As a young teenager, my mum would send me on my bike to buy tomatoes from a lady who sold fruit and veg she grew in her garden.
The produce would usually be set out on a stand to the side of the house with an honesty pot to put the money in. But sometimes the stand wasn’t there, and you had to
knock the door and 'actually talk' to the Tomato Lady.
The very thought of interacting with someone I didn't know, in an environment which wasn't clear, (no set price) to purchase something I didn't even bloody like, exerted way more stress on my 13-year-old brain then you’d think! (The Tomato Lady turned out to be very nice, but the situation still made me feel vastly uncomfortable!)
This uneasy feeling is not unique to purchasing tomatoes from random neighbourhood gardeners. You’ll find it in many situations, including Company Inductions. (Ah yes, there’s the link!)
How not to run inductions!
When I began my career in training, many moons ago, I ran a lot of first day induction sessions, and I’m rather embarrassed to say my experience with the Tomato Lady had buried itself away in my brain like a lot of my teenage antics!
I coerced my new starters to get to know each other better, even though they might not ever see each other again as it was a big company. I asked them to share irrelevant information about themselves in cringe worthy icebreakers, and in hind-sight I probably made many of them feel uncomfortable!
This approach is simply no longer acceptable and one size does not fit all!
3 Things the Tomato Lady Taught me about Company Inductions
As my journey in L&D progressed I came to realise that the Tomato Lady had a lot to offer when it came to interactions. So, here are just 3 things that she taught me about how to help new starters feel more comfortable on their first day.
1. Let them know what to expect
(When you don’t know what you’re turning up to, veg stall or no veg stall, this can make people nervous.) Make sure your new starters have at least the following info:
2. Help people start genuine conversations
(Had my mum taken me on previous trips and introduce me to the Tomato Lady I may not have been so concerned.)
3. Give them ‘enough’ information
(What do I do if there’s no veg on the stand? How much should I be paying for sodding tomatoes anyway?)
When you get inductions right it means new starters will; feel more comfortable, listen more readily and learn more quickly… and there doesn’t need to be a tomato in sight!
If you’re looking to design or revamp your company induction, and could do with a fresh pair of ‘experienced’ eyes to help consult on it, drop me a line at: Nikie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning doesn't just happen in a training session. It happens all around us! Follow my ramblings and continue to see the world in a different light!