The skills gap is widening and workers are feeling it. It’s causing significant stress.

In fact, Lynda.com recently conducted an online survey of nearly 10,000 respondents, and found about half of them lack confidence in their job skills. Inevitably, a person’s confidence affects their mental state and in turn can negatively affect performance. 

This presents a problem when onboarding new hires. Chances are, they’re feeling the pressure to know everything health care related right from the start. The survey found this was the case with 94 percent of respondents. This makes settling into their new roles a potentially rocky experience without the right people and tools to help guide them through the healthcare industry as we know it.

Here are some tips to help bring out your new hires’ best qualities from day one at your agency through the right onboarding and social learning experiences:

1. Provide a training path.
To be successful, every learning and development initiative needs to begin with a plan. New hires need to know with whom they are training, when they’re training, and what they’ll learn so they don’t feel lost coming into work each day. That alone will kill confidence. With a plan and learning path in place, new hires will know what is expected and where they need to end up. There is a clear finish line for them to cross. 

Define a clear training plan for each new hire to follow based on the position, current level of knowledge, and experience on the subject matter. New hires will feel bored or like their time is being wasted when they’re already familiar with the material. Customize the training plan to their needs. 

2. Show how and where to ask questions.
No matter the clarity of job duties or task steps, new hires still face unexpected challenges in the workplace. In fact, a Glassdoor survey conducted by Harris Interactive in 2013 reveals 6 in 10 workers found their job different than they expected it to be.

Questions will pop up, especially with health care, different scenarios with clients and patients that one potentially has not encountered before; new hires will need to know where they can get answers for a smooth learning experience. Instead of referring them to one person, use the collective knowledge of the entire team to help them out. Create a space where they can seek advice from everyone, such as a Q&A forum. Crowdsourcing answers will ensure they are getting a variety of opinions for a more complete picture of a process with plenty of tips.

3. Give them tools to contact someone for immediate help.
We’re beginning to see workplaces harness the power of social tools for communication, especially with the sprouting of such apps over the last few years.

I can’t think of a time when an instant messaging tool wouldn’t come in handy. Trainers and supervisors aren’t always around when new hires encounter problems and there will be times when they need an immediate answer. They need some kind of communication tool that lets them reach out to others for immediate help, even if it’s basic mobile messaging. Just knowing they have the ability to contact someone for help will help them feel more comfortable navigating the unexpected bumps in the road. Because those bumps are inevitable regardless if we are speaking about the healthcare industry or any other industry, immediate responsiveness is crucial. 

4. Schedule one-on-one meetups with more experienced team members.
When set up properly, mentoring can be a frontrunner for more confident, competent employees. In my experience and research, the most successful mentorships occur when both people have knowledge to share. This is leads to “reversed mentoring.” This form of mentorship is when the less experienced employee mentors the more experienced employee for a session or two on a skill they possess that is beneficial to the home care agency that they have learned along the way.

Business strategist and benefits consultant Deana Calvelli stated in her January 2013 article published in the Philadelphia Business Journal: “Reverse mentoring is an inexpensive way for your organization to make younger employees feel more confident and valued.” Quite simply, younger employees don’t just want to be taught, they also want to teach. They want to feel like they can give and not just get.

Calvelli continues with an example of how a two-way mentoring relationship can help close the knowledge gap. “Millennials have the highest level of utilization of social media, while Boomers can share the business savvy they have attained over many years,” she stated.

Help new hires identify team members with experience in the various home care areas they need to learn. Encourage one or two meetings or calls, and if the mentorship is a good fit, let it continue until either one feels the need to move on. If not, don’t force it. Everyone connects and learns differently, so allow platforms like showdme to ensure the mentorship plan is flexible to accommodate the new hire’s needs. 

Help new hires identify team members with experience in the various home care areas they need to learn. Encourage one or two meetings or calls, and if the mentorship is a good fit, let it continue until either one feels the need to move on. If not, don’t force it. Everyone connects and learns differently, so allow platforms like showdme to ensure the mentorship plan is flexible to accommodate the new hire’s needs. 

One of the greatest challenges when onboarding new hires is the lack of confidence that comes from the minimal know-how when starting a new role. With your company culture, history, departments, procedures, and case-by-case situations, there’s a lot for a new hire to take in on the first day. It’s a new company, even if the hire is coming from a different home care agency, the dynamics and culture will vary greatly amongst companies. Reassure them. Connect them with other employees and information to learn, then watch them soar.

How are you helping boost the confidence of your new hires?