Hiring and retaining new employees are daunting tasks for most healthcare organizations for a variety of reasons. To start, many are struggling with major skills shortages and even sourcing the proper talent to fill open positions can be an uphill battle. And then, the hiring process in healthcare organizations often takes so long that new employees either take another job instead or leave within the first few months.
Resignations that take place within the first three to six months of employment are known as “quick quits,” and given their challenges, it’s critical that healthcare organizations do everything in their power to prevent these rapid-fire resignations. The key is, of course, strategic onboarding in the form of KSR – knowledge, support, and relationships. Let’s look at each of these three components.
Most healthcare workers join an organization enthusiastic to contribute to the best of their ability. However, if they don’t receive proper training and direction, as well as clarity around their roles and responsibilities, they may find themselves at loose ends and wishing they’d taken a different position. In addition to general information about the organization and its policies, your onboarding initiative should include a review of expectations for what new hires are expected to accomplish in a given job. Managers should ensure that these expectations and goals align with what was discussed during the interview process. And because uninformed employees are more likely to be disengaged, there should be an ongoing and seamless flow of role-related information from organization to manager to employee.
Through its work with healthcare organizations, Gallup observed that the rapid changes in the healthcare industry have adversely affected two critical items of employee engagement: knowing work expectations and connecting with the company’s mission.
Providing this type of information is an important way to offer appropriate support, but managers should also ask each new hire, regularly, what they can do to make his or her job easier. Proactively, new employees should be pointed in the direction of key resources that will help them get around common problems or roadblocks, and managers should be on the lookout for the stress reactions that often occur during times of transition – especially in high-pressure healthcare environments.
A potent weapon against quick quits is assimilation. New hires who are made to feel like they truly belong to an organization and are immediately immersed in its culture are far less likely to leave. Managers should establish solid relationships within the team by organizing social events and bonding opportunities and setting up one-on-one meetings with employees in other departments who know how to get things done. A cross-functional mentoring relationship right from the start can be helpful, and if a supervisor knows of a potentially difficult political situation, he or she should take steps to help the new hire navigate it effectively.
While there’s no substitute for a great deal of in-person rapport-building while getting to know a new hire, a technology-based onboarding system can assist healthcare organizations in making sure the right information is delivered at the right cadence, and the best support mechanisms are in place for an employee to have the most positive experience possible.