Tips for Efficiently Onboarding Caregivers

by | Oct 2, 2018


Onboarding vs. Orientation[1]

Onboarding is a continuous process whereas orientation only spans over a couple of days and introduces the new hire to the company.  Home health agencies that have efficient onboarding procedures have a large advantage over those that don’t as it helps new hires get up to speed quickly.  Additionally, having structured onboarding will show to the new caregiver that you (and the agency) are invested in their success. Therefore, they will be eager to begin their new role and consequently, they will quickly begin making positive contributions.  Do not confuse onboarding with orientation and vice versa.


Common Onboarding Mistakes[2]

  • Bland onboarding
    • Bland and boring onboarding is a common occurrence in the workplace.  The effects of blasé onboarding are long-lasting – it can increase the time to proficiency and company culture adoption, as well as increased frustration.  All of these can lead to turnover. It’s important for agencies to provide plenty of guidance to ensure caregiver success.
  • Overwhelming onboarding
    • Overwhelming onboarding can be just as detrimental as underwhelming onboarding.  Dumping too much information and paperwork on the caregiver can easily make them feel defeated, decreasing their excitement to work.  Instead of providing the caregiver too much information, narrow it down based on what will be important in one, three, and six months.  This will also personalize the onboarding process based on what the caregiver will (and won’t) need to know.
  • Delaying work
    • It’s common for new hires to not receive any work on their first day.  This leaves a bad impression as it represents a lack of preparedness from the hiring manager/team.  In addition, make sure that all of the tools that the caregiver needs are ready prior to their first day.  
  • Isolating the caregiver
    • Failure to include and introduce the caregiver with the rest of the team will decrease their morale.  Having a sense of team spirit will make the caregiver feel more committed to the agency. Connect the new caregiver with the rest of the team and give them mentors.  


Onboarding Tips [1][2]

  • Set expectations
    • During the first day of onboarding, make it clear to the employee “…what’s expected on them, what they can offer, and why they’re important to the team.”[1] This creates a sense of purpose, clarity, and identity with the agency.
  • Send paperwork ahead of time
    • Allow the caregiver to fill out as much paperwork as possible prior to their first day.  This will prevent them from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Connect with the caregiver
    • Even though the new hire is an employee, there’s no reason to act incredibly strict and cold around them.  Connect with the new caregiver to make them feel welcome and part of the team. Engage in friendly conversation and ask them questions about their likes and dislikes.  These conversations will help leave a position first impression.


Tips to Streamline Your Onboarding Process[1]

Streamlining the onboarding process at your agency can make it very efficient.  Some streamlining tips:

  • Leverage technology to personalize onboarding
    • Use technology such as a hiring and applicant tracking system.  This will keep applicant data in a single location. Consider sending a pre-screening survey to see what your client is skilled in and what they need more training on.  You can then take this information and use it to specialize the onboarding to the caregiver.
  • Automate as much as possible
    • An applicant tracking system can also automatically send important paperwork and training materials to your caregiver (and will notify you if the caregiver hasn’t filled out documentation).  This will allow them to fill out corresponding paperwork and start training prior to their first day. Consequently, they can begin working as soon as possible, rather than spending time filling out documents on their first day.    
  • Be consistent
    • Every caregiver will have different tasks and priorities, so their onboarding should tailor to their needs.  However, all new caregivers should receive the same overall messages (such as welcome messages) that display agency values, mission, and standards.

Keep in mind that onboarding sets the tone for each new caregiver.  There is a direct correlation between poor onboarding and high turnover rates, so make this first impression positive.

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