New and less experienced staff enters project-oriented organizations all the time.  Managers need to cope with scope, timelines, budgets, and quality.  Time is precious and scarce.

How can a manager induct new staff and make sure they become productive as soon as possible while having fun?  Below I outline a five-step process I would like to propose.

Make the workplace more fun and interesting

- Use warm-up and ice breaker games in the morning

- Get people excited about a topic of interest – new product ideas, shorter procedures, promotion opportunities spring to mind…

- Propose a competition about a non-work related topic (avoid politics and inappropriate topics, though – this may land you in trouble…)

Use collaboration and knowledge management tools

- Tools can help with inducting new staff in the organization since the previous knowledge and experiences have been neatly organized.

- This helps staff learn from the previous experience much faster. New staff can become much more productive in the early stages. My experience shows the learning curve is at least 30% shorter for new sales people.

Use collaboration tools

Provide more support in the induction stage

- Managers and more experienced staff can consider supporting new staff more in the initial period. Although this may help lose some productivity initially, it pays for itself in the mid-term.

- Support needs to come from multiple places. For example, functional corporate departments such as Legal or Human Resources Management can also help greatly make staff feel right at home.

Develop a mentor program

- The senior staff looks for opportunities to show the new people “the ropes”. It allows staff to learn the right things at the right time. It may also serve as an opportunity to show if some staff have management or leadership potential.

- Mentor programs lead to increased collaboration, which in turn positively influence both senior and junior staff.

Initiate a special joint project for new and more experienced staff

- These are great – just make sure you make the goals achievable. The first projects need to be short, so staff can achieve them quickly.

- Plan for “early wins” – you want people to be energized around good results!!!

What do you think? I am convinced that even if you do just one of these steps, things will be easier in the office.