For the purpose of these guidelines Induction is defined as:
A range of practices designed to ease the entry of staff to the University, department or new work role, and to equip them to operate effectively within them.
Induction is therefore not a one-off event for employees new to the university but an on-going process of formal and informal activities that take place whenever individuals experience changes in their employment and work responsibilities. There are a number of institutional induction processes (see below) provided on a formal basis but these are not a substitute for induction into a local area or a particular job.
These guidelines are intended to help departments, sections and services develop approaches to induction that are effective in helping individuals make the transition to their new jobs and are also in keeping with the cultures of those departments. The point about departmental cultures is an important one. Over the years departments will have developed ground rules and ways of working that are often unwritten and implicit. New members of staff who are ignorant of them may find they have unwittingly gone about matters in the 'wrong' way and trodden on someone's toes. At the same time, new entrants bring with them a wealth of talent and experience that can enrich a department's culture and improve practices.
The paper covers:-
- University-level induction practices
- Department-level induction
- Health & Safety induction - department responsibilities
- Checklists - please note that the Safety checklist must be completed for each new member of staff
2. Institutional induction practices.
Introduction to the University
This is an opportunity for the University to give a formal welcome to new staff. It is a half-day session occurring 2/3 times a term and involves a wide range of contributors and locations within the University. It is open to all new staff who are sent formal letters of invitation. Topics covered include:
- History of the University and current issues
- Management structures and responsibilities
- Faculties and cross-University roles
- Staff development opportunities
- The College system
- Library facilities
- Computing support
- Student support services
- General Health and Safety information
- Use of fire-fighting equipment
It should be noted that not all new staff are able to attend these sessions, which underlines the importance of effective induction at departmental and sectional level. The University has a legal duty to ensure that adequate information, instruction and training on Health and Safety are given to all employees. The introduction to the university session includes general safety information and practical instruction. If a new member of staff is not able to attend one of these sessions, similar information and instruction must be given within the department. Consequently, Heads of departments are advised to give positive encouragement to attend the introduction to the university session and to ensure that new employees are not prevented from attending by pressures of departmental duties.
This is sent to all new staff on appointment and gives information on University organisation and policies, support structures for staff, social and recreational activities, and campus facilities.
3. Departmental induction.
To help new entrants integrate into the department a structured approach is needed to ensure that appropriate information and support is available. Departments will find it helpful to construct their own induction checklists for use with new staff, and the example checklist in Appendix 1 can be used or adapted according to the needs and priorities of the department.
Ensuring the health and safety of the new entrant is of critical importance, and heads of department and other managers have a legal obligation to provide key health and safety information and training early on in the induction process. The University, as employer, is required by law to ensure this happens by monitoring health and safety induction practices in all areas. To facilitate this, departments, sections and other units must use the Departmental Safety Checklist for New Staff in Appendix 2 as the basis for their inductions. Signed copies of the completed list should be retained by the Department and will be monitored by the Safety Office as part of the regular Departmental Safety Audit.
Formal induction practices are important but do not meet all the needs of new entrants. The best sources of information on those needs are the individuals themselves, and it is important that departmental heads and managers provide opportunities for informal progress meetings during the initial induction period. Nor do formal procedures effectively convey the subtleties of the culture of a particular department and the unwritten (and sometimes unstated) practices. Such information is often best acquired informally, over time, through discussion with managers and colleagues and in work practice. Mentoring or 'buddying' systems using the knowledge of experienced colleagues are particularly helpful. For new academic staff in their probationary period access to a mentor is already a standard practice, and its extension on an informal basis to all new staff would help them adapt to the department.
4. Devising Departmental Induction: key questions to consider.
- Where does the department/section/unit fit into Lancaster University?
- How is the department organised?
- How does the job/role fit into the department's structure?
- What are the key Health and Safety requirements?
- What are the key administrative procedures the new entrant will work with?
- What are the probationary arrangements?
- How will the induction be reviewed?
- Induction into new Departments & Sections
- Departmental Induction Checklist
- Safety Induction Checklist
- Induction - Welcome to Lancaster
- Information for New Staff - FAQs and Induction Handbook