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Beyond the Induction — 5 things you need to do to help your colleague

The Management Centre

The latest post from our new Learning and Development consultant Yvette Gyles is around what you can do to help out a new colleague.

Following on from the post I wrote last week, I’ve been thinking about the support I’ve been getting in my first few days here at =mc. I’ve had great support, and I started to compare this to some other (not so great) times when I began a new role. We will have another new colleague in a few weeks here at =mc, so I thought it would be helpful to note these ideas down. I also hope the ideas are useful to you if you’re expecting a new colleague in the coming months.

First to say I remember well from previous roles what a hassle new people can actually be. Of course you’re keen to have new people – maybe filling a role you’ve been struggling to cover. But how do you keep them entertained when you have things to do yourself? What’s the perfect balance between giving them things to do, chatting through information, and getting on with your own job?

These are the 5 great things that my colleagues have done to help me. And I share them as I’m sure they’re useful to you, whatever your job role may be.

1. Explain the basics

This means telling them where the loo is, where to find water and how to get out of the building should it start to burn down. It means making time for lunch on the first day. It also means letting them know when they are allowed to go home. Beyond that, it means being clear on key processes and procedures.

2. Being you: remember to be authentic

They don’t need you on your best behaviour, and to be super polite anymore – though it pays to hold back a little. Make them feel welcome and a part of the team, not like an outsider. Look for opportunities for them to join in.

3. Explain how things really are

This is all about those hidden rules (don’t eat at your desk) and the little things (who has which mug and how they take their tea). These are really indicative of culture. Whilst your induction pack may well explain your organisational strategy, knowing the way people are expected to behave really helps get to grips with the reality of the organisation.

4. Being useful

Remember you hired them to do something, so get them doing it. Try and set meaningful tasks every day so that they can see clearly where their role will eventually fit in. No need to rush things, but ensuring they are occupied will also allow you to get on with your job. Expect questions, and answer them. (And give them bits of praise if they’ve done something well).

5. Getting through probation

If you are a manager, make sure you are very clear about when those vital 1-2-1 meetings will start. Make a plan – write down what you want them to achieve and clarify what scope they have. The job description will not really tell them everything, so painting the picture is your job. Also, be clear when things are not right early on, so they can make sure they get it right next time.

“Whilst your induction pack may well explain your organisational
strategy, knowing the way people are expected to behave really helps get
to grips with the reality of the organisation”

What’s next?

If you are interested in further advice on how we can help you or your team or you have a specific problem we can assist you with then get in touch with one of our experienced Learning & Development consultants on 020 7978 1516 or You can also visit our Learning & Development page to see more ways we offer support.

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Yvette Gyles

About Yvette Gyles

Yvette specialises in personal effectiveness, change and innovation, and leadership development. Before joining =mc, she worked in HR for several years in both the private and charity sector as...


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