Thoughts on induction – reflecting and preparing 1

Last week I travelled to Brighton for a meeting with Andy (@andy_costello), Lars (@larshyland), Andrew (@mrdownes) and Elly (@ellaguru78) at Epic.

The purpose of my meeting was to talk about what I wanted to achieve in the next 6-9 months. Aside from all the other stuff I need to do, I have two real focuses in the next 6-9 months, and those are statutory and mandatory training and Induction. I really think that technology could help benefit those two areas – and I’m desperate to see it happen. I’m sure I’ll talk about the stat and mand on another post some time, but for this post I want to focus on Induction.

During our talk, we talked through the various aspects of Induction (particularly because I’m attending the Learning Now: Induction strategies that work event this week that Epic are running with Towards Maturity. The conversation was really interesting as it focused on what we are currently doing with Induction at UHS – and some of the good examples of Induction.

At UHS we have a number of Induction programmes:

  • Trust Induction (targeted at 80% of the organisation) – 1/2 day of classroom lectures and 1/2 day of stat and mand e-learning
  • Doctors Induction (targeted at the Doctors) – 1/2 day of classroom lectures and 1/2 day of IT System training – stat and mand e-learning is done before/after this day
  • HCA Induction (targeted at the new Health Care Assistants) – a multi-day event which combines a mix of new skills and stat and mand classroom training with some stat and mand e-learning
  • NQN & TP Inductions (for the newly qualified nurses and theatre practitioners) – a week long programme of events focused to cover stat and mand requirements and practical skills required

I don’t know how clearly it stands out just from reading it – but we spend a lot of time talking at our new starters about all the statutory and mandatory requirements – and often that’s after they’ve sat through an e-learning course which covers all the theory around the same subject.

It’s been five years since I joined UHS, but I still remember my Induction day vividly. I was greeted at the door by the facilitator of the day (who I knew as she had been on my interview panel) – as a group we were given a welcome before being shown a video of the Chief Executive. This was then followed by three hours of being talked at about a variety of unenlightening subjects – with the only real stopping point being when we had to go and wash our hands before having them tested under a UV light (to prove how good our hand washing was). After an hour for lunch, we were then moved to a PC room where I was sat down with a paper checklist of the e-learning modules I should complete (and for every one I completed, a certificate printed, which the facilitator who was sat at the front of the room brought over to me).

I got lucky on that day – having spent years of designing e-learning – I knew how to get a pass quickly – so at least my afternoon session was shortened and I finished quickly. Others sat there for hours!

So why is it like that? At UHS we have some of the most warm and friendly people you could ever meet (within our Management & Interpersonal Skills team – they are a lovely warm bunch) – but they don’t get a chance to show that enough as we’re too busy talking about fraud and infection control. Surely Induction shouldn’t be about that – it should be about welcoming these new staff into the organisation….

So….where’s all this going?

Well today I was asked to run a session on the Newly Qualified Nurses Induction about the technology in education (the VLE etc). As nice as this was, I was filling the last slot on a long day (they started at 8am, and I was due to cover the 4pm slot – 8 hours after people first started talking to/at them). So I decided to do something different. I made a deal with them. I told them that if they did something for me (send a text message about what they thought of their day) – then I would make sure I finished early. In a room of 95 people, I then received 72 messages (texts or tweets). The output from this is in Wordle form below:


Now given that it is such a long day, it’s no surprise to me to see words like ‘tiring’, ‘long’, ‘repetitive’ and ‘boring’ appear – however they are far smaller (as used less) than words like ‘informative’, ‘good’, ‘interesting’ and ‘useful’. So clearly we’ve come a long way from just talking at people – but there’s still room to improve (as the “negative” words indicate). However the most insightful thing I saw about the whole day was a tweet which followed the session:

This tweet really struck a chord with me as it sums up everything I feel about Induction. It highlights the gap which Induction programmes so frequently have – in that we spend so long focusing on the box-ticking, that we forget to welcome the people – and make them feel welcome and part of the team.

Induction isn’t an area which I directly control – but I want to ensure that I make as many tools available to help the process. Whether that be tools to make the “box ticking” go away, or tools to help the new starters feel part of the team – we need to do our bit.

As I said earlier, I’m lucky to form part of a team with some great people – and they’re a lot more warm, friendly and welcoming than me – but I really feel that they don’t get the chance to be warm and welcoming to the people that need it – because they’re too busy talking about the other things. This doesn’t happen in the private sector – so it shouldn’t happen in the public sector. OK – the scale is often different, but the process is the same. People don’t stay in a job “for life” any more – but if we make them feel welcome – they’ll enjoy working as part of the team just that little bit more……well that’s my thoughts anyway!

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