How Can Employee Induction Programmes in the Middle East Be Springboards for Performance?

When induction programmes focus primarily on administration, they lose the opportunity to drive employee engagement from the get-go. How can organisations put this right?

How Can Employee Induction Programs in the Middle East Be Springboards for Performance?

5 Feb 2016 by  Andy Heath

Induction programs generally inform new employees on organizational policies along with a dose of values, ethics, and cultural infusion, and prepare them for the operational aspects of their role. 77% of Gulf Cooperation Council organizations claim to have formal induction programs, and many employers want to leverage on a new employee’s enthusiasm and energy by making induction a memorable and valuable experience. However, few new employees experience the ‘wow’ factor at induction.

Common problems that plague induction programs include: administrative overload, managers favouring day-to-day business over induction, ‘HR induction’ being disconnected from ‘business induction’, and irrelevant or uninteresting activities.


Managing admin overload

Providing a simple briefing and administrative checklist in advance goes a long way to making an employee’s first days productive and enjoyable. IT applications can help employers ‘onboard’ new hires before their start date—by compiling data and documentation to prepare the employee’s access card, work equipment, email address and other IT requirements, as well as sign up to benefits. Mobility service providers can also assist an expat employee in preparing all the necessary documentation before making their move abroad.

Nurturing a sense of belonging

In the Middle East, the challenges for belonging can be different for expats and locals. Local employees may already have acquaintances in the new company; however, they may be too comfortable with their current network and fail to make new connections. Expats are less likely to have a network, but without some support, it may take them longer to develop connections.

Yet the most important relationships of new employees are with their managers and their teams. Leaders are key to nurturing a new employee’s sense of belonging. They can reduce the risk of premature attrition by spending time with new employees, explaining the choices they make and values that guide them, and all in all, creating a strong and supportive environment.

Value from day one

Learning through experience trumps countless presentations, piles of documents, and hours of online training. But ‘learning on the job’ doesn’t mean throwing new employees in the deep end, with little structure or idea of what they’re meant to achieve.

Companies that want to tap value from day one provide the settings for effective learning and performance through a variety of planned activities. For example, instead of just organising a process walk-through, a new employee may be presented with a challenge to improve it. They are given access to co-workers, customers, leaders, and managers right from the start. Most importantly, new employees have a platform to showcase their skills and establish themselves.

No vision or values can sustain your new employees’ energy and performance if there’s no match between what’s said and what’s done. To keep new employees enthusiastic, the ideals presented at induction need to dovetail with reality—even when the induction period gives way to everyday working life.

Andy Heath

Andy is Associate Partner and Head of HR Effectiveness at Aon Hewitt Middle East, specializing in advising organizations across the GCC on aligning their HR functions and practices with business requirements. Prior to joining Aon in 2008, he managed global and local HR functions in the Construction and Legal sectors. With over 20 years of HR experience, 10 of which are in the GCC, Andy has delivered some of the region’s largest integrated HR transformation projects in both the public and private sectors.

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Andy Heath
Dubai, UAE