The Importance of an Onboarding Process

The past two years have been a true eye-opener in the space of employee retention. In 2020 alone the estimated turnover in healthcare was roughly 19%.  Narrow that down to O&P and I would bet that our profession as seen an even higher turnover rate.  How can we do better?  Would you believe that one of the easiest ways to retain employees is to have a learning culture? A 2021 workplace survey report found that 94% of surveyed employees would stay with a company longer if a company invested in helping them learn. So where do you start?  At the beginning of course!  I cannot stress the importance of having a clear onboarding process for your new hires. 

What is an onboarding process?  Most of what we see stops at the “HR” tasks and getting logins to necessary technology.  Everything else is left to the imagination. We have them watch a few videos and then walk through a sample patient!  Sound familiar?  What if you could easily point back to the tasks completed in the onboarding process?  What if you had tangible evidence that your new hire was properly trained?  What was reviewed and assessed? Did they enter data for a new patient, scanned in an RX, scheduled an appointment, sent a DWO etc.…all while connecting it back to your patient care process?  You won’t know any of that unless it is documented.

If you have gotten this far, I have at least convinced you that you need an actual onboarding guide.  Now I will give you the next steps.

  1. Document the HR tasks

What systems will your new team member need access too?  What can you set up ahead of time?  Things like EMR systems, portals, VPNs can all be done prior to the first day.

  1. Document the big tasks

I refer to these as our “big bucket” items.  Scheduling a patient is a big bucket item.  Data entry would be another one to add.  There are several sub tasks for these big bucket items that we will detail out next, but start with your big buckets.

  1. Document the sub tasks that are crucial to getting the big task correct

In our big bucket example, we mentioned scheduling as something that would overarch smaller tasks. Now you need to define the smaller tasks to ensure accuracy and precision are accomplished in those big bucket tasks.  When you are defining your subtasks, think of the things you can measure.  Can you measure the percentage of missing physicians?  If so, that should be a subtask to train on.

  1. Plan the process for onboarding

What is realistic to accomplish on day 1? For most new employees’ day 1 is all of the HR tasks needed to start the training process.  Maybe they are able to watch training videos on this day.  Day 2 may be the day they start to shadow a team member to get an idea of the flow.  Ideally, by the end of week one you have been able to get your new employee in your system, performing basic data entry and can quickly assess if they are the right fit.  If your onboarding plan is on point, you will know no later than week 3 if your new hire is a keeper.

Our team has worked with several practices to create custom onboarding guides to fit their process. Send our team an email if you would like to work together to create yours!

About the Author: Jessica Norrell, CPO, MBA, is the owner of MOZN Solutions. With more than 19 years of healthcare experience, Jessica is passionate about helping practices thrive with strategic business solutions. To learn more, visit

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