4 Ways to Boost Employee Retention in Healthcare Onboarding

Marketing Director

Probably one of the most critical processes for healthcare HR professionals is the onboarding process for new team members. Although retention can begin as early as the recruitment stage, a well-crafted onboarding process can make a big difference in shifting the discouraging statistics in the industry. According to a survey by BambooHR, more than 15 percent of new hires leave within the first three months. Healthcare organizations, unfortunately, have a greater challenge when compared to other industries. First year of service turnover has increased to nearly 30 percent in healthcare according to the latest data presented at the 2017 American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA) annual conference.

With so much at stake, here are four ways your healthcare organization can use the healthcare onboarding process to improve retention and other key performance indicators.

1. Make New Employees Feel Welcome

So much time and effort goes into acquiring new healthcare talent, but taking the time to ensure new team members feel welcome can ensure they remain with your organization. “From the moment they start working with your organization you should be demonstrating they’re a valuable member of the team and you’re here to support them,” according to an article by RadCoverage, a staffing agency that specializes in healthcare. “Before their first day, you can send a welcoming letter along with a fact sheet and agenda so they know what to expect.”

2. Conduct Frequent Structured Interviews

A 2017 study by researchers Emma Kurnat-Thoma, Mary Ganger, Kelly Peterson, and Lesley Channell published the journal SAGE Open Nursing supports the use of structured interviews when onboarding new healthcare employees. Specifically, the research suggests that implementing 30-, 60-, and 90-day structured interviews allows challenged departments and units to address problems early. “Improved coworker relationships and employee-manager professional dialogue during the new hire’s first [three] months promoted an improved work environment and promoted staff retention,” the study states. In the study, managers conducted stay interviews, a proven tool borrowed from the business world for improving retention.

3. Offer Mentorship Opportunities

Developing a formal mentorship program can have various benefits for your healthcare organization and can help towards improving retention rates. “Ideally, every new employee should be assigned a mentor so they can ask questions and gather all the necessary information associated with their role in the organization,” Suzanne Merrick, Regional Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Ultimate Medical Academy, states in a blog post. “A mentorship program helps promote a culture of teamwork and comradery, which can have an impact on employee morale and retention.”

4. Develop a Standardized Onboarding Process

Healthcare organizations can improve results, including retention, by standardizing the onboarding process across departments to ensure every team member is accounted for. Parkview Health, a nine-hospital system based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, uses a comprehensive onboarding process that significantly reduced first-year turnover, helping the provider keep employees engaged, improve care continuity and lower labor costs, according to an article in Modern Healthcare. In the case study, Parkview gave managers a toolkit that includes periodic check-ins extending beyond 90 days, solutions for common answers to concerns about retention questions and suggestions on how to cater the process to each of its more than 10,000 employees.

Although healthcare organizations are challenged with higher turnover rates compared to other industries, HR can use the onboarding process as a strategic tool to boosting employee retention. How have you improved your organization’s onboarding process? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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