Inductions to aid collaboration

When people start a new job it can often be daunting and for some, a little overwhelming. There is often so much to learn and more often than not, a lot of the information you often need is either not easily available, or is so dull that you stuggle to get through it.

I started a new job many years ago and spent the first week reading a boring document explaining all of the departments, what they all did, what the product did and what was expected of me.

I started on the same day as five other people and the only time we really interacted in that first week was when we were all sat in the atrium waiting for our managers to take us to our “place of work”.

This is a shame when new starters don’t spend time with each other in their first few weeks/months. When you separate new starters you lose a valuable opportunity to build cross functional friendships and collaboration.

It’s also a shame when the information transfer is dull and in-affective. Even worse is when new starters aren’t even introduced to the rest of the business functions and areas.

So one of the things we’ve introduced recently at NewVoiceMedia is an induction process.

I’d seriously recommend this. It was great to see people from Marketing, Sales, Development and Professional Services (PS) all collaborating on team games.

These first few days were an opportunity also for each department to come up with something fun and fresh to tell our new starters and explain how their department functions within the business.

We saw games, visual model building (lego and cardboard boxes), mood board creation, low tech social networks, more games, prezi presentations and a serious amount of interaction. It was great fun presenting on Agile and Lean too and there were plenty of questions about how these techniques and methodologies translate to business value.

This now means our developers, testers, marketing, sales and PS now have ‘relationships’ with people in other departments and at least a basic understanding of what these other departments do. Communication channels have been created that otherwise may never have existed and a sense of collaboration has been instilled in the first few weeks of hopefully long and valued careers.

Induction days also give your team a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging. We got some awesome feedback stating that although two days of intensive induction were tough, they were also very rewarding and a lot of fun. This is great news.

I’d recommend that all Leads/Managers consider an induction day to aid integration, cross team collaboration and more inspired communication channels. It doesn’t have to be a two day event, but I would suggest that it involves games and visual models and collaboration; activities a Tester has to do very often.

2 thoughts on “Inductions to aid collaboration

  1. Definitely a wothwhile exercise in my experience.It’s a similar (although still different) view to how may companies bring cadets (uni students/leavers) on board. The cadet spends the first 6-12 months of employment in various sections of the company for a given amount of time, then at the end head to the section that was their original choice or best fit, etc. Gives them a great holistic view of the company, and the relationships formed along the way are second to none.So your induction seems to me to be an extreme cut down version of this (as cut down as it needs to be to fit into 1 or 2 days that is).

  2. Hi David,Thanks for the comments.I like the idea you presented on spending time in the different departments and how that can help the company and individual decide on the best fit. I can see that working really well for quite large companies.We tend to spend a huge amount of time interviewing for the right person to fit an already defined job, so the induction for us is about creating a sense of belonging, understanding of what others do and also a chance to meet people from other departments. Like you say though the relationship part is a really good benefit :)Rob..

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