Kendra Nicastro

“Of course, we onboard. Doesn’t everyone?”

While most facility leaders would say their organizations use onboarding for new hires, the real question to consider is how effective that onboarding process is from a new employee’s perspective. 

Because healthcare workers are so desperately needed, new employees have options. Whether it’s a job with a different organization or a counteroffer from their current position, if the new organization isn’t communicative with the new hire, they will be less apt to make that leap into a new position.

Even after a competitive offer has been received, many candidates admit that a lack of communication from the prospective employer leads them to look elsewhere. After all, tackling a new job can be an intimidating, anxiety-filled prospect — an aspect of the hiring process that long-time hiring managers can often forget.

A quick start date can help prevent a case of cold feet. Management must remember that an effective onboarding plan should begin the minute an offer is extended. 

Jami Brett

We also recommend you take the following steps to create a solid onboarding process to help welcome new team members:

Be available and be encouraging.

Provide contact information and extend a genuine “ask me anything” invitation. Be encouraging to show you understand how being the new guy/gal can be tricky.

Create a sense of excitement. 

Send a “Welcome to the Team” email to the new hire and copy the team. In a  separate communication, request that the team/department members also reach out via email welcoming the new hire. 

Outline expectations for what Day 1, Week 1 and Month 1 will look like.
Include everything from what to wear — scrubs, business attire, something in between — to parking info, lunch and break routine details, and anything pertinent about the organization. As soon as possible, provide a work schedule that specifies assigned shifts and addresses when the new hire will be shadowing versus being on his/her own. Explain how upcoming holidays or special events will be managed.

And about that onboarding schedule . . .
Plan various activities, training scenarios, and connecting-with-co-worker situations to ramp up the new employee’s engagement. Steer clear of a process that plants him or her in a room with a bunch of training videos for an extended time.

  • Make the first day awesome.
    Set your new hire up for success by rolling out the welcome mat on the first day on the job. Arrange for a workstation to be set up in an orderly fashion, have a name tag ready to go and assemble an array of company swag. Make every effort to extend a warm welcome with words and actions. Share a detailed onboarding schedule with a reminder that all questions are welcome.
  • Assign a mentor.
    For many positions, a mentor-new hire relationship makes sense, contributing positively to both sides of the hiring scenario. Such an arrangement demonstrates an investment in the new employee’s success in a very tangible way. 

A reliable onboarding program with a purposeful, thorough focus will pay compounding dividends across the company as it brings in and retains skilled employees committed to your organization’s high standard of patient care.

Kendra Nicastro is director of business development and Jami Brett is an executive recruiter at LeaderStat, an interim leadership, executive recruiting and healthcare consulting firm.