Granville EcoPark is an enhanced anaerobic digestion facility that processes food waste to create renewable energy. The business based in Dungannon, County Tyrone, employs 33 people.
Pauline McCrory, HR and Marketing Manager, explains how Granville EcoPark welcomes and supports new staff through a range of steps, including a two-week induction with job shadowing, bespoke training and an assessment programme.
“With a small workforce of 33 staff, the company employs individuals with a diverse range of skills that are essential to the operation of a successful anaerobic digestion business.”
“Our business is unique, so it can be a challenge to hire employees with the specific skills and experience required for our type of business operation. When we find the right staff, we recognise the importance of retaining them by welcoming them into the organisation and quickly identifying any training that is needed to help them perform their role.”
“The first two weeks in a job is a crucial time for all new employees. This is when there is traditionally the highest level of staff turnover. We work to ensure that this early period is spent helping employees feel established via a structured programme of training and support.”
“In the past, we had a less formal emphasis on staff induction. This relaxed ‘hit the ground running’ approach resulted in low retention rates of 58 per cent and poor organisational culture.”
How did we meet these challenges?
“We took active steps to improve our retention rates and boost employee morale at the staff induction phase. We developed a tailored two-week induction timetable. This schedule uses a mix of training methods and aims to ensure that new employees establish themselves quickly and feel motivated to do well. During this induction period, the new recruit learns about company values, policies and procedures. We accompany this with job shadowing.”
“Each new recruit is assigned an induction buddy, who will take the employee through the job role and shadow the experienced team member. Induction buddies aim to demonstrate our business values and help new staff to understand what the company does and why we do it, as well as this being a section within the induction. We have found this job shadowing system an excellent method of building a rapport between new staff and their future teammates.”
“Every new operational employee will also receive ground-up training in the engineering and scientific process required for them to fulfil their job role. This bespoke training is followed by an assessment at the end of a six-month probationary period.”
Bespoke training and assessment programme
“The bespoke training programmes and assessments have been designed in-house by management team members. Our approach is to confirm understanding at every stage. All new operators receive a workbook folder at their three-month progress review. They have a further three months to complete it while working on the job and during this time, they are encouraged to ask anyone in the team for help in finding the answers.”
“At the end of the six-month probationary period, each new operator will have an assessment on their development. We evaluate whether they meet the necessary standards through their workbooks and verbal exams. The verbal exams assess the individual’s confidence and knowledge in each area. If a new operator passes these steps, they will be promoted to a position as a plant operator and receive a pay rise to reflect this.”
“If a recruit fails to qualify to the next stage, they receive a two-month extension to develop their skills and re-take the assessment. We have found that this approach leads to an 80 per cent pass rate for new employees. Our assessments are designed so that only the most suitable individuals will progress, which reflects the demanding and challenging job role that they are undertaking.”
"Our revised approach to staff induction through job shadowing and formal training combined with assessment has delivered benefits to both new staff and Granville EcoPark. These improvements range from reducing employee turnover through to increasing operational efficiency and boosting staff morale and organisational communication at all levels."
"Within eight months of implementing these changes alongside the creation of company committees and wellbeing programmes, the average staff retention rate has risen to 93 per cent, an impressive increase of 60 per cent in a short time."