Onboarding 101 – Becoming the Healthcare Employer of Choice

Healthcare is changing at such a dramatic pace, that leaders throughout an organization need to work to create a stable environment in which people can excel and choose to stay. And the challenges continue to grow. According to BambooHR, “Back in 2012, only 4.8 % of hospitals experienced a shortage of nurses of 10 percent or greater. By 2016, that number had jumped to 32.9 percent. And the numbers aren’t expected to go back down soon. By 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be a total of 1.2 million vacancies for nursing positions.” In order to buck this trend, healthcare organizations, need to work hard to create an environment of engagement.

What do they need to do to engage their people and become the employer of choice? What it takes is consistent attention to details that work to create an environment where people choose to stay. While conducting my research on how leaders utilize communication to make it onto Fortune’s Great Places to Work list, I interviewed, Theresa Levering, VP of Human Resources at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Florida. Our discussion focused on the many small things that start with two very important elements, hiring the right people and then maintaining communication with them to ensure they feel a part of the team. Theresa said at Doctor’s hospital, they go through a structured 5-part hiring process that focuses on “cultural fit” in addition to the person’s technical skills. “The technical skills get them to the interview,” then they’re assessed to see if they fit and are right for the culture at Doctor’s Hospital.”

After a new employee has been hired, the onboarding process starts with a call from the Director of Nursing to welcome the new employee before the first day. Day one they are met in the parking lot and escorted into the building. Think of how this minimizes the anxiety of getting where you need to be. During the orientation, the CEO or COO open by welcoming everyone. Theresa, VP of HR then says, “Congratulations, you made it. We are incredibly selective about who we let into our family.” Wow, what does that say to the new employee on day one! They are then “buddied up with a preceptor” who helps them get acclimated to the workplace and is there to answer any of their questions.

They check-in with the employee during a breakfast or lunch after 30 days in which the new employee is encouraged to share their experience. During this meeting, they discuss things that the employee struggled with such as where to find the departmental phone book, so they have an easier time reaching their colleagues in different areas of the hospital. According to Bob Whipple the Trust Ambassador, leaders should respond to suggestions in a manner that makes the employee glad they said it. There is a 90-day evaluation with the director of nursing where employees are asked “if they have the tools to do their work.” Senior leaders are required to get to know their employees and what is going on in their personal lives. They are encouraged to touch base monthly with every employee, to develop their relationship. Doctors hospital of Sarasota also uses “Stop Light Reports” based on employee feedback, in which leaders report what changes have been accomplished (green,) what changes are in process (yellow,) and what changes cannot be made and why (red.)

Doctor’s Hospital of Sarasota works hard to fulfill its mission, create an outstanding culture and offer competitive benefits to their employees. They encourage professional development among employees to create tomorrow’s leaders through recognition programs, mentorships and benefits to make an employee’s life easier. These are many of the reasons that Doctors Hospital of Sarasota repeatedly makes it on Becker’s 150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare.

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