Notes for the Line Manager

1. INTRODUCTION

Why do we need an Induction Plan ?

After spending time finding the right role for a new or existing volunteer, the first few months are crucial. Making sure that they are supported and can become effective in their role as quickly as possible is key to keeping them motivated and involved. If adults feel out of their depth, don’t know where to go for support and don’t know what is expected of them, they are more likely to leave.

A shared responsibility

Ensuring that an induction takes place for volunteers taking on new roles is the responsibility of their line manager. For those in Groups, this will be the Group Scout Leader (GSL). For District or County Appointments, the line manager will be specified in the role description.

In each case however; line managers may delegate the responsibility for planning the induction to someone else, and ultimately everyone around the adult will have to play a part in making them feel welcomed, part of a team and supported.

Inductions should involve

  • Providing information
  • Meeting people
  • Having a go

2. SHAPING THE INDUCTION PLAN

Every induction will be unique. Knowledge and experience of Scouting will differ from one person to the next, as will the existing set of skills, knowledge and experiences that they bring with them. Inductions therefore need to be tailored to the individual and to the role and / or tasks that they have agreed to take on.

Think back to when you started your role. What was it like to be new ? What support did you need ? The key to an effective induction is planning for it. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Who will they have most contact with ?
  • Who do they need to build effective relationships with ?
  • What local facilities (buildings and equipment) will they be using ?
  • What social (or other) events are coming up in the calendar ?
  • What meetings do they need to attend ?
  • Are they aware of the training they need to do and how they will do it ?
  • What should they be aiming to achieve in the first 3–6 months?
  • Do they have the skills and knowledge to achieve this ?

3. THE PLAN ITSELF 

An induction plan will take all of the things that you have just identified and define who will organise and support each of these induction activities, as when and where. This requires agreement between the person putting the plan together, the adult who is being inducted and anyone else involved in the activities.

The plan does not need to be lengthy or complicated, keep it simple to be effective.

The length of time covered by an induction plan will vary from person to person, but 3–6 months is a good rough guide. You can find an induction plan template by clicking on this LINK

Regular Support

Alongside the activities detailed in the induction plan, regular contact between the adult and their line manager is key during the first few months. Agree on how often meetings to check the progress of the induction will occur and highlight any issues that may arise. 

Also make sure that they know who they can contact, and how to contact them if they have any questions.

4. TEAM WORK

Induction is as much about making someone feel part of the team as it is about making sure they have the knowledge and skills to be effective in their role.

You might need to consider team dynamics as part of the induction process, asking yourself whether everyone in the team understands the new adult’s role and how it fits into what is already happening.

Buddies

Consider buddying new adults up with existing members of the team as an additional line of support.  A buddy can do simple things like bringing them to their first meeting so that they already know someone there, or supporting them in ‘having a go’ in their role.  These things help new adults to feel comfortable and supported, and therefore more confident.

5. INITIAL INFORMATION

It is important to supplement any verbal information that you may give with physical copies (either in paper or electronic format) so that a new volunteer can refer to them at a later date. It is not always easy to remember unfamiliar information on first hearing.

Checklist

The following is a handy checklist of things to consider (it is not exhaustive as the material will depend upon role and location).

  • How the Group (District, County as appropriate) is structured
  • How the Group fits in with District and County
  • Contact details of any volunteers they may need to get hold of
  • Dates, times and venues of meetings they need to attend
  • Getting logged into Compass and adding Emergency Contacts and Details.
  • Outline of the training requirements for their role.
  • Their role description (if agreed)
  • Provision of some key items (either physically or by electronic links (see below). The newly appointed adult will receive additional copies as part of their Getting Started training.

You may decide to supplement this with a local welcome pack providing the person with local, tailored information to inform them about their role and about Scouting in the local area. An induction pack template that can be used for Group and District roles can be found at  Induction information for managers.

6. AGREEING GOALS

When someone starts in a new role, they’ll want to know what is expected of them in the short, medium and long term. Agreeing goals will help someone new to focus on the most important tasks and will help to ensure that their time spent volunteering for Scouting makes the most positive impact possible.

Priorities

When setting goals, the following should be taken into account:

  • The Scout Association’s Vision to 2023
  • Any current local development plans – Group, District, County
  • The creation of a development plan
  • The needs in the area of Scouting that they are supporting
  • Their own motivations for volunteering

Agreeing Goals

When agreeing goals, remember to: 

  • establish together all of the things that you would like to see happen and then prioritise them in terms of importance and urgency.
  • be realistic about what can be achieved, agreeing only three or four goals to start      with – you can always agree more if they are achieved early.
  • be specific about what needs to be achieved and about how you will know when            it has been completed.
  • agree the goals together, making sure that the adult feels some ownership of them – they will be more likely to complete them.

7. TRAINING

Remember that the Adult Training Scheme is also there to support the induction process. Depending on the role that is being taken on, adults will probably need to complete a certain amount of training.

If a Wood Badge is required, an induction plan might also feature introductions and meetings with their Training Adviser. If elements of the Personal Learning Plan have already been agreed with a Training Adviser, then it might include any dates that have been agreed to attend training, complete learning or complete validations.

More information about the Adult Training Scheme can be found at Somerset Scouts – Adult Training

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls