Yesterday I facilitated a design workshop for an induction program.  The group I worked with are learning coordinators in Supply Chain at a beverages manufacturer.  Each participant works at a different production or distribution site.  Every site currently has it’s own approach to induction of new operators.  Some of the coordinators recently started updating their induction program and materials, but were working on this independently for their individual sites.  An opportunity was identified to develop a common program, and I was asked to facilitate a workshop to kickstart the design process.

I asked the manager who engaged me what induction meant in the organisation, what was in scope of the Supply Chain induction program, and how it integrated with others aspects of the on-boarding process.  As this was unclear one of the workshop objectives was to clarify what elements the on-boarding program the coordinators were responsible to design and deliver.

I was hoping to find an article or resource on the internet that clearly defined on-boarding, induction and orientation, and the relationship between them.  I found a fairly common view about on-boarding, but substantial variation in what constituted induction and orientation.  Rather than spend a lot of time explaining the terminology in words I created the diagram below to present on-boarding as a process spanning many weeks or months consisting of a series of steps and components including induction and orientation activities.  Not all components in the diagram are included in on-boarding by all organisations.  In particular, the development of role specific foundation skills is often separate to on-boarding.


After presenting the diagram I walked through examples of on-boarding programs and activities from a range of organisations.  This illustrated what the potential components consisted of and how different organisations integrate them.

The group was then able to refer to the diagram to define which components were currently part of on-boarding in their organisation, what else should be in place, and which they were responsible to develop and/or deliver.  It also helped them to identify what components needed to be well integrated to create a coherent end-to-end on-boarding process for new starters.

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