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Stage 1 – Planning

“A standard induction to the local area is a fast way of showing someone how ‘completely unimportant they are’ to the organisation” - Stirzaker (2004)

One of the biggest takeaways from this website is that the induction of new staff is NOT a two-week period when the new staff arrive, we shall call that period of time the formal induction. 

This leaves far too much important information being assumed and learnt through osmosis with the staff member feeling like a number or an inconvenience.

If we want our new members of staff to feel valued, happy, and settled then their induction to their new school needs to start much earlier and continue way beyond these first two-weeks! 


First Impressions

Before you even think of putting an advert out to recruit new staff for next year, how much time have you spent on putting yourself in their shoes? What will they see? Consider the following:

– The look and ease of use of your website, this will likely be the first impression a new member of staff will judge you against other schools.

– Language and images on your website – do you have happy smiling staff and children? Do you actually have any photos of current children?

– Have you prepared HR and anybody who will contact the new members of staff on how to act?

– Do you have systems in place and ready for the applications? The worst impression you want to make is missing emails and deadlines making you look unorganised! 

Top 3 Reasons Teacher Leave International Schools:

 

  1. The desire for a new challenge
  2. Poor Leadership
  3. Lack of Systems at their current school

Other reasons given:

Induction Planning

Initial thoughts...

Your induction programme: 

Start Now! – The planning of your induction of staff needs to begin before you advertise for job openings. 

Personalise – No one size fits all approach.

Meaningful – No information dumps.

Cost – Your induction does not need lots of money.

End – Your induction will end when your member of staff is fully integrated into your school and country.

Family – Remember you are not just inducting the teacher, your are inducting his/her whole family.

Induction Team

Your first step is to set up your induction team. You are looking for:

– A leader who is able to make decisions on behalf of the school (usually a member of the senior leadership team).

– Staff from each section of your school.

– Staff with a range of homelives (e.g. single, couple, children etc).

– Try not have more than six or seven people on the team.

– You need to keep human resources and finance updated.

You can now begin to fill this induction plan out and have your first meeting. There are a number of suggestions on the document for your first few meetings.

Your next step is to involve your current staff. 

Find out what they believe are your school’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats when new staff arrive. 

They will have an abundance of experience and knowledge that you can use when putting your plan together. 

Expectations of Staff

Senior Management – Commitment to the induction programme and the settling in of new staff. To set the tone of communication and culture of the school. To be consistent and transparent in all messages.

Head of Departments/Year – Monitor the new inductees, check in to see how they are settling and speak with the induction team if there is any requirement.

Buddy/Mentor – To be available to the new member of staff and their family. Consider if they should have a similar family set-up, social-life, age etc. This may not be that important where you work!

All other teachers – To live the school message; to be open and welcoming while being as positive as possible. The last thing a new member of staff needs is a colleague moaning about the school or where they live. 

Administration/HR – Be open, transparent and friendly to the new staff. They will likely be the first humans the new member of staff has spoken with. (Note – during my survey one respondent informed me that “HR wrote and asked me to stop asking questions!”)

The New Teachers – To demonstrate a Growth Mindset, to understand that ‘things are not like your old school’ because you chose to leave there and enter a new school with different values and systems. A positive attitude, trust in the school and if after fully understanding the systems and culture (usually 3-6 months) before critiquing and judging.   

Human Resources

“HR wrote to me informing me that I should stop asking questions!”

This is not the type of first impression you want from your staff. However, this may not be HR’s fault. Have you briefed HR on the induction process, the timeline, how you want HR to respond, who they should direct questions to etc? It is imperative that the school management, recruitment team and Human Resources (HR) work together seamlessly in the recruitment of staff. One of the biggest complaint in all the people we spoke to was HR! 

Once the euphoria of getting a new job has settled the reality hits home that they move is now happening and for many, if not most people, this is a really scary feeling. 

Do not forget that many new staff will not have visited your school, or even the city or country where you are based. Therefore, it is crucial that HR, who will deal with much of the staffs on-boarding, are warm, accommodating and empathetic to the new arrivals emotions. 

You must ensure that your HR team is effectively run, are truthful and knowledgeable about your school and do whatever they can to support your new hires. 

Whole Family Induction

The importance of this point deserves its own section here. 

Imagine you have a great induction for the new teacher, they are contributing well, are extremely effective in the classroom and everybody speaks highly of them. Two months in they come to your office and tell you that they have made the decision to leave. 

The reason is that their family are incredibly unhappy, they have not settled and they need to go back home! 

This is not a situation you want to be in!

Please ensure that your induction programme is not just for the employed member of staff. You are inducting their whole family or your not inducting them at all! 

Website

One fast way to show prospective staff that you value them, you appreciate what a difficult choice it is to make, and how you want to assist is having a section on your website for new staff. 

See Videos (in Stage 3) on the type of video you could add here. 

Sections of this part of the website could be password protected dedicated to new-hires as a sort of to-do list, timeline to arrival, FAQs, information about housing with contact details etc. You may wish to leave this open to all that view your website.

Mid-Year Inductions

It is important to note that what you put in place for staff arriving at the ‘usual’ start of the year, you need to ensure, even more-so, the staff who arrive mid-year.  

These members of your staff have much less time for induction and are playing catch-up with their peers. 

Ensure, as a team, you have considered what and how you will induct members of staff who join mid-year. 

Stirzaker, R., 2004. Staff Induction: Issues Surrounding Induction into International Schools. Journal of research in International Education, 3, pp.31-49.