Onboarding new employees – and retaining them — is one of the most challenging objectives that nearly every industry is facing in today’s job market.

Health care is no exception. As more health care providers offer their services remotely, effective training through online onboarding programs become a necessity in building engagement with new front-line workers.

With any onboarding program, whether virtual or in person, the first step in welcoming your new team members is to facilitate a culture that promotes inclusivity and engagement. Another key step in onboarding is to ensure that new hires have access to necessary technology and resources so they can stay connected, especially when working remotely.

New employees also need to be aware of their organization’s expectations for their role. The onboarding process should include values based on company culture and policies to follow. This benefits both the organization and the new hire because it positions the entire team for success.

During the onboarding process, policies and procedures can be implemented through a learning management system (LMS) with a digital sign-off feature to ensure it was reviewed by the new hire.

Assessments Are Key to Virtual Onboarding

The need for live virtual training proliferated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as organizations turned to safe ways to onboard health care practitioners into remote and hybrid positions.

One of the most important components to virtual onboarding is the use of personalized assessments and LMSs tailored to each new hire’s work experience, skills and learning opportunities.

LMS in health care is also important to ensure workers are up to date with credible content aligned to their career path. Personalized LMSs should also include continuing education to support opportunities for reskilling and obtaining certifications/licensure requirements.

A recent study of new nurses published in the Journal For Nurses in Professional Development found that those who were offered personalized learning demonstrated better knowledge, critical thinking and job satisfaction as they transitioned from onboarding to job-specific work.

This lesson is not only applicable for the health care industry, but inclusive to all industries and professions of any skill level and experience.

The Reliance on LMS

Online assessments integrated into LMS enable organizations to provide remote and hybrid staff resources to meet individual learning needs while targeting gaps. LMS is a convenient modality in tracking learning and assigning opportunities for improvement.

The reliance of LMS provides efficiency in method and cost. It helps remote staff stay engaged while expediting their onboarding process. Online learning provides learning and development (L&D) leaders in health care organizations with the data and measurement to examine their return on investment (ROI). With the data pulled, health care organizations can advocate for program budgets that can improve performance efficacy.

Here’s how health care organizations can tailor online learning programs to support standardization and streamlining:

  1. First, employers should create role-specific learning plans and use an online platform to automatically enroll new hires into the online courses for onboarding.
  2. Then, organizations should assess individual workers to identify skills gaps, so they can tailor learning opportunities to address those specific areas, thus ensuring a seamless transition from onboarding to work.
  3. Lastly, an effective LMS can provide automated tracking of course completion, supporting the ability to provide documentation for accrediting bodies and compliance programs.

An LMS that supports ease of use and the ability to automate reports can lend to efficacy and improve employees’ job satisfaction.

Don’t Forget Personal Communication

Most organizations and their workers have become more comfortable communicating through virtual platforms since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in-person communication is still crucial to a team’s success. Even the best LMS is no substitute for human interaction, especially with new employees.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 69% of employees are more likely to stay with an organization for three years if they had a positive onboarding experience. While virtual onboarding is new for many, organizations can still take extra steps to provide support.

Leaders can promote open and honest communication through a mentorship program or designating a colleague to the new hire. This can help new hires feel comfortable about voicing concerns to their direct manager. When communicating virtually, learning leaders should continuously encourage new hires to share their feedback, since body language is difficult to read via video calls.

The onboarding process is a unique and critical opportunity that ensures health care workers begin their new journey with intention. Key aspects of the onboarding process, when done correctly, will have a positive impact on worker satisfaction, quality of care provided and an organization’s bottom line.