An effective induction is vital. It can make the difference between new employees settling in quickly or leaving the business. Especially when they’re 16 to 24 years old and starting their first career role.
“The early careers induction is hugely important to us,” said the car manufacturer’sLearning and Development Manager. “Our culture is completely unfamiliar territory for these young people. They’re nervous about who they’re going to meet and what they’re going to do. It’s incredibly daunting. So, we must help them bond with their peers quickly, build confidence, and feel comfortable.”
During the pandemic, the car manufacturer paused its early years recruitment programme. Furlough, followed by remote working, meant its environment couldn’t support those taking their first steps into work.
The first post-Covid programme took place in September 2022. Since then, a reshaped leadership team released a new set of core values.
The L&D Manager reflected on how this affected their approach to the 2023 programme.
“Taking on feedback from 2022, we decided to focus the first week of the 2023 induction on breaking down barriers, building confidence, and having fun together.
We carried out two types of training in 2022 – sessions from Improv4Business and a sit-down approach. Given the age range of early years we felt the Improv method was better.
It was also important for us to weave our new values into our 2023 training materials,” they said.
Having worked with Improv4Business since 2017, the L&D Manager felt confident Alex would know how to refresh the induction programme for an 80-strong 2023 cohort and meet their new requirements.
“When I sent the new values over to Alex and asked: “Can we embed these into the training?”, he said: “Yes, no problem”. Our relationship is very collaborative, and he welcomes feedback. Together, we refreshed the training sessions for Improv’s three days. This included a new activity based specifically on our values,” they said.
“It’s important to make people feel comfortable when they’re learning. Because if they’re worried, they won’t take the information in. And a group of 80 young people is certainly challenging. That’s why we use Alex,” said the L&D Manager.
“He delivers something they all remember. We’ve seen how effective it is to get them laughing and having a good time together. As Alex delivers the sessions in such a different way, they don’t realise they’re developing communication and presentation skills at the same time,” they added.
For the first activities, Alex encouraged introductions to break the ice. But it wasn’t the traditional “Hi, my name is…” format. Instead, Alex had everyone communicating with hand movements and eye coordination, changing partner every five minutes. It was deliberately fun and lively.
Further small group exercises, such as developing ideas for a prototype, encouraged team work and bonding.
“It was a creative range of loud activities, which I’m sure the rest of the conference centre enjoyed! Given the variety of everyone’s new job roles, they were able to see others’ strengths. And they were practicing their presentation skills without even realising it,” said the L&D Manager.
Further Improv training sessions focused specifically on communicating the manufacturer’s new values. The group considered what each value looked like for them, and what it meant to them personally. It was another interactive and effective session for the young starters.
Not every aspect of an induction can be lively. So, the L&D Manager placed Alex’s sessions around important awareness sessions such as mental health and wellbeing.
“Having completed a more serious part of their induction, Alex would uplift the room again when he did something more interactive with them. It proved an effective hybrid model and I think that’s key to achieve,” they explained.
“Feedback was extremely positive. And since the induction, our early years are supporting each other in many ways. This wouldn’t have happened if they’d come in and watched a presentation about who the CEO is, then another about health and safety. Instead, we encouraged them to hang out and have breaks together between sessions where they didn’t have to talk about work.
The industrial placements have formed a breakfast club and arranged to meet every Friday. They would never have done that if they hadn’t spent those first weeks doing different activities together.
The graduates have set up their own forum too, as have the apprentices. And the 2022 cohort decided to do a little talk for the new ones.
It’s great. They’re all studying and working hard, and yet they’ve got other people in the same situation to bounce off. They can ask: “How are you coping?” or “Can you help me with this?
For early careers, you’ve got a perfect opportunity. You’re not expecting them to go in and deliver work straight away. So, the best thing is to give them a good step into the company and build that brand commitment,” they said.
The L&D Manager also says the bonds people make during their induction last for years: “We’ve got some graduates who are now senior managers within the business. They’re still reliant on and supporting those who joined us at a similar time.”
The L&D Manager is already excited about delivering the 2024 early careers induction. And they know Improv4Business is the right partner to help do it. They reflect on why this is.
“It’s such a trusting partnership. And it is a partnership. I feel like we’re working towards the same goals. We have the same idea about what we want to achieve for our early careers. As a supplier, Improv4Business embodies exactly what our business is trying to do. This makes it very easy to deliver something great.And it’s enjoyable for both sides.
Nothing is too much for Alex, and nothing ever phases him. Every single time - without fail -you would walk into the room and see smiles. People were always enjoying the time they had with him.
Alex told me he had a thoroughly good time, too. And the early careers said many of the positive things they took away from the week came from his sessions. So, that’s a winning formula to my mind,” they said.
Looking ahead to 2024, there’s work to be done.
“Some of the industrial placements we’ve had in may come back as graduates. So, that’s something to factor into our induction programme. We can’t give them the same activities.
Plus, the cohort can vary in size every year because we recruit on business requests. Our 2024 needs could look completely different.
Alex and I are both excited about developing this programme. There’s been huge recognition for its success across the business and throughout our LinkedIn community. That’s why we must keep delivering, taking on feedback, and making it relevant to each annual cohort. So, yes, I’m super excited for September 2024. It’s a fun journey and we’re nowhere near the end,” concluded the L&D Manager.
The following are just a handful of the clients we have had the honour of working with over the years.