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My colleague and I recently volunteered for a Value Makers project working to review and improve the NECS Finance Department Induction Process. As recent starters at NECS, we had experienced the current induction processes in different teams, and were able to bring forward our insights on how this could be improved to maximise the potential of new starters. During my own induction, I was introduced to the different organisations across NHS Finance and encouraged to become a FFF Value Maker. This was the first opportunity I had to really embrace the Value Maker role, and I was excited to use my own experiences to help new starters joining NECS to get settled in.
It was important to develop a standardised process which would be applicable to new starters at any stage of their career, and draw on our own experiences of starting with NECS and NHS Finance more broadly. Whilst we focused on helping new starters learn about NECS Finance, including our values and direction as an organisation, we also wanted to provide information about the broader context of NHS Finance.
After reviewing induction documentation across NECS and discussing our own experiences, we decided we wanted to bring together an ‘Induction Pack’ of resources and information which could be distributed via email in addition to being available online. We knew this would be especially valuable in a time of remote working, and could be utilised as the start to a 'virtual induction'. Transitioning into a new role or new team can be hard at the best of times, and, understandably, doing so virtually can cause additional uncertainty and difficulty. Whilst we wanted the pack to provide useful information, we were mindful of the tone and how the pack will be accompanying new starters throughout their first few months - we worked to make sure that the pack is a friendly and helpful guide to the organisation. We also signposted key contacts where we could, so that the social element is not lost!
One thing that was especially important for us to highlight was the roles of FFF, SDN, and HFMA. The introduction to these organisations was a really interesting part of our inductions and the start of our Value Maker roles. Additionally, one way in which NECS is pursuing the Towards Excellence Accreditation Level 2 is by integrating the FFF Behavioural Skills into our training and development process. We wanted to make sure that we discussed these in the induction alongside introducing NECS Values, to encourage new starters to think about how they work and how they can contribute to both NECS and NHS Finance. The focus on more personal aspects is an effective way to make them feel included in the organisation no matter their experience levels.
However, as we explored the resources offered by FFF on highlighting the role of behavioural skills in our personal development, for example, in 1:1s and Appraisals, it became clear that the Induction Process could offer much more value to NECS. If we view the Induction as the foundation of our employees’ career development pathway, it is clear that we can use the process to begin to maximise our training and development. Building a strong Training and Development culture is reliant on the fresh perspectives offered by new starters, and shaping their Induction process to ensure they are focused on the career ahead of them is integral. As such, we re-designed the Induction Pack to focus on the key career development opportunities new starters will have in NECS Finance, offering clear direction and guidance to help them get started on their journey. The pack now discusses features such as the 1:1 and Appraisals process, focusing on how the 1:1 should be prepared for, participated in, and recorded to build a strong portfolio for Appraisal, in order to make the most of the support offered by management through the NECS Personal Development Plans.
Re-conceptualising how the Induction process can work to maximise new starters’ career development has also been really useful for me. By reflecting on my own start in NECS, I was able to identify areas which I could have improved on a personal level, in addition to completing the work on the Induction Pack. This, and the opportunity to work with other Value Makers across NECS, has been extremely valuable, and I will take forward the lessons I have learned throughout my career.