By Josh Zeitlin, Editor
Saturday will be President Trump's 100th day on the job as a "new hire." That got us thinking—how can health care organizations best set new hires up for success early in their tenure?
To answer that question, the Daily Briefing turned to an expert on employee engagement and retention: HR Advancement Center's Jennifer Stewart. (Given that being a new health care worker and a new president are fundamentally different, we asked Stewart only about best practices for our industry.)
Stewart stressed that improving onboarding can help organizations tackle one of their most pressing problems: high employee turnover, particularly among millennials. Here are three best practices she recommended for health care leaders.
1. Be particularly thoughtful about check-ins at 30, 60, and 90 days.
When it comes to identifying whether your new hire is a retention risk and generally helping them adjust to your organization, there are certain "days in office" that matter, Stewart said.
According to Stewart, managers should have check-ins with new employees at 30, 60, and 90 days and query them with a few specific questions or prompts, including "Has this job met your expectations?"; "Which coworkers have been especially helpful to you?"; and "Tell me about some of your successes so far."
Stewart recommended that organizations consider two methods for increasing manager accountability for check-ins, particularly if their new-hire turnover is high.
The first method, employed by Florida-based Baptist Health System, is using "skip-level" check-ins, in which new hires have check-ins at 30 days with their direct supervisor, at 60 days with a director, and at 90 days with a vice president. Such a system, Stewart said, allows senior leaders to hear about new hires' relationships with their managers and collect feedback from new employees across their team. It also helps senior leaders hold managers accountable for holding 30-day check-ins.
If senior leaders aren't able to meet individually with each new hire, Stewart said they can meet with larger new hire groups instead.
Another method is to set two kinds of goals for managers whose employees currently have high turnover rates: an outcome-based goal for turnover rate, as well as a process-based goal of completing a certain percentage of new hire check-ins. Texas-based Methodist Health System sets a goal for managers with high turnover of completing 80 percent of their 30- and 90-day new hire check-ins.
Both Baptist Health and Methodist Health also send automated emails that prompt managers to hold check-ins with new employees.
2. Assess whether managers and new hires are on the same page
When new hires aren't on the same page as their manager about how they are performing and acclimating, it can be an early warning sign of future turnover, Stewart said. But new employees often feel uncomfortable telling managers if they feel overwhelmed or like they aren't meeting expectations.
That's why Stewart recommended that all organizations struggling with first-year turnover have their HR departments survey new hires and their managers about how new employees are performing and acclimating during their first few months.
Stewart said HR departments should then use those surveys to identify new hire-manager pairs whose perceptions differ, and then meet with those managers to review the survey responses and talk about next steps to reduce turnover risk.
3. Don't forget the little things
It's true that some new-hire best practices require investing significant resources, such as the unit-based mentorship program successfully employed by UnityPoint Health - Methodist | Proctor. (Learn more about UnityPoint's Professional Mentor Corps here.)
But it's important that leaders not forget the easier lifts that can also make a big difference, Stewart said.
Simple things like double-checking that a new employee's workspace will be clean and set up, sending a welcome letter, and arranging for first-day welcome gestures such as a workstation sign or welcome luncheon can help new hires start out on the right foot.
Get the tools you need to help your new hires
To best ensure your new hires thrive in their first 100 days and beyond, download our "Manager's Guide to New Hire Onboarding," which includes a discussion guide for early check-ins and five other tools for managers.
And download our "HR's Guide to New Hire Onboarding," which includes guidance on building a new hire onboarding survey and 12 other tools for HR staff.