Developing a Successful ASC Staff Onboarding Program

By June 28, 2018 June 11th, 2019 ASC Management, Leadership
Developing a Successful ASC Staff Onboarding Program

Onboarding plays a vital role in the success of new hires. An effective ASC staff onboarding program helps new employees acclimate to their role and environment while learning rules and responsibilities. Effective onboarding is also critical to employee retention. Staff are more likely to be satisfied, productive team members when they are provided with the knowledge and training needed to thrive in their positions. Some estimates put the cost of replacing an employee as high as 150 percent of their annual salary.[1] Retaining staff has a direct, positive impact on your bottom line.

ASC Onboarding Best Practices

To help improve the success of your ASC onboarding program, consider these recommendations.

Choose your HR representative carefully. The individual overseeing your human resources (HR) responsibilities is likely the first person new hires will meet on their first day of employment. This meeting sets the tone for the entire ASC onboarding experience. It’s your ASC’s opportunity to make a positive first impression and establish the standard for your positive culture. Your HR representative should be warm and approachable. New employees should come away from their time spent with HR feeling welcomed and valued. They should also understand your ASC’s plan and commitment to helping ensure they excel in their position.

Don’t move too fast. While you may be tempted to put new hires to work right away, refrain from extending too much responsibility too early. Improve the likelihood of job success by allocating appropriate time to cover essential rules and processes. This can include mandatory training, use of your ASC’s patient accounting system, emergency preparedness, and departmental policies and procedures. For new clinical staff members, complete this education and associated paperwork before they begin providing patient care. For new business office staff members, do so before they tackle any business tasks, especially those requiring compliance with HIPAA.

Be consistent. If multiple team members educate new staff, try to ensure training is consistent. Doing so will help you measure training results and efficiently address areas for improvement.

For example, many ASCs assign preceptors to new clinical staff. Each preceptor should know what they need to review to deliver complete, effective training. If you identify shortcomings, it will be easier to train all preceptors on the new information. This will provide confidence that new staff receive this revised education regardless of who fills the preceptor role.

Measure competency progress. As new hires move through your ASC onboarding process, measure their competency progress. One mechanism to consider using is a checklist. As new staff demonstrate proficiency in critical areas, the individuals tasked with overseeing training can indicate on the checklist that competency has been achieved. The checklist can also remind trainers to provide more focus on areas of competency deficits identified during the ASC onboarding process.

Check in periodically. Managers should periodically check in with new staff members throughout their training. While you can make this a formal process, such as scheduling time to speak after 30 and/or 60 days, informal discussions can be beneficial as well. Pull new hires aside at appropriate times to ask about the ASC onboarding process thus far. Are they receiving the training they need? Are questions being answered? How are they getting along with their trainers? Have they encountered any problems?

By asking these types of questions, you may discover opportunities to improve the ASC onboarding experience. After all, you want to make training as successful as possible. Everyone benefits if you can identify worthwhile changes earlier in the process.

Perform formal evaluation. At the end of the onboarding process, schedule a formal evaluation of new hires. Gather notes from trainers and any tools used to measure competency. Ask new hires specific questions about their role and responsibilities. Review competencies, verifying that new hires are adequately prepared to provide services without constant oversight.

If trainers have noted competencies in need of improvement, use this meeting to discuss how to address any limitations. Some areas may simply require reviewing educational materials at the meeting. If that will not suffice, you may need to extend training, focusing on competencies still requiring attention.

Hire Smart to Boost ASC Onboarding Success

The key to a successful ASC onboarding process is a successful hiring process. The onboarding process uses precious time and resources, including the skills and energy of multiple employees. You don’t want to waste these efforts on people who aren’t a good fit and do not remain with your ASC for long.

Here are some quick tips to help improve your hiring process:

  • Don’t hire too quickly. Unfilled job openings may require current staff to work overtime or your ASC to use part-time help. These options are better than rushing to hire people who might lack the qualifications to effectively fill positions.
  • Hire to fit your current culture. It’s important that new hires have the professional skills to fill your job openings. You also need individuals who possess strong interpersonal skills. New hires should contribute to your positive culture and encourage other team members to strive to succeed. Remember, one negative person can seriously damage your facility’s culture.
  • Look for shared vision. The people you hire should possess a vision for the ASC that aligns with that of your facility. For example, if you value compassion and productivity, look for those qualities in candidates.
  • Conduct initial interviews over the phone. Resumes, cover letters, and references only tell part of potential candidates’ stories. Before proceeding with face-to-face interviews, schedule telephone interviews. Go through a set list of questions to help determine whether candidates seem professionally and personally qualified for your openings. If you sense a good potential fit, proceed with in-person interviews. You’ll already have a feel for each candidate’s personality before they arrive, which should help interviews progress efficiently and effectively.

A careful, thoughtful hiring process is more likely to identify candidates who are likely to be successful in your environment. Once they arrive, an onboarding program focused on productivity and satisfaction will increase the likelihood new employees remain with your ASC for many years to come.


Jennifer Arellano, Director of Operations


[1] https://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/why-employee-turnover-is-so-costly.html

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