Innovative Induction

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Publication: The Economic Times Mumbai;Date: Jul 6, 2012;Section: Career & Business;Page: 8
Innovative Inductions
India Inc is bringing into play theatre workshops, ice-breaking sessions,
quizzes, multicultural exposure, treasure hunt exercises and knowledgesharing
sessions with domain experts, to make its brand new employees
learn the ropes
Aditi Gupta is a new joinee in the marketing function at Yes Bank. Few weeks back, at the time of joining her new job, she expected
heavily-jargoned sessions from various business heads as part of her induction. To her surprise, she was greeted with drum-beating sessions
and a treasure hunt. “The fun and informative ways of learning about the bank were amazing. While the Drum Café proved a stress buster for
many like me, other activities ensured there was high level of engagement from all,” Gupta says. More and more companies are putting in
place innovative methods to induct new joinees. It is about theatre workshops, bonding over social networks, lessons in team building, icebreaking
sessions in the form of quizzes and informal interactions; induction of trainees at regional and global level for multicultural exposure;
and knowledge-sharing sessions with domain experts. Says Rajiv Krishnan, Market Business Leader, Mercer’s Human Capital Services, “The
transition from academics to workplace is a big leap. Often at the time of induction, team work is emphasised as this would be the first time
that many of the new recruits—especially those from engineering colleges —will work in teams as opposed to individual work earlier.” The new
joinees are also exposed to the right form of corporate behaviour and therefore these programmes are skillfully designed and intensive. In
sectors like the IT, where time-to-productivity is measured for a new recruit resourceful, a good induction and training can help reduce the time
lag, says Krishnan.
Learning is Fun
So this year, while inducting a batch of 173 B-school graduates, Yes Bank decided to add experiential learning through various activities,
rather than merely focusing on PPTs and lectures on organisational culture, etiquettes and opportunities. The bank called it Yes Premier
League. On Drum Café, the Bank’s president (Human Capital Management) Deodutta Kurane says the exercise, although may seem fun, was
to develop a sense of belonging among the new joinees and towards the organisation. In another fun initiative Y-Treasure Hunt, the entire
batch was divided into 20 groups and a contest was held. All the teams were sent to various Yes Bank branches in Mumbai. The idea was to
make them understand about the bank and its functions. Each time they found a new clue they could move on to the next step. For instance,
once at the branch, they would find clues to get a pitch, which would lead them to potential customers in that area. The team that got
maximum leads won the contest. “When you put people through experiential learning , they tend to learn and absorb more and faster,” Kurane
Bonding Over Theatre
At NTPC, induction is serious business. The one-year programme takes them through six months each of classroom and on-the-job training
with several initiatives to make them bond together such as two-week theatre workshop by the National School of Drama. “It’s a lot of learning
and a lot of fun as well for those who are keen to learn new things,” says S P Singh, HR director, NTPC. For the first six months, they get
trained in a classroom for technical exposure followed by an exchange training at the equipment manufacturers plant for a month. Inductees
also go through rotation to understand the various departments. However, this shouldn’t make you think NTPC is all about serious work. “We
do a lot of fun things such as NSD theatre workshops, cultural programmes and dinners hosted by the CMD,” says A C Chaturvedi, executive
director, Power Management Institute. GETs, or graduate engineer trainees as they are called, participate in workshops and stage dramas on
various issues. This works as an ice breaker. “They come from different parts of the country; it helps them open up,” he adds. The company is
inducting 470 GETs this year. As a new initiative, the company launched a page on the Facebook last year.
Go Global
This year, at Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG) India office, some 80 new joinees, MBAs from IIMs, ISB and graduates from IITs and other
institutes, will go through a layered induction programme. It spans the local induction which first takes care of their logistics and other basics
followed by 1-3 months of on-the-job training with a live case study. BCG conducts a workshop for three days for the new joinees where the
partners encourage new joinees to ask questions on various things such as work planning, slide writing, using excel sheets, story-lining, and
creating a presentation. “It might seem simple and basic but you realise it’s extremely handy when you start working,” says Parul Bajaj, 25,
consultant who joined the company two years ago. The last leg of the programme is conducted with a gap of 3-4 months called the regional
orientation programme that gets together new joinees in a country from different parts of the continent to interact with each other over a project
and various informal dinners. “We have 5-6 standardised projects, a set of case studies on which they work. We keep on evolving them. This
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makes the programme uniform at our offices in 80 countries,” says Ashish Garg, partner and director, BCG. “The one-week training is a fun
thing as the case studies are quite recent. You get to learn a lot. Also, you have the opportunity to know your colleagues from different parts
of the world, it’s a great add-on. It not only helps professionally, but personally as well because you get to make friends,” says Bajaj who had
her regional induction at Kuala Lumpur.
Walking the Talk
In July last year, NIIT launched a new programme – JumpStart @ NIIT. The objective was to make sure every new joinee goes through the
same induction process across the country. “Our induction programmes were de-centralised earlier. We wanted to ensure that a standardised
and centralised format is followed across NIIT,” says Shampi Venkatesh, chief people officer at NIIT. Manu Ashok, who joined NIIT in March
this year as product manager- design and individual learning solutions, has a favourite initiative called Baby’s Day Out. Within a month of
joining, the new NIITian had an informal chat with his senior manager, who explained Mobility Maps or his career path and growth in the
organisation. “It is both inspirational and aspirational to see that the company has a career path for you in place. If you do well, you know
exactly when you can reach the next level,” she adds. The company has made JumpStart more informative and interactive which was not the
case earlier. In Shampi’s words, the earlier Induction had a lot of presentations about the company, which resulted in ‘information overload’.
Now, there are ice-breaking sessions and videos along with interaction with the peers and seniors. “Now, we have a new structure, which
ensures candidates interact with senior leaders right from the beginning, understand the organisation and its functions more effectively and
more importantly, have a clear understanding of their own roles,” Venkatesh adds. Interaction is big at Mphasis too. At the Bangalore-based
ITeS firm, around 500 new employees will go through intensive training this year. One of the critical parts of the training is interactions with
domain experts and vertical heads, according to Usha Subramanian, VP and Head of Technical Domain and Learning at Mphasis. It’s a winwin
for all. Says NIIT’s Manu: “The ice-breaking sessions had some quizzes and interactions that allowed us to attain a comfort level with
peers and seniors. Asking queries was encouraged, which made one feel connected to the organisation from day one.” talking heads

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