Induction or training is the process of helping your new Personal Assistant (PA) learn about their job, tasks, responsibilities and their new workplace. This factsheet explains why an induction benefits you and your new PA. It will give you tips on making your induction programme work and help you to decide what to include in your PA’s induction.
If you wish, you can use employer template 4.4(a) PA induction checklist to help you with this task.
When your new PA starts work with you, they will need to know how you would like them to do the job, their responsibilities, where things are in your home and who they should take their questions to. Certain paperwork including the risk assessment, personnel sheet and employment contract should also be completed during this period.
Why is an induction a good idea?
There are lots of good reasons to run a good induction as it:
- helps your PA to learn what you expect from them very quickly and therefore you are likely to benefit (sooner) from higher quality work.
- will help your PA to feel motivated and confident about their work from the outset.
- sets the right tone for the job. It shows that you know what you are doing, that this is a ‘proper job’ and that there are ways that you like your job to be done.
- means your PA will be less likely to leave after a short period because they feel more confident.
- can help you to build a positive relationship with your PA, so that you both feel that you can talk to each other openly, and discuss issues as they come up, rather than storing them up until they become a bigger problem. It can also help to reduce misunderstandings.
An induction is important for all employers to arrange. It is essential for employers whose disability requires their PA’s to be very self-sufficient from an early stage.
What should I include in the induction?
Induction is a form of basic training. It should help your PA to gain the knowledge and skills they need for their job and to understand the conduct and behaviour expected of them.
An induction should include:
- instruction on the standard things that your PA’s need to know.
- individual instruction specific to the PA’s needs and/or job description. For example, someone who has not worked as a PA before may need extra help with learning about personal care.
One way to decide what should be in your induction programme is to think about:
- what have agency care-assistants/homecare staff or volunteer helpers asked you about in the past?
- what have other people misunderstood about your job in the past?
- what do your ‘good’ PA’s know/do that the ‘weaker’ PA’s didn’t?
- what do they need to know to be able to do their job properly?
Please see the step-by-step guide for more detailed information on this.
Who should provide the induction?
As the employer, you are responsible for deciding what should be included in your induction. However, you do not have to run the whole induction yourself. If you have a more experienced PA you might ask them to help your new PA to learn some aspects of the job e.g. how to use the hoist.
If you do ask an experienced PA to help, then you should make sure that they know what they are being asked to help with. For example, you might ask your experienced PA to demonstrate how to use the hoist and you will ask them to cover: how to put the sling on, how to move the hoist, how to get you comfortable in the sling, how to reduce the amount of time you spend in the sling by getting your clothes ready beforehand, etc.
If you wish you can ask your experienced PA to keep some notes. These notes can then be updated and used each time you have a new PA.
Below is a guide to some of the key themes that you should include in your PA’s induction.
The working environment
The working environment will usually be your home (and sometimes also your local community and beyond). When your PA starts work with you, you should give them information about:
- other PA’s and people who support you.
- other people who live in your home and how you would like your PA to interact with them.
- exit routes, including how to get you both out in a fire or other emergency.
- location of toilet facilities.
- location of refreshments – water, tea and coffee (you must give them access to clean drinking water).
- location of cleaning products and toilet paper etc.
- appliances and how they work – kettle, oven, washing machine (where relevant to the job).
- information about any pets you have.
- parking/bike-storage arrangements.
- rules about smoking whilst at work.
You should give your new PA information about:
- when their shift times/days are and where the rota will be kept.
- where they should sign after each shift/week worked.
- when and where they can take their breaks.
- what to do if they are going to be late/off sick.
- how to complete a timesheet and when to submit it.
- how to complete an expenses form and when to submit it.
- how to request annual leave.
- how they should respond if your children or partner ask them to do something?
Whether they should:
- answer the phone.
- open your post.
- answer the door.
- how work is allocated e.g. should they start doing the same tasks every day, ask you or read from a list?
- how you and your PA will discuss how things are going e.g. will you have regular supervision meetings.
Doing their work
You should give your new PA information about:
- the purpose of the job.
- key themes of the job: independence, empowerment, confidentiality etc.
- how to do each task safely (see below) and in the way that you would like.
- how often you would like each task completed.
Health and safety
You should talk your PA through the risk assessment form and discuss with them how to complete each task safely.
Your risk assessment records all the potential hazards in your home and the controls you have put in place to remove or minimise them- your PA should be familiar with this. In particular you should give your new PA information about:
- food hygiene.
- kitchen safety e.g. location of the fire-blanket.
- maintaining hygiene e.g. using gloves and wearing aprons.
- manual handling, including use of hoist and methods for lifting safely.
- fire safety and how to exit the building in an emergency.
- the location of the first aid box.
Please note you must have a fire blanket and a first aid kit in the workplace at all times when you are employing PA’s.
Key paperwork to complete during the induction
During the induction period it is very important that the following key documents are completed:
When your PA starts work you must check that they have the right to work in the UK. You can do this by asking to see (and taking copies of) certain key documents e.g. their passport, birth certificate, visa etc.
Employer template 4.1(a) Personnel sheet (checking the right to work in the UK) contains a full list of the documents that your new PA can show you. When you view the documents you should check they are genuine, valid, within date and belong to the person showing them to you. You should also take a copy to keep for your records.
The personnel sheet template also has space for you to record the PA’s contact details including details of who you should contact in an emergency, if they become ill at work for example.
You should make sure that both you and the PA sign the employment contract and that you both have a copy to keep for your records.
- Employer template 4.3(a) Example employment contract (written statement of employment particulars)
- Factsheet 4.3: Employment contracts and written statements
So that you PA is aware of the standard of behaviour expected of them and the rules of the job you may wish to consider issuing:
Tips for running a successful induction
Spread the induction over time and give the PA lots of support:
- encourage your PA to ask questions.
- check the PA understands at regular intervals.
- give the PA information in short bursts.
- spread the induction over a few weeks if there is a lot for them to take in.
- build up the amount of work and let them gradually move on to harder tasks.
Tailor the induction to the PA:
- less experienced PA’s may need more explanation.
- check what your PA has experience of doing already.
- spend longer on tasks they have not done before.
- let them know that you have confidence in their ability to do the job.
- be truthful about the reality of the job, don’t make it sound different to how it really is.
Make sure the PA knows how you will give them work:
- will they be expected to start off with the same tasks each day?
- will they ask you what to do each time?
- if your disability means that you need to leave a list of tasks that vary each time, use your induction to explain this.
- do you want to leave a ‘reminder list’ of the tasks involved in a certain place.