Onboarding Made Simple: A Digital Health Must-Have

By Mitch Robbins on March 8, 2024

Imagine being the head coach of a digital health team, welcoming a new player onto the field. As they take a breather after their first match, a surge of questions might rush through your mind: "Are they finding their footing?" "Are they second-guessing their decision to join the team?" The onboarding process can be riddled with bumps, not just for the new recruit, but also for the coach who brought them into the game. The rate at which a rookie adjusts to life on the team, forms bonds with their teammates, and starts to perform effectively largely lies in the coach's playbook.

The field of the onboarding process can be quite challenging. A study by Gallup shows that a mere 12% of employees believe that their company excels at bringing new players into the game. This implies a staggering 88% of employees believe the onboarding process could be better coached.

In trying to find their footing, new employees often concentrate on learning the plays without truly understanding the dynamics of the whole team. It's difficult to comprehend the team's strategy without a sound knowledge of the company's structure, its vision and values, the subtleties of its products or services, and a clear comprehension of their roles.

But don't worry, you've found the right playbook to navigate this field. This article will help you design the game plan for an effective onboarding process in your medtech organization, ensuring every new recruit is ready to step onto the field quickly and confidently.

What is onboarding, and why does it matter?

Imagine that a health IT organization is a high-speed train moving at 180 m/h – just like a purposeful, energetic team confidently approaching its goals. In order to maintain this speed for a long time, every part of the train must work smoothly. The company, the workforce, and the internal processes should interact harmoniously and productively. To make sure the train continues to barrel down the track even when a new employee starts, it is necessary to insert a "new railway carriage" into the middle of the train or to replace the retired carriage with a new one without slowing it down.

How can the hiring manager change the old car of a moving train and not lose the accumulated business speed? That's where the application of proper corporate onboarding will help.

To be clear however; onboarding is not just a tour around the office or a brief story about the tasks the employee must work with. It is the long strategic process of assisting new staff with the immersion into the social and performance aspects of their new roles. During this period, a newcomer gets acquainted with the working conditions, projects, team, corporate culture, problems solving approaches, etc. 

According to staffing and human resources specialists, a digi-health company’s onboarding process for new employees should span at least one year, despite most leaders thinking solely of the first few days and weeks of a new worker's tenure being critical for guaranteeing high retention.

New employee onboarding may be primary or secondary. The first is designed to acclimate new personnel, while the second is intended for promoted employees. Onboarding isn’t just for those new to the company, contrary to popular opinion. Promoted employees also require time to adjust to their new working conditions and responsibilities.

Executives are frequently subjected to the most time-consuming and complex onboarding procedures, as they are considered to be critical for a company's success or failure, and more resources are allocated to their recruitment. Nevertheless, employee onboarding experts believe that investing more time in all employees, including entry-level, has significant potential.

If your onboarding processes are organized properly, the new-hire quickly joins the team, works efficiently, and stays in your company longer. According to research from Brandon Hall Group, firms with an effective onboarding procedure increase new hire retention rate by 82% and productivity levels by over 70%.

Ignoring the important process of onboarding can lead to the following consequences:

  • Loss of top talent, and the value they would have created had they stayed
  • Waste of the leader’s, recruiter's, and employee’s time, in addition to water resources
  • Lost institutional knowledge
  • Lost business development opportunities
  • Diminishing of the company brand

Why do employees leave during the onboarding period?

According to OC Tanner, 20% of employees leave their company in their first 45 working days. It means that one out of every five employees will work in the company for no more than 1.5 months. The reasons why this is the case comes down to three easily solvable issues with most onboarding processes.

1. Incorrect job description

Many professionals experience the "expectation versus reality" effect due to incorrect job descriptions and untruthful hiring manager stories during the interview. Only 40% of employees say that their work responsibilities do not differ from those listed in the vacancy, as a 2020 HiBob HR study stated.

When posting a job description, it is necessary to accurately describe the working conditions and responsibilities and then discuss them in detail during the interview. Inform the candidate about her position, tasks, the team she will be working with, the current project, and other nuances.

2. Rookies don't feel like a part of a team

The health IT company’s leaders and HR managers have to focus not only on creating an onboarding plan for a newcomer but also on fostering effective team communication. The thing is that understanding and adjusting to novel tasks is not nearly as challenging for employees as the adaptation to a new team. And 49% of 2020 Hibob research respondents named making friends as the top strategy for integrating into a new team.

3. Lack of help and support

38% of Hibob respondents say that during their first working days, they are more comfortable being in the company of other newcomers during their onboarding. And 31% of employees prefer various interactive activities during onboarding. These can be entertaining videos explaining the details of work, games, or simulations to maintain interest.

For example, the international hotel chain Marriott created a game for candidates at the stage of interviewing and onboarding newcomers, "My Marriott Hotel." During the game, the new-hires can manage their hotel, design a restaurant, and serve guests. Depending on how well the tasks are performed, candidates either get points or lose them. The game has made it very easy for beginners to adapt, as they immediately understand (and get to virtually experience) their primary duties.

7 steps for successful onboarding

Even though many online tools and processes are created to facilitate the onboarding of new recruits, nothing can beat a human touch in making a great first impression, and here are the top 7 tips for how to do so:

1. Craft a plan

Creating a plan is the first stage in its execution. You should develop a pre-boarding procedure that outlines everything that must be completed prior to the new employee's arrival. 

At this stage, you may determine which onboarding tasks can be automated. Thereby, you may devote your time to the tasks of high priority, leaving the rest to automated systems.

2. Forewarn the team

After structuring your pre-boarding plan, you should add a particular assignment to notify your existing staff of the new hire's arrival. Nothing is worse than beginning your first day without anyone greeting you or even being aware of your presence.

Informing your current employees of the new-hire’s start date allows everyone to prepare for his first day on the job. It increases transparency and interaction and guarantees you are set for the new employee’s debut. 

Don't forget to gather the major players in the company concurrently to greet the new hire. Meetings should be scheduled beforehand so that they may begin making connections and absorbing fundamental elements of the digital health company's culture as soon as possible. Think of bringing in a mentor from inside the firm to help with this incorporation.

3. Use a personal approach

Distributing standard onboarding materials is not what anyone would ever call exciting. Wouldn't you feel considerably more welcome if your onboarding process was tailored for you? Personalization is just what you need to engage new recruits about their roles inside the organization.

Identify the unique requirements of your new-hires as the first step in implementing this policy. Then, you may build a pre-boarding and onboarding procedure that meets these needs.

4. Ask their advice about the hiring process

Freedom of expression promotes feelings of acceptance, appreciation, and care. Everybody shares these emotions across the board. When employees are satisfied with their job, when they feel valued and appreciated, your turnover reduces and the engagement within your company deepens. Asking for your new-hire’s viewpoint on your recruitment and hiring processes can create those feelings of appreciation that are vital to employee success.

Moreover, it provides you with helpful information on the benefits and drawbacks of your hiring process, enabling you to optimize it. Even before beginning formal employment, the new-hire has already made valuable contributions to the organization and is feeling appreciated.

5. Give some admin assistance

It's common knowledge that there's a lot of red tape for a new employee to go through. Initial tasks for new hires typically include signing several documents, learning how to use the company's software, and arranging their work area. However, a new-hire’s first few days shouldn't be so dreary. Giving fresh members a hand demonstrates that you support them and wish to see them flourish in their roles.

Creating a business email account before they start is a nice gesture to consider. Small things such as these show that you are thinking of them before their initial day has even begun. Offering some extra help also encourages new employees to forge ahead and gain momentum at work sooner.

By completing these steps in advance of the new hire's start date, the organization can ensure that they are fully integrated into the company's communications systems. Additionally, it allows them to get acquainted with any piece of technology before they are required to use it and manage any bugs or access issues.

6. Provide precise instructions beforehand

Half of all employees reportedly worry about showing up late to work on their first day. Even though punctuality is a common concern for new employees, it's not the only one.

Fears like this will only escalate if they aren't addressed, but you may calm their minds by providing them with detailed instructions for their first day. The level of stress can also be reduced by the establishment of transparency and communication channels.

Checking up the newly hired employees should become a routine for the first month. An HR specialist or direct manager might send a more personal email in addition to the work-related ones. For instance, they can inquire about the paperwork and tech issues or ask if there are any questions.

7. Special approach for foreign recruitment

There are thousands of qualified candidates out there, and a recruiter may find someone from another country who would be a perfect fit for the required position. It's much simpler to oversee foreign recruits when your staff can work remotely.

However, if you have an excellent pre-boarding program in place, you can still successfully hire internationals in an office setting. If the medtech firm employs foreign citizens, you will need to provide them with more resources and guidance than the average employee. Therefore, be ready to respond to their concerns and queries.

A proactive strategy is always the best option: always take the initiative. Get out there and look for ways to ease their transition. According to a 2023 survey by Global Mobility Trends, found that the average relocation notice period for overseas employees is 30 days. However, 20% of organizations give their employees less than 30 days notice, and 10% give them more than 60 days notice.

You are well aware that such overseas employees are assets to your organization, and you do not want them to fall between the cracks due to a negative pre-boarding scenario. Be available to answer their inquiries and provide assistance in any possible manner.

Looking to anchor your digital health career firmly on board instead of seeing them jump ship after a month? It's time to give your onboarding process the attention it deserves. Get in touch with us at AMG - we're ready to spill the beans on the latest strategies, cutting-edge tech tools, and key aspects of an outstanding medtech onboarding experience. Drop us a line today and let's set sail toward perfect onboarding together!

Posted by Mitch Robbins

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