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The Value of Onboarding

By Tammy McCausland

Debra Corbin is director of Radiation Oncology at Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in Atlanta, GA. She’s also president of the Society for Radiation Oncology Administrators.

As administrators, we cannot underestimate the value and impact of a comprehensive onboarding program. Onboarding is the first opportunity for new hires to get a true sense of our organization’s culture.

Our onboarding program is called “Walk In My Shoes," or WIMS for short. We’ve put a lot of effort into making sure our new hires feel welcome from the outset. Within two weeks of a new employee’s start date, they receive an invitation for a one-day orientation, which includes four key components:

  • A welcome presentation from the director
  • Complimentary lunch with the direct supervisor
  • A welcome swag bag
  • A 30-minute visit in each area of radiation oncology

We designed our WIMS program to provide new employees with a broad overview of the scope and roles of each team in radiation oncology. It addresses the department’s mission and expectations, and emphasizes the importance of being part of and contributing to the team. We have six expectations:

  • Be loyal to the mission and vision
  • Be capable, productive and efficient
  • Be flexible, cooperative and open to change
  • Freely voice your ideas, opinions, suggestions and concerns to the appropriate group or individual
  • Be forward-thinking and imaginative

Everyone on the team, from the front desk staff to our oncologists, has a valuable part to play in delivering quality patient care.

We also do a follow-up or check-in with new hires within 90 days of their start date. It’s an opportunity for us to see how they’re doing and for them to ask questions and provide feedback. New staff members have shared that the WIMS program is an awesome way to engage with the entire team and have an understanding of our cancer program.

It’s so beneficial for new employees to feel welcomed. Organizations often focus, perhaps inadvertently, on having big sendoffs and well wishes to staff leaving an organization. We see our WIMS program as a celebration of new employees that have chosen to be a part of our team—a team that delivers extraordinary care every day. Our onboarding program facilitates relationships and knowledge while establishing expectations of performance.


We want to hear from you!

Do you have a comprehensive onboarding program? Share what’s unique about your program and how it works for your staff.


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