Although it might sound more like a term from the air transportation industry or a type of penalty in a hockey game, the term “onboarding” actually refers to the process of acclimating new employees. Even in a temporary situation, some degree of onboarding is needed to help employees quickly integrate and become productive members of the work team.
One informal survey of traveling healthcare workers reported that about one-fourth of traveling healthcare workers feel welcomed by permanent staff where they’re working. And as far as the other three-fourths? Two-thirds of those outside that first group said that although their new co-workers aren’t exactly unfriendly, they do tend to keep them “on the outside”.
Most teams probably feel that they are receptive to travelers, especially in relief situations, but they may be unaware of how their newest colleagues actually perceive the situation. Here are four ways for a manager to counter the discomfort of a new situation for traveling employees:
- Learn the name
Whether the assignment is for a couple of days or for many months, one of the best steps a manager can take with a new employee is to usher him or her in with a proper introduction. Hiring personnel should make sure not only that everyone on the team knows that a new person will be joining them, but also that everyone knows the new employee’s name and responsibilities ahead of his or her arrival. If the team or facility is so large that word of mouth notification may not be effective, a systemwide email, a posted bulletin, or the company intranet can be used for the announcement.
- Open space
It’s wonderful to start with a clean slate, and another great way to make a new employee feel welcome is to make sure his or her personal space—whether it’s an office, cubicle, or even just a cubby—is clean and stocked with the necessary supplies for the newcomer’s first day. Don’t forget phone lists, handbooks, and other on-the-job reference materials.
- Logging in
Every new employee needs to have logins, passwords, and other access information for the facility’s computer systems and intranet. Making sure this information is available to the new employee on day one not only sets a tone that he or she is part of the team, but allows them to start contributing right away.
- Taking a break
Traveling healthcare professionals come into the situation already experienced and credentialed, so they’re eager to get to work. But what happens when it’s time to take a meal or coffee break? It’s nice to be invited to join the rest of the team at the table, or brought into the water cooler conversation. A simple “why don’t you join us?” often goes a long way in breaking through the awkwardness of a new workplace.
Following these four tips won’t guarantee an employee’s success, but they will go a long ways towards making sure he or she is comfortable in their new place of work. More comfort often means better employee performance, so be sure to follow these tips to make your workplace as receptive as possible to new employees.