Ensuring that all new employees joining your team feel welcomed is an essential part of boosting morale, particularly in such a demanding field as healthcare. The timescales for onboarding can vary, but can sometimes be lengthy with references, DBS checks and mandatory training, so efficient healthcare staff onboarding is vital. You want to ensure that all your staff have the knowledge and confidence they need to do the job, plus feel that they are part of a team that listens and appreciates their input.
Why successful healthcare staff onboarding is so important
Joining a new team or entering a new workplace can be nerve-wracking, especially if it is your first role in that particular field. Healthcare staff onboarding is a process in which new members of staff understand the role and organisation and are integrated into the organisation, essentially shown the ropes. This is an essential part of the healthcare recruitment process and can mean the difference between a productive working environment and a stressful one.
The healthcare staff onboarding process should begin from the moment a candidate is offered a job. It is important that you make them feel part of the team from the very first stages of employment and this communication is key, especially if the pre-employment stage drags on. Not only does this make them feel welcome on a personal level, but it also puts their mind at ease so they can focus on taking in the essential knowledge they need to do their job effectively.
6 Tips for successful onboarding
The specific aspects of your onboarding strategy will differ depending on the size of your nursing home or healthcare establishment and the specific procedures carried out, however there are certain key elements that can make a difference.
- Have a system that prompts communication in the pre-employment ‘compliance’ stages. Keep them up to date with progress on their employment references and DBS for example.
- Have a new start induction kit that managers can follow to ensure nothing is missed out.
- Think about a ‘buddying up’ scheme maybe for just the first 2 weeks with a more experienced colleague. This is proven to help new starters through the initial joining phase and supports team leaders and managers too.
- Getting experienced staff members involved in the process can also help when trying to integrate new staff members into the fold. Veteran professionals will already know what it’s like to be in the shoes of a new recruit so they can offer helpful advice that will make new staff members feel more confident and pick things up much more quickly. If you have issues with staff retention, consider involving key team members in the interview process, this will gain team buy in and support of new starters suitability (we explore this in a later article as a key issue in UK care homes and nursing homes)
- Try not to throw too much at new starters too soon or they may get overwhelmed and fail to pick everything up. Simply finding your way around the home and rooms can be an ordeal at first.
- Start off with the basics and take the training process one step at a time to ensure that everything sinks in and new employees grasp each stage.
- Do not assume that skill levels are at the standards you expect in your healthcare organisation, a comprehensive online mandatory training programme can help if partaken in the pre-employment stage as it sets the bar. These results will give you an indicator of the new starters knowledge and skill levels.
Your healthcare staff onboarding process should be versatile and you should always be looking for ways to improve it and tailor it towards the needs of new staff and the changing industry requirements. This is where asking for feedback from new and existing employees can really help you to improve the overall process. Ask for feedback at all stages of the onboarding process and identify any problem areas that can be improved.
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