For decades, the orienting and training of new hires, now referred to as “onboarding,” has been a nebulous process at best.

By Susan Saldibar

For decades, the orienting and training of new hires, now referred to as “onboarding,” has been a nebulous process at best.

A typical “first day” for a new hire has consisted of filling out an endless parade of forms, followed by sporadic meetings, conducted out of any logical order to accommodate other employees’ busy schedules. Finally, a scramble by a blindsided IT staff to get emails, passwords, and any other needed technology organized.

By the end of the first day, you have an employee who feels like a burden to everyone. He or she is hesitant to ask questions for fear of interrupting someone’s mission critical work, and feels disconnected to the community’s infrastructure. After a few weeks, you have an employee who was never engaged from day one and who may become part of the 32+% turnover rate senior living communities complain about.

Technology really, really can help.

First, let’s be clear, technology can’t fix everything. A big part of successful onboarding lies in the organization of the process itself, as well as creating a culture that recognizes the importance of each new hire to the community. That’s the leadership part and no amount of technology can fix a broken link at that level.

But there is a lot that technology can and is doing thanks to industry leaders, like iTacit, a Senior Housing Forum partner. Technology, when supported by solid programs can create a strong central point of control and remove time and place barriers that previously hampered many of the onboarding processes.

Technology helps you become better prepared to engage your new hire.

Here are some stand-out benefits of using technology in the onboarding process.

  1. Single access control: All documents, forms, and other files can be centrally accessible online. And, they can be organized in a manner that allows collaboration; so questions about who is doing what are minimized. This also helps with team members who are part of the orientation process; they can schedule their time in advance to make sure the process runs smoothly without interruption.

  2. Security: Forms and employee records can be kept safe behind password-only access.

  3. Accountability: Management can keep track of, not only the progress of new hires, but the tools and training he or she needs to get started. If there are delays, they can be noted and management can be alerted.  

  4. Easy to update: Tools are available to enable updating of records and other materials online.  

  5. Faster onboarding: The entire process is faster if it’s all automated and connected. If the new hire comes into your system via your own recruiting site, they can be added to your new hire list with a click of a box. Required training and documents are pre-assigned and online, providing flexibility of training and forms completion. New hires can complete forms before the first day of work. He or she can complete required training at their convenience –  at home or over the weekend – instead of having to come onsite.

  6. A positive initial experience for the new hire: When a new hire walks into a senior living community with everything in place for them, it sets a positive message from the beginning: we value you, we believe in you, we are happy to have you on the team.

And, transitioning from traditional to online systems doesn’t have to derail the operations of your community, according to Judy Finn, Marketing Director for iTacit. “True, there will be some re-vamping of existing programs to maximize their effectiveness in an online, mobile-connected world,” she says. “But we have developed tools to help organize the many processes and tasks associated with onboarding to make it much less painful to make the move,” she adds.

So, what is holding up senior living communities from making the move? Judy tells us that it’s the fear that it’s way too complex and the person responsible is overworked.  

“They continue to adopt the ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it’ mentality,” she says. “When in reality, it is broken but people are reluctant to confront it,” says Judy.  

“But now is the time to tackle it head on. Those who take the leap will find it better than they ever expected!”

For more information on using technology to attract and keep new employees,

click on the logo button below to visit the iTacit website.

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