ASAP! Office Culture and Hiring: Best Practices for Healthcare HR
Healthcare HR departments are often faced with short timelines when hiring. Getting an employee onboarded and up to speed quickly is a challenge, but getting it wrong can mean a disruption in processes, culture and even patient care. Balancing time and effort is crucial for healthcare HR leaders working with new hires.
“The landscape of the talent market in healthcare is so competitive you can’t afford to make those mistakes,” says Christina Boudreaux, Owner and Senior Talent Consultant at Talent Made Simple, a human resources consulting company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “Acclimating to culture starts at the beginning of the recruiting process, all the way through selection and onboarding.”
Here’s how to get it right.
Establish a Process
Effective onboarding can’t be left to chance in healthcare. Communication and planned processes of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding and training are key, says Barbara Amato, HR Director of Talent Management at Salem Health in Salem, Oregon. “At Salem Health, we work under a recruitment program that sets us up to quickly identify what the hiring manager is seeking and manage against those expectations,” Amato says.
This process will also help keep your organization compliant with both general employment laws as well as healthcare-specific regulations, Boudreaux says. “Compliance is so important in healthcare because it’s so detailed,” she says. “The new-hire experience is something you don’t want to compromise, and taking a methodical approach can make it easier for everyone.”
By the time candidates are in an interview, hiring managers need to know that they’ll be a good fit. “HR has to properly screen candidates to make sure they fit in the culture that the organization wants to have,” says Michael Levitt, Executive Director at Humber River Family Health Team in Toronto, Ontario.
The screening process can help identify how new employees learn and process information. Sentara Healthcare is preparing to roll out a tool that provides talent profiles to managers to help them better focus on new employees’ learning styles, says Laura Amdusky, System Director for Recruitment at Sentara in Norfolk, Virginia. Some may prefer visual learning, while others need a more hands-on approach, for example.
Lay the Groundwork for Success
Identify and prepare whatever the new employee needs to be successful in their job. For example, you could provide ways for new hires to complete their employment paperwork before they come in on their first day, Boudreaux says. New hires can then spend their first days learning more about the teams with whom they will be working.
In addition, all in-person presenters must be prepared to keep things moving, Amato says. “Make sure your program is fine-tuned and rehearsed,” she says. People at each part of the process must be committed to starting and finishing on time as well as engaging as though this was the most important orientation they have ever presented, she says.
Part of keeping things efficient means always looking for opportunities to improve your processes without sacrificing speed or quality, experts say. This may mean checking in and surveying your new employees at 30, 60 and 90 days to ask what worked and what didn’t when it comes to onboarding, for example, and making changes depending on their answers. A commitment to improvement will help you find ways to make each experience better.
The onboarding process at Sentara used to have a combined “Day One” orientation for large groups, Amdusky says, where everyone heard from the CEO and learned about things such as employee benefits. “We ended up going to a virtual Day One orientation that people can do at their own pace,” she says. “It can give them better information, because it’s self-driven. It engages them from the beginning.”
Healthcare HR leaders face a double challenge in getting people onboarded quickly and accurately. In today’s regulatory environment, finding the balance between speed and compliance is key, and a strong process will help every time.