EMPTY YOUR CUP
THE ART OF INDUCTION TRAINING
Tips for the Induction Trainer
I have participated in, designed and conducted all types of training programmes - formal, informal, programmed instruction, cognitive, affective, simulation, tailor-made, on-the-job (OJT), even peripatetic training, but the one that I found most rewarding and satisfying was Induction Training. My induction trainees too feel the same way. So here are some musings on the Art of Induction Training.
EMPTY YOUR "CUP"
The first thing I tell a fresh batch of induction trainess is this famous Zen Story – EMPTY YOUR CUP
The Japanese master Nan-in gave audience to a professor of philosophy. Serving tea, Nan-in filled his visitor's cup, and kept pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could restrain himself no longer: "Stop! The cup is over full, no more will go in." Nan-in said: "Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
The aim of induction training is to facilitate seamless integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual values and organizational values.
Good induction training will make it easy for the new employee to seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of the organization, and also for the organization to smoothly absorb the new employee within its fold.
FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS OF INDUCTION TRAINING
Are you a dog lover? Do you have a pet dog? Have you ever trained dogs?
If your answer is YES, then I am sure you know key to Induction Training…!
Just as you welcome a new dog into your home, help him adapt, acclimatize, socialize, feel comfortable, settle in and integrate into your family, in the same way, induction training comprises acclimatizing new employees into the organization with the objective of integrating individuals into an effective whole.
While a puppy dog usually settles in very quickly and adapts to the new environment quite easily, an adult dog often takes longer to acclimatize and may experience adjustment problems.
Similarly there is a difference between the attitudes of “freshers” recruited directly from college campuses and lateral inductees at senior levels who already have work experience in other organizations and may have to “unlearn” some of their earlier ways before learning the new. Both categories must "empty their cups" - the freshers must realise that they are no longer students and those with work experience must try anf unfreeze some of their attitudes formed in earlier organizations.
There are two facets to training dogs – obedience training and behavioural training – one pertaining to logical “left half” of the brain and the other facet relating to the intuitive “right half” of the brain.
Similarly induction training too has two aspects:
- The “hard” left-brain domain specific training with the objective of identifying and eliminating knowledge and skill gaps by inculcating in the trainee the required domain specific knowledge and specialized skill sets and proficiencies to make good gaps in domain knowledge and cover up specialized skill deficiencies in order to bridge the knowledge, skill and performance gaps to enable the inductee to fit into his role and efficiently perform his designated tasks in the organization, and
- The “soft” right-brain value based training to facilitate seamless integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual values and organizational values by reducing value mismatches and encouraging value congruencies.
To put it succinctly, the aim of induction training is to add value to the trainee in order to enable the trainee to add value to the organization.
As regards the “hard” part of induction training is concerned, it can be designed using structured training design methodology incorporating need analysis, requirements formulation approach and implemented and evaluated systematically.
Like I drew the analogy with dog training, this “hard” aspect of induction training is akin to formal obedience training for dogs. Now you will train the dog depending on the role you intend for the dog – guard dog, watch dog, guide dog, sniffer dog, detection dog, police dog, search and rescue dog, working dog, shepherd ( livestock guardian ) dog, family dog, companion, therapy dog, lap dog etc – and you can clearly assess the trainee and evaluate the efficacy of the training. This "hard" aspect of training may entail quantitative training evaluation metrics to assess and qualify the trainees and also get an idea of the efficacy of training and the trainers.
Of course, you must remember that no two dogs are the same and there are breed-specific traits too…!
The objective of the “soft” aspect of induction training is to facilitate seamless integration of newly inducted employees into an organization by achieving harmony and a sense of alignment between individual values and organizational values.
INDUCTION TRAINING PEDAGOGY
Learning comprises two pedagogic processes:
Getting knowledge that is inside to move out,
Getting knowledge that is outside to move in.
Thus the approach to induction training must be two pronged:
Encourage and mentor the trainees to look inwards, introspect, ruminate and discover their own personal values [inside -- out]
Clearly acquaint, apprise, educate, edify and enlighten the trainees about organizational values [outside -- in] and try to inculcate organizational values in the new inductees.
This will enable the trainer and trainees to identify the degree of value congruence (harmony) and value dissonance (mismatches) between individual and organizational values and then by suitably employing techniques like Force Field Analysis or Soft Systems Methodology we can mutually achieve strengthening of value congruencies whilst mitigating value dissonance thereby enabling harmonious induction of the new employee into the organization.
Thus, induction training will make it easy for the new employee to seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of the organization.
ORGANIZATIONAL VALUES and CORPORATE CULTURE
Organizational Values may be categorized into:
1. Stated Values
2. Visible Values
3. Invisible Values
Stated Organizational Values can be ascertained by studying various documents, HR, Quality and Operating Procedures, service rules and regulations, vision and mission statements pertaining to the organization.
For example, Organizational Ethical Values will be enshrined in the Code of Conduct.
If the organization values punctuality there will exist laid down penalties for late-coming and absenteeism and, maybe, certain positive incentives for regularity in attendance and timely completion of work. What constitutes misconduct and proper workplace demeanour will be clearly stated where discipline is valued.
Visible Organizational Values are evident from visible manifestations like Dress Code (Formal, Informal, Functional, Uniform), Titles and Job Descriptions, Organizational Structure (Flat versus Hierarchical), Work Culture (traditional, line-staff, bureaucratic, functional, process, time-based, network, matrix, scientific temper, family), Salary, Perks and Compensation Structure, Workplace Environment (interpersonal relationships, feedback, grievance redressal mechanism and its implementation, gender sensitivity, encouraging environment for innovation, creativity and feedback, and a positive happy friendly workplace atmosphere).
Invisible Organizational Values can be sensed as “vibes” and can be derived from intangibles like morale, undercurrents, office politics, private conversations, an atmosphere of intrigue, secrecy and rumours, an air of complacency, attitudinal issues, or even positive manifestations like “feel good factor”.
It is important for the induction trainee to explore all three manifestations of organizational values – Stated, Visible and Invisible Values – and discover congruencies and mismatches.
For example, a Stated Organizational Value may be “People are our most important asset” but Visible and Invisible indicators may reveal a different inference …
INDIVIDUAL or PERSONAL VALUES
Personal Values comprise:
1. Instrumental Values, and
2. Terminal Values
Instrumental Values are core values, permanent in nature, comprise personal characteristics and character traits.
Instrumental Values refer to preferable modes of behaviour and include values like honesty, sincerity, ambition, independence, obedience, imaginativeness, courageousness, competitiveness, and also some negative traits too.
Instrumental Values are difficult to change.
Terminal Values are those things that we tend to work towards or we think are most important and we feel are most desirable – terminal values are desirable states of existence.
Terminal Values include things like happiness, self respect, family security, recognition, freedom, inner harmony, comfortable life, professional excellence, etc.
Unlike Instrumental Values, which a permanent in nature, Terminal Values are amenable to change and it is here that both the induction trainer and trainee must focus in order to derive optimal benefit for both the employee and the organization.
In a nutshell, Terminal Values signify the objectives of the life of a person – the ultimate things the person wants to achieve through his or her behaviour ( the destination he wants to reach in life ) whereas Instrumental Values indicate the methods an individual would like to adopt for achieving his life’s aim (the path he would like to take to reach his destination).
VALUE BASED INDUCTION TRAINING
The aim of induction training is to create an alignment between personal values and organizational values.
As an induction trainer you cannot "set" organizational values, you can only help the trainees discover them.
Also you cannot "install" new core instrumental values into people – but you can surely through proper induction training instil desirable terminal values in the trainees.
Creating alignment is a two-part process:
The first is identifying and correcting misalignments,
The second is creating new alignments.
The aim of value based induction training is to reinforce mutually desirable instrumental values and instil appropriate terminal values to strengthen the harmony between individual and organizational values in order to facilitate seamless integration of the new employee into the organization.
Induction training will also help the trainee and the trainer identify rare cases where there exists an irreconcilable disconnect between organizational values and personal instrumental values, which cannot be resolved, and in such cases help facilitate amicable exit of the trainee from the organization at the earliest stage, well before the trainee begins his career in the new organization as this will be mutually beneficial and in the interest of both the organization and the trainee.
To sum up, induction training makes it easy for new employees to seamlessly blend into the corporate culture of an organization, and also facilitates the organization to smoothly and harmoniously absorb new employees within its fold.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU and The Lawrence School Lovedale, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book "Appetite for a Stroll". Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog: http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com
Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve: http://karvediat.blogspot.com
Professional Profile of Vikram Karve: http://www.linkedin.com/in/karve