Hiring trends for all healthcare positions continue on the upswing as we go into 2016.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that healthcare will add the most jobs of any industry in the next few years. Jonas Johnson, senior researcher at the Economic Research Institute in Irvine, California, says, “[Healthcare is] one of the most consistently growing occupational segments out there.”

Many factors influence this growth, including the influx of newly-insured individuals due to the Affordable Care Act and the ever-increasing numbers of aging baby boomers requiring more services. Whatever the causes, though, the reality is that as a hiring manager in a healthcare field, you’ve got challenges ahead of you – in 2016 and beyond.

In response, as a recent article from hiring website Monster.com noted, “Healthcare organizations will need to invest more time, effort, money and smarts into their healthcare recruitment efforts.”

One of the trends identified by Monster.com is a shift by employers from a wide-open recruitment approach to highly-targeted recruiting – for example, focusing just on military veterans, as Kaiser Permanente is planning to do.

While this is certainly an effective model for recruiting the right people with the best skills for the roles you want to fill, it does not answer the question of how you retain those talented individuals. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that half of all hourly workers (which make up the majority of hiring challenges in healthcare) leave within the first four months.


Starting out right

It’s common wisdom that new hires have only a brief time to prove themselves.

In today’s environment, note that the reverse is also true: your new employee is looking for your organization to prove itself to them – or they can easily and quickly find a better job somewhere else.

Numerous studies show that effective onboarding plays a vital role in employee engagement and long-term retention. The current high demand for new employees coupled with a relative scarcity of qualified candidates makes your onboarding program even more essential for retaining good workers.


The best first step

The best first step is simple, and startlingly under-utilized.

Have a formal onboarding program.

That’s all – simply have a program.

This means going beyond what we call the “Four Ps” of onboarding: Payroll, Paperwork, Policies, and Procedures. It means offering a program that engages not only the new employee, but everyone on their team: their manager, peers, and colleagues in other areas of the organization.

The best way to ensure that this happens is to follow a clearly-defined road map, including:

  • Welcoming the new employee (you never get a second chance to make a first impression)
  • Ensuring the whole team understands the value the new employee brings (so they’re more supportive)
  • Clarifying expectations (when employees fail, it’s almost always because of unclear expectations)
  • Helping the new employee understand cultural norms (so they don’t make unintentional missteps)
  • Introducing the new employee to colleagues outside their immediate area (statistics show that employees with a wide internal network are happier, more productive, and more likely to remain)
  • Following up on a regular basis to stay on track and keep expectations clear (so your new hire becomes more productive more quickly).

While this can seem like a lot of work (and who needs more work?!), the reality is that it saves a great deal of time and money in the long run. In fact, effective onboarding is more than just a good idea: it’s a crucial first step to having an engaged and productive workforce that’s ready, willing, and able to contribute 100% to your organization’s bottom line. As authors George Bradt and Mary Vonnegut point out in their book Onboarding: how to get your new employees up to speed in half the time, “Effective onboarding drives new employee productivity, accelerates delivery of results, and significantly improves talent retention.”


Onboarding programs don’t build themselves

As pointed out earlier, most organizations don’t have a robust onboarding program in place. If that describes your company, we suggest you look into our new online course Onboarding and Culture Development. With case studies, a detailed road map, and checklists, this training offers a solid grounding in the key elements of a successful onboarding program that will help you and your colleagues maximize the effort of hiring the right people by keeping the talented individuals you hire on board, engaged, and motivated to perform at their best.

To Learn more about onboarding and other leadership/management resources, download our helpful PDF.