Employer of Choice Part 3: Onboarding New Hires and Retaining Your Teams

Nov 30, 2021 | Human Resources

Welcome to our 3-part blog series on Becoming an Employer of Choice
  1. Stand Out With Your Compensation & Benefits
  2. Find Success with Recruitment
  3. Onboarding New Hires and Retaining Your Teams

Engagement Matters

The Achievers report

A full 69% of the workforce is eyeballing the door.

That’s according to the latest Engagement and Retention Report from Achievers Workforce Institute. The report indicates that 52% of employed people surveyed plan to look for a new job in 2021. Another 17% are undecided.

The report also made a strong case that feeling engaged is what drives employee loyalty — and that feeling engaged hinges on things other than ping-pong tables and bring-your-dog-to-work day.

So how do you build employee loyalty? Let’s start by adapting a classic.


Maslow at work

A classic model in psychology is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It’s a blueprint for how to feel fulfilled in life (or self-actualized), usually depicted as a pyramid. The farther you move up the pyramid, the closer you are to feeling fulfilled. You only move up when you’ve met your needs at your current level.

The foundation of the pyramid is the basic things you need to survive, such as water, shelter, and clothing. If you have those things, your next level up is about safety and security, and the next is a sense of belonging and connection. The fourth level is esteem for oneself and respect from others. The final and fifth level is when you realize your potential and become the most you can be.

Gallup developed a survey that brings Maslow’s hierarchy into the workplace, but with only four levels in the pyramid: Basic Needs, Individual, Teamwork, and Growth. Survey questions matched one of these four needs, for example:

  • Do I know what’s expected of me? Do I have the right tools to be successful? (Basic Needs)
  • Do I receive recognition for work well done? Do I have a mentor? (Individual)
  • Is my opinion valued? Do I have work friends? (Teamwork)
  • Has anyone discussed my progress or growth opportunities? (Growth)

This pyramid is a great roadmap for onboarding and engagement.


Onboarding: The First 90 Days

The bottom of the pyramid is about meeting an employee’s basic needs in the first 90 days to ensure their long-term success.


Build a foundation

Create a clear and concise plan. It should list and describe job duties, things that need to be learned, standard operating procedures, and a rough timeline. Gather all the resources and equipment they’ll need and set up their workspace well before they start.


Assign a mentor

The best mentor for a new employee is a peer. Have the new employee shadow the mentor for the first few weeks or months. Then have the mentor shadow the new employee and offer feedback as they undertake their daily tasks.

Why have a peer as a mentor, and not you? The stakes are a lot lower in front of a peer. You have this implicit permission to make mistakes, which is how learning happens. If it has to be you, that’s fine, but make it clear that it’s OK to mess up, because you recognize they’re learning.


Involve the team

A cohesive team understands each other’s roles and responsibilities. Have new providers shadow the front desk for a week or two. Have new support staff observe several types of appointments and receive a hearing evaluation, so they know what the experience is like.

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Communication Through the Employee Life Cycle

This is the most important piece of any onboarding and retention strategy. It’s a communication plan you should use for both new employees and your entire team indefinitely.



The one-on-one format is simple. Ask the employee what’s going well, what still needs work, and what you can do to help support them. One-on-ones can be handled by an owner or the office manager, whichever makes more sense for your practice.

During an employee’s first 90 days, meet weekly with them and, separately, with their mentor. Make it a priority — you need to ensure any roadblocks are removed that might impede their learning the job.

You should have on-on-ones with all your team members, no matter how long they’ve been with your practice. You’ll know based on your employee mix how often to have them. Some practices do well with monthly one-on-ones. For others, semi-monthly is the sweet spot.

We can’t reiterate this enough — schedule the time, protect the time, and hold these meetings without fail. Constantly canceling or rescheduling one-on-ones sends the message that your staff aren’t a priority to you.


Personal, professional, and financial goals

During a new employee’s first 90 days, you should discuss their personal, professional, and financial goals (PPFs). Help them tie their goals to the goals of the practice. They’ll see how their work impacts the practice as well as how the practice’s success impacts them.

Have PPF conversations every year with each employee to continue the conversation. Remember their goals and bring them up occasionally throughout the year. They’ll know you truly heard them and care about their success.


Team meetings

Next, hold regular team meetings — on a weekly basis if possible — in the first few months of a new employee’s time at the practice. It’s a built-in chance to get everybody on the same page and help your team bond.

Continue them after a new employee’s first 90 days, but feel free to adjust the frequency depending on your team’s needs. Just ensure you do hold them regularly.


Initial 90-day performance review

Ninety days isn’t enough to completely learn a job. It is, however, enough time to see if a new employee is working out. It’s also enough time to compile feedback so you can let the new employee know how they’re doing and what they still need to work on.


Annual appraisals

Conduct performance reviews on an annual basis. If you do them all at the same time of year, you get them all out of the way at once. If you do them every year at the employee’s hire date, you’re doing performance reviews throughout the year. Whichever route you choose, be consistent and steadfast about conducting reviews each year with each employee.


A Four-Point Employee Retention Plan

Communication is so important, in fact, that we made it the first element of our four-point employee plan for retaining talent well beyond The Great Resignation.


Ensure a consistent experience through the employment life cycle

As discussed already, develop a detailed communication strategy and follow it consistently for every employee. This creates a sense of fairness and a close relationship with you.


Encourage constructive feedback

Build a culture where constructive feedback is accepted, considered, and acted upon. Ask for feedback on your own leadership. Provide feedback on how somebody is doing their job. But always do it with gentleness and respect.


Understand what your employees value

Develop an understanding of what your employees value. That happens through the PPF conversations. Whether it’s work-life balance, financial security, or career growth, find a way to honor what they value. For example, if they want career growth, but your practice doesn’t have very many employees, think outside the box: Let them take classes on the brain and how it relates to hearing, send them to trainings, or give them ownership of a practice priority, such as physician outreach.


Build a culture of recognition and appreciation

This is the most important part of the four-point plan. It can be free — it doesn’t have to be expensive pizza parties. Make a commitment: Every week, think of one thing that each of your team members did that was great, and share it in a meeting, a note, or an email to the team.

Praise has a domino effect. People repeat the behaviors that they’re praised for. People copy the behaviors they see other people receiving praise for. Make it personalized. Make it public. Do it on a regular basis.


A little effort goes a long way

All these things require a just little bit of additional time and effort on your part, but they pay off. Even if your employee notices an enticing, higher-paying job elsewhere, they’ll think, “Why would I go elsewhere when I can achieve my goals here? Plus, I have great work-life balance, and I love the people I work with.”


Be an Employer of Choice

With just a few important pieces in place, you can establish yourself as an employer of choice in an ever-evolving market. And you don’t have to do it alone. Our HR experts can help you build the team of your dreams.

So don’t wait — reach out to your SBU today, or contact our Membership Development Team to learn more.