new healthcare grads onboardingNew healthcare grads are an important source of talent for the industry. And when they join your organization, you need to remember while they’re new to the job, they’re often also new to the workforce, too.

Luckily, human resources can do its part to get these new healthcare grads up to speed and acclimated to their roles in the organization. It all starts with a robust onboarding program.

Here are 10 tips you can use in your healthcare organization’s new hire orientation and onboarding procedures to build employee engagement and get your new healthcare grads off to a great start.

1. Begin with an Open, Welcoming Atmosphere

The first step in a stellar onboarding process for new healthcare graduates is likely something you already do with all hires. Introducing your new hires to key people around the organization and demonstrating how excited you are that they are part of the team is always an important first-day activity. This can be even more important for millennial employees who tend to desire recognition and social support.

2. Review the Job Description and Expected Performance Goals

This step may seem unnecessary — after all, your new hires should know the job they were hired to do, right? Reviewing job duties and expected performance at the very beginning of employment can help improve ongoing communication, set benchmarks for success, and establish parameters to recognize employees who meet their responsibilities.

3. Get Paperwork Out of the Way Early

No one likes mountains of paperwork on the first day of their new job, and technology-friendly millennials like it even less than older workers. Consider using an applicant tracking system with onboarding functionality. Besides making your recruitment process easier, these systems allow new hires to complete documents like HIPAA acknowledgments and tax forms prior to their first day.

4. Leverage Technology in the Onboarding Process

New healthcare grads are used to learning through technology such as video, and incorporating technology into your onboarding process can be an efficient and comfortable way to provide your new hires with key information about your organization. For example, use short videos they can refer to as needed to complement in-person training.

5. Provide Opportunities for Accomplishment Early

Millennials have a different perspective on their career path and advancement opportunities than older generations. According to a survey conducted by Addison Group and Kelton, 40 percent of millennials envision a promotion every year or two. While this is probably not a possibility for every new healthcare grad you hire, you can help foster employer loyalty by focusing on employee recognition and providing short-term growth opportunities that acknowledge employees’ accomplishments early on. Be sure to include the details of any recognition program in your onboarding information.

6. Emphasize Social and Emotional Support Networks

Particularly within the healthcare industry, many employers focus their attention on building recent graduates’ technical and clinical skills. These skills are certainly key to long-term success, but millennial employees often require additional support from a social and emotional perspective. Create a sense of place for your employees and encourage new healthcare grads to become part of your organization’s community.

7. Establish a Formal Mentorship Program

One great way to provide employees with the social, emotional, and technical support that they need in their first months on the job is through a mentorship program. To illustrate this, a study in the Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing found that mentoring and coaching boosted young nurses’ competency and integration into their organization’s practice. Moreover, a highly structured mentorship program for new healthcare grads has been demonstrated to lower turnover and increase employee engagement.

8. Make It Easy to Ask Questions and Receive Answers

Here again, technology is key. While you should certainly make yourself and key member of your organization available to new hires, new healthcare grads who you bring on will likely want to take advantage of any technological solutions available. An online portal with videos, documents, and the ability to chat with other employees is a useful tool.

9. Schedule Regular Check-Ins over the First Few Months

The first 90 days of employment are crucial for building employee engagement. Regular one-on-one check-in meetings give you the opportunity to supply new hires with important feedback, as well as recognition that can motivate and engage. Such meetings can also provide important support for the employee and demonstrate your investment.

10. Keep an Eye Out for Early Signs of Unhappiness

Knowing that millennials are more likely than older generations to leave for a new position early on in their tenure can help you prepare to intervene before your new hire accepts another job offer. As part of regular one-on-one meetings, be open in discussing job satisfaction, and train supervisors to be aware of potential clinician dissatisfaction as well.

Remember that the steps you take to welcome new grads into your organization can pay dividends in terms of their ongoing engagement, dedication, and loyalty. Because healthcare can be such a taxing environment, building engagement early can help you ensure that your new healthcare grads stay committed to providing high-quality care.

Are you interested in learning more about how you can improve employee engagement in your healthcare organization? Download:

[How-To Guide] Building Employee Engagement: How to Improve Employee Retention and Increase Patient Satisfaction
new healthcare grads employee engagement


About The Editorial Staff

The Editorial Staff is a team of writers with a passion for helping healthcare organizations manage their biggest and most important investment: their employees.