Abraham Cooperberg, LNHA, administrator at Long Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

If you want to set your new hires up for success, then you’ll need to start with a well-planned and deliberate training process. The training and experience a new hire receives during their first days at your senior care facility can set the tone for their employment.

If you want to improve your training and the experience of your new staff, consider implementing these six tips in your facility.

1. Be Prepared for the First Day

Stepping into a new job is naturally stressful, but by being prepared for your new hire’s first day, you can help ensure that the process goes smoothly. Take the time to make sure that you have everything ready so that your new hire can step right into the new role:

  • Uniforms and ID badges
  • Logins and passwords for online learning systems, security systems, and computers
  • Lockers and cubbies
  • All onboarding paperwork, if it hasn’t already been completed
  • Training systems and mentorship programs established and ready

Having everything in place for a new hire can help to make for a smooth transition, but it also indicates that your facility is well-prepared and values the employee experience.

2. Give Staff Hands-On Work

While technical training elements are essential to any staff training, focus on getting your new hires out on the floor early on in the training process, too.

Performing hands-on work can help staff to apply the technical elements that they’re learning to real-life examples, which can support learning and retention. The sooner that staff start working on the floor, the sooner they’ll feel like they’re contributing to your business and becoming valued team members.

Abraham Cooperberg, LNHA, Administrator at Long Beach Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Long Island, incorporates hands-on work early on in a new hire’s experience. “We have in-service training here that merges the classroom and hands-on experience,” states Cooperberg.

“The day is divided between a buddy-up system on the units and classroom time to learn our policies and procedures. We have found this to be an incredibly effective way of training our new hires and it makes the transition to our care facility easier and more seamless,” he says.

3. Connect Your New Hire with Mentors

Immediately connecting new hires with mentors can support effective, detailed training. When guided by a mentor, new hires have a trusted person who they can ask questions. An employee who has been with your business for years can help to teach a new employee about best practices, beneficial habits, and insights that can help them to do top-quality work.

Mentorship programs have other beneficial effects. A study by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations found that mentorship programs resulted in a 9 to 24 percent increase of the representation of black, Hispanic, and Asian-American women, as well as Hispanic and Asian-American men at management levels. The programs also increased the promotion and retention rates of minority men and women by as much as 15 to 38 percent.

4. Create a Personal Connection

Sometimes supporting and training new hires means you need to remember how you once felt as a new hire. “I like to put myself in their shoes by remembering how I felt on the first day of a new job,” explains Cooperberg. “Especially in the beginning, I like to make an effort to personally go and check on them to see how they’re doing, how they’re integrating to our system, and see if there is anything we can do to help our new team member.”

5. Establish Team Support

New hires can find significant support and guidance from their team members, but it’s important for you to stay active in helping to establish this support. Look for ways that you can help new hires get integrated into their teams, like by holding new hire greeting breakfasts or other team-building activities.

Cooperberg states that teams at his facility start each shift off with a team huddle. During the huddle, they introduce themselves and help each other with any challenges that they may be facing. A recurring huddle or meeting is not only valuable in introducing new hires, but it can also build relationships between staff and help keep everyone aware of current issues and challenges.

6. Establish an Open-Door Policy

An open-door policy can help new hires to feel valued and supported from their very first day with a business. Cooperberg states, “We have a chain of supervisors and department heads who all have open-door policies. We welcome any employee, no matter their level, to come to us and we do everything we can to make them feel welcome.”

This type of policy allows employees to feel comfortable in seeking out help and support. “Each employee will self-navigate toward a higher-up who they feel most comfortable speaking with. Our training for new hires teaches that we are all here for each other and our residents, making each employee feel that they can turn to their colleagues for help or advice.” With the support of an open-door policy, employees can seek out help when and where they need it.

New hires will be uncertain during their first few days on the job, but your training process can help to build confidence and lay the foundation for a long-term career with your facility.