world’s top 100 most-innovative companies, and the world’s top 50 most-valuable brands.
2. Emirates Skycargo
The state-owned air freight carrier for the UAE, Emirates Skycargo remains in second place on the Freight 50, with a total FTK of 12.27 bn, representing a 0.4% decrease year-over-year. The carrier’s central hub in Dubai allows its 259-strong fleet to reach over 1.5 bn consumers in under eight hours. Current purchasing plans are underway for Emirates Skycargo to almost double its fleet size. According to Albawaba, “In response to increasing demand from its customers, Emirates SkyCargo introduced a range of air transport solutions specific to industry verticals including Emirates Pharma, Emirates Wheels and Emirates Fresh.” Emirates Wheels has transported close to 150 cars per month since the program’s inception.
1. FedEx Express
Founded in 1998, FedEx Express is both the youngest and largest air freight carrier worldwide, with a total FTK of 15.71 bn. Haulage decreased by 0.9% year-over-year, while revenue increased to $60.5 bn in 2016, and again to $63.8 bn in 2017, continuing an eight-year growth trend. FedEx employs 395,000 members of staff, with FedEx Express operating across twelve transport hubs globally. The carrier purchased an additional 24 Boeing 777 variants in 2018, maintaining their company’s position as the largest airline in terms of cargo haulage.