Improve the New Hire Experience - Onboarding Strategies

Onboarding matters. Every ounce of time and energy invested by the management team in a new hire’s on-the-job experience during those crucial first weeks and months will have a positive impact. Like a wall of protection, shoring up the march toward that critical 90-day mark that way too many recruits don’t complete. Glassdoor reports back that up, noting a whopping 82% improvement in retention rates with a “strong onboarding process” as well as a 70% hike in productivity. But knowing and understanding do not necessarily translate into effective doing. In fact, we may not be doing as well as we think (or hope). Gallup found that only 12% of employees give their company high marks for their onboarding performance, which leaves a massive 88% with much room for improvement.

HCI discovered that 58% of organizations focus their onboarding on the administrative—paperwork and processes. One-third used terms such as informal, inconsistent, and reactive to describe their onboarding program. Doesn’t paint a very pretty picture, does it? These stats prove what, deep down, we already know. That a strong, consistent onboarding program doesn’t just happen. Consider how these three initiatives could be game-changers as part of a concerted effort toward improved onboarding.


1. Begin with a preboarding dose of welcome

If you think the time to engage a new hire begins on that all-important first day on the job, then maybe you’ve not lost an impressive recruit during the in-between time, from the accepted job offer and the first day. Rather than a time of silence that invites doubts and speculation, be in contact via email, phone call or text. Prepare a “welcome packet” that can be emailed, featuring a company brochure or video, benefits information, a company roster, and, most importantly, a genuine welcome to the team spirit. Even better, send them a packet in the mail that includes a handwritten “Welcome to the Team” note and maybe some company swag.


2. Don’t neglect the cultural aspect

From the Forbes Coaches Council and Jim VaselopulosRafti Advisors, LLC“The most stressful part of joining a new organization is not feeling comfortable, accepted, and part of the tribe. It is important to share the unspoken office/team expectations, inside jokes, and cultural norms for people to be at ease.” No, it’s not junior high, but the “who do I eat lunch with?” dilemma doesn’t have an expiration date. So, encourage the team to make lunch invites a standard part of rolling out the welcome mat, among any other consideration that will help their new co-workers settle in.


3. Develop an onboarding strategy that transitions to continuous learning and growth

The longer one’s been with the company, the easier it is to forget how much there is to become familiar with. Encourage new hires to ask questions and seek direction for as long as necessary. Imagine the negative impact on productivity if a new member of the team feels pressured to stop asking questions and pretend to be in the know. Disastrous. “The concept of strategic onboarding involves the ‘continuous onboarding’ of employees – a long-term strategy to keep employees engaged and relevant for new positions within the company,” shares HR Technologist. “It can even prepare them for leadership positions in the future.” Ideally, onboarding will seamlessly shift toward a focus on career development and goals. This type of engagement and demonstration of concern for employees’ opportunities to advance will lessen the search for greener pastures. Another perk? An internal supply of employees to advance within the company as retirement beckons to valued staff members.


Now, more than ever, with critical healthcare talent shortages, onboarding matters. Take time today to evaluate and, if needed, revise your onboarding strategy.


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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.