GeneralHr Library

Induction – To Conform or To Perform?

Source | LinkedIn : By Ramesh Srinivasan

I was called in to address a group of 40 inductees, who were to join the workforce in a week’s time. This was the last day of a 6-week programme, and the participants were tired and brain-dead. These were going to “hit the ground running” in a week’s time? Looked unlikely.

The meaning of the word Induction goes four ways.

i.        Install in office

ii.        General inference from particular instances

iii.        Production of electric or magnetic state in body by its being near (not touching) electrified or magnetic body

iv.        In Internal Combustion engines, part of the piston’s action which draws gas from the carburetor.

Only the best managers/leaders or employees who are shining examples of the company’s cultures and beliefs are the carburetors, or the electrified/magnetized bodies.

They must be the only ones to address the new employees. This way, the new entrants get to see the best showcased, while also giving them an opportunity to bond with the best. However, it is not always the best who talk to new employees; it is the one who is available on that day.

Induction by association (Point ii above) is as noble and is best done by giving them the company lore – the hits and misses, the greats among the present and past employees, all that is good and bad, all that went well, and all that didn’t and what the company as a whole is currently excited and agog about. Leave it to the participants to take these disparate stories, and draw their own inferences about what the company is all about.

We need to use our new employees, who come with experience elsewhere, to change ourselves. We miss the opportunity of checking out the opinions of fresh, new pairs of eyes that may look at our worshipful workplace as a disorganized dump yard. They may want to change things for the better here – provided we ask them, and give them a chance to do so.

The word induction reeks of arrogance – “let me induct you into our ways of doing things around here.” We are worried that they may not comply with our conditions or conform to our ways of working, or that they may come and disrupt things. That is our real definition of their not “fitting” in. Is induction a way of softening them? Heed Nietzsche’s warning: “The surest way to corrupt (is to) hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.”

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