5 Onboarding Best Practices To Boost Quality Care in the Home

It’s no secret that staff turnover continues to plague home health and home care agencies. So what will you do to welcome and retain those new hires you just convinced to come work for you?

To start with, be sure you actively engage and inform your new team members during onboarding so they can hit the ground running. Fun and informative are not mutually exclusive, you know.

Welcome your new team members in a way that makes them feel included in a culture of caring, so they can pay it forward with their clients.

This handful of to-do items can make a difference as you bring new hires into the fold:

  1. Assess knowledge and skills to identify gaps
  2. Disseminate agency policies consistently across the organization
  3. Tailor the onboarding process to ensure reliable performance
  4. Communicate with dispersed mobile team members
  5. Provide clinical information and procedures at the point of care

1. Assess Initial Skills To Identify Gaps

The high turnover rate puts pressure on home health and home care agencies to get new staff up to speed quickly and completely.

When you need to fill multiple roles fast, you must get those new employees into the clients’ homes as quickly as possible while absolutely ensuring that they are prepared to provide quality care. By assessing each new hire’s current knowledge and skills, you can identify weak spots to be sure you target them during onboarding.

And don’t forget to…give them a hand, applauding their strengths publicly and finding at least one quality to praise about each new person on the team.

2. Disseminate Agency Policies

From the start, new employees want to know what is expected in their roles. During onboarding, you will need to ensure that they are informed about agency policies and that they have received, read, and accepted these expectations. You can protect your agency from liability and your clients from uninformed care by implementing online distribution of policies and procedures along with a digital signoff feature.

When the rules change in the future, as they will, you can easily ensure that your mobile care teams can review and acknowledge new policies on the go.

And don’t forget to…craft introductions to the guidance with a sense of humor and some captivating anecdotes about how agency policies have led to real-life success stories.

3. Tailor Onboarding To Ensure Reliability

Beyond knowing what is expected in a role, new team members sometimes need a little more handholding. Be prepared to supply specifics on how to meet those expectations.

First, you can create role-specific learning plans and use an online platform to automatically enroll new hires into the online courses for onboarding. Then when you assess individuals and identify gaps in knowledge or skills, you can tailor training to address those needs and speed time to competency. Creating personalized learning plans and assigning the courses via an online platform or learning management system (LMS) can ease that process.

A good LMS will provide automated tracking of course completions. Then when it comes time to report on compliance, you can pull the data from the system or even set up automated reports to roll out on a regular basis.

And don’t forget to…reach out with a personal note or phone call to emphasize how happy you are to have this person on your team.

4. Communicate With Widespread Teams

When your employees are mobile and serve different areas—as home health and home care nurses and caregivers naturally do—you will have to work extra hard as a manager to build a cohesive team dynamic. Let your team know how you will communicate as their manager and how they can share questions, ideas, and accomplishments with you and the rest of the team.

Perhaps corporate email will be your go-to method. Or using the announcements feature on your LMS or mobile learning app might be an option. Maybe you will use a popular business messaging app.

Keep in mind that Millennials, which are the largest generational group in the workforce today, prefer instant messaging or mobile apps over email, as noted in a recent Relias webinar.

Whatever you do, have a plan to message individuals and the team frequently in the beginning so you open the lines of communication and encourage interaction. By being proactive, you can make sure that out of sight doesn’t equal out of mind for your team.

And don’t forget to…use ice breaker questions, trivia quizzes, or other sharing activities to inspire laughter and smiles.

5. Provide Resources for Ongoing Learning

By using an online platform to deliver training and refresher modules on a continuing basis, you can put professional growth in the hands of every team member. With easy access for your staff on the go, you can minimize the risks, liabilities, and penalties that come from inadequate care.

When courses are available to everyone on the team via an online platform or mobile app, you will inspire staff loyalty by helping them see avenues to advance their credentials and practice. This benefit is appealing; a Glassdoor survey showed that 19% of employees surveyed in 2015 valued employee development programs more than a pay raise.

As a manager and learner yourself, you will appreciate having easy access to managerial resources when particular challenges arise with a new employee.

When your agency builds a culture of continual learning that starts with onboarding, you can ensure that your entire team provides reliable, quality care and that your agency is a preferred provider that garners institutional referrals and glowing community reviews.

And don’t forget to…foster motivation to learn by publicly praising team members who take the initiative to advance their training beyond onboarding and compliance requirements.

 

Now that you have a grasp on these important onboarding action items, you can develop your own agency specific plan to reach out to new hires and hold onto valuable members of your home health or home care team.

High five!

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Terrey L. Hatcher

Content Marketing Manager, Relias

Terrey Hatcher is a Content Marketing Manager at Relias. She has worked in professional development and curriculum design organizations for more than 20 years. At Relias, she has collaborated with physicians, nurses, curriculum designers, writers, and other staff members to shape healthcare content designed to improve clinical practice, staff expertise, and patient outcomes. Besides her current focus on healthcare solutions, Terrey’s experience includes sharing best practices in education, IT, and international business.

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