Healthcare Onboarding Best Practices: 4 Ways to Strengthen Your Process

Healthcare Onboarding Best Practices: 4 Ways to Strengthen Your Process
Marketing Manager

Onboarding can set the tone for an employee’s experience, so it’s important to get it right. According to a survey by BambooHR, more than 15 percent of new hires leave within the first three months. If you’re not making the most of your onboarding process, you’re going to lose some of those employees you worked so hard to recruit.

So what does it take to make your onboarding excel? “This starts with focusing less on paperwork and processes, instead focusing more on activating employees, physicians, contractors, partners and so on — all who are part of today's modern workforce,” says Amber Hyatt, Vice President of Product Marketing at SilkRoad, which provides cloud-based talent-management solutions.

Here are some healthcare onboarding best practices for you to follow.

1. Focus on Employees

Healthcare onboarding often gets bogged down in paperwork and compliance, which can dampen a new employee’s enthusiasm. After being the focus of the recruiting process, employees may feel like just another cog in the machine when onboarding. Experts recommend making the employee, not HR, the focus of onboarding.

This can include “preboarding” processes that let new employees complete necessary paperwork before their first day on the job so they can spend more time getting to know their teams. “Shift toward employee-centric solutions,” Hyatt says. “Focus on their needs more than the needs of HR. Onboarding should be one of the first experiences in a measurable continuum of experiences that connect and empower employees to succeed.”

2. Treat All New Employees Equally

Because HR organizations still tend to view the onboarding process as a way to get paperwork completed and to safeguard compliance, physicians can sometimes pose a conundrum for healthcare organizations. But for healthcare organizations that manage a strategic onboarding process that caters to the entire modern workforce, this growing trend of physician employment shouldn't change a thing, Hyatt says.

“They are part of the organization's complex modern workforce, and they should be strategically onboarded when they join an organization regardless of how they are paid,” Hyatt says of physicians. “Ensure they get the same comprehensive onboarding process as other employees.”

3. Define and Show Your Values

How does your organization provide quality care? The answer may vary, so it’s vital that new employees come away from onboarding with a clear idea of what it means to care for others at your organization. And as healthcare looks for ways to build collaboration across the organization, the onboarding process represents a great opportunity to show new employees what that looks like at your organization.

“During onboarding, stories and examples reinforce that inclusion and sharing information are part of the norms of the organizational culture,” says Adam Tallinger, Vice President at Impact Advisors, a healthcare IT consulting firm. “This culture is maintained by leaders within the healthcare organization who exhibit qualities of self-awareness and set examples of how to behave and drive toward common goals.”

4. Start Before You Hire

Having a process that sets expectations and educates new hires about your culture works best when you have it ready even before you hire. “The key to most interactions across the business is communication and pre-planned sets of activity that allow HR to move through the process of recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding and training in such a way that everyone knows what they need to know when they need to know it,” says Barbara Amato, HR Director of Talent Management for Salem Health.

At Salem, HR leaders conduct an intake meeting at the beginning of each new job opening to ensure they set expectations and are able to assist candidates with any questions they might have about the jobs, Amato says. “Make sure the first week is outlined for the new hire so everyone knows what to expect.”

Through it all, healthcare HR leaders must be ready to change best practices as processes improve and culture evolves. “We continue to fine-tune our process, as nothing in recruitment is static,” Amato says. “You have to stay on top of each issue and continuously improve the process with the end result always in sight.”

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