Using digital multimedia to induct new employees

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Heather Devany, Director, TalkScience Limited, looks at how technology can help create a consistent, cost-effective solution for organisation induction programmes.

Digital production methods offer a cost-effective way to capitalise on the opportunity highly motivated, positive new recruits offer your organisation.

While most organisations already have induction documents and procedures in place, an increasing number are realising that by using mixed digital media, as part of a blended learning approach, they can create a more effective and structured induction programme; realising multimedia's potential to maximise the return on employment investment.

First impressions are key

A Begbies Traynor employment survey, "Get off to a Good Start", published in February this year, found that the treatment of new starters resulted in over a quarter leaving their companies within a month of starting. The same survey determined that almost half received no training on their new role during their first week of working.

Producing a professional multimedia-based programme illustrates that your organisation cares about all its new staff and has made serious preparations for their arrival.

With digital recording, you can make sure of the tone, content and timeliness of your introductory training. You don't have to wait until someone's free to carry out a full induction, and, as well as being available from minute one on day one (or even beforehand), a digital introduction ensures nothing's missed out; vital with induction becoming an increasingly legislated part of the recruitment and employment process.

Savings offset initial costs

The outlay in producing a multimedia induction package is offset by the savings made from having a consistent and thoughtful programme that reduces the need for lengthy one-to-one induction sessions for every new or temporary employee.

More and more multi-national corporations are recognising that they can save millions of pounds in reduced training induction costs through the development of harmonising and consistent global multimedia induction programmes. The same significant scaled savings can now be made by small and medium enterprises.

Comprehensive planning ensures the biggest benefit

To ensure your organisation, and your new recruits, get the most possible out of your investment in a multimedia-based induction programme, it's important to discuss and determine some essentials with your production company before work on the project begins.

  • What are the aims, objectives and scope of the finished production? You want to capitalise on the opportunities presented by keen new colleagues; helping them familiarise themselves with your organisation and quickly become valuable, confident members of your team.

  • What aspects of your organisation's culture would you like to highlight? Your induction package should be as attractive and motivating as possible, without being misleading.

  • What processes, systems or procedures would you like included? Bear in mind that you're aiming for a balanced and comprehensive production.

  • Do you have software you'd like featured in the induction pack? On-screen use of computer software can be captured and incorporated into your final pack; training with legacy systems can be standardised and benchmarked.

  • Do you have a deadline to meet? You may have high seasonal recruitment requirements, or wish to incorporate the finished production into a career event presentation. Work out a timetable with your production company, taking into account key personnel's availability.

  • How suitable is your existing induction material for incorporation within a multimedia package? Much may be in electronic format; easily worked into the final production.

  • Take this opportunity to clarify responsibilities. Be certain there is a clear demarcation between what you, and your colleagues within your organisation, will supply and what you expect from the production company.

  • Do you want a general corporate or team-specific induction? Using digital media, both can be easily produced together.

  • Your corporate style and design standards will be echoed in the production. Review your "house style" documents for multimedia use.

  • Which of your colleagues are willing and keen to appear in any video footage? Don't assume that everyone wants to be a film star!
  • Consider distribution before production begins

    Considering distribution at this pre-production stage will ensure you end up with an effective, functional programme which can integrate seamlessly with existing material on your intranet or network, should you wish it to.

    You may want to distribute the final induction programme:

  • via your corporate intranet;
  • on a secure, employees-only area of your web site;
  • on CD, or VHS, for internal distribution;
  • in excerpt form, on CD, or VHS, for distribution to external recruitment consultants or for use at recruitment events; or
  • to your international offices. If so, will you require voice-overs in languages other than English, and will computer software training portions need recording showing on-screen languages other than English too?
  • Clarity is paramount

    Before proceeding any further, your production company should produce an agreement, summarising your discussions; confirming the scope, content, timetable, shoot location, resources and participants required for the project. Be certain you understand exactly what's included in any costings, and what will incur additional charges. Necessary 'extras', like music with its associated licence fee, can quickly add up.

    Lights, camera, induction!

    Now your production company can move ahead with your project. Depending upon the division of responsibility, they will show you a video or mixed media storyboard and a provisional script. Once approved, the production company can then proceed to finalising the script and compiling a shot list. Following a discrete on-site shoot, the production company will edit the video material together with any other required media. Your production will then be encoded and saved on your chosen media, or prepared for upload to your intranet or secure web site area.

    The flexible beauty of digital media

    As time passes, business processes, procedures, systems and organisations evolve. The flexibility of digital production means it's easy to update your induction programme to reflect changes within your organisation.

    In summary

    Digital video and multimedia is now an affordable option for training new recruits. With planning, you can use these effective, efficient tools to help you create a consistent and thoughtful induction programme, promoting new employee retention and ensuring that every single starter receives an immediate, comprehensive and welcoming introduction to your organisation.

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