McLeod Health Strategic Onboarding Helps Retain Skilled Talent

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McLeod Health, a healthcare organization dedicated to patients and their families, was founded in 1906. McLeod is a locally owned, not-for-profit institution that features the strength of nearly 400 physicians on the medical staff and more than 1,400 nurses. The organization prides itself on modern facilities, premier technology, and a dedication to improving the health of the communities it serves.

The staff of McLeod is composed of 4,700 employees spread throughout its medical center, health agency, fitness facility and 35 medical practices. McLeod Regional Medical Center is located in Florence, South Carolina and has 453 licensed beds, and 40 additional neonatal intensive care unit beds.

With 4,700 employees and multiple locations, McLeod was looking for the best way to streamline its HR processes. The company found itself saddled with a recruiting management system that no longer hit its “sweet spot,” and a pressing need for an onboarding system that could simplify a complicated process and quickly get employees engaged and productive.

The company averages nearly 1,000 requisitions a year and found it was taking nearly 268 minutes to “touch” a new hire. McLeod needed to cut down the time it took to find and hire candidates.

The Recruiting Challenge

McLeod had been with its previous recruiting management vendor for more than five years, and had not received a product upgrade. When the vendor ultimately did decide to upgrade the product, the new software did not work well with McLeod’s systems and caused numerous problems.

More importantly, the solution was no longer a fit for McLeod’s core business, and the company decided it was time to research new options.

The company needed a recruiting management vendor – and a solution – that allowed human resources to quickly change job codes and titles in the system, and permitted McLeod staffers to add and remove entire departments in a short time frame.

“Somewhat unique to our industry is the fact that we make a lot of changes to job codes and titles. We add departments and job codes pretty frequently to our system; at least several times a week,” said Renee Anderson, Recruiting Manager, McLeod Health. With the previous vendor’s system, any changes of this sort took at least two days to implement, a delay that was unacceptable for McLeod’s fast-paced organization and business needs.

“When I get calls from our CEO asking why something hasn’t been posted yet – that’s not a good thing,” said Anderson.

McLeod needed a solution that was adaptable, fast and accurate.

The Onboarding Challenge

The onboarding process that McLeod had in place was complicated and unmanageable. The company wanted to find a solution that could provide a better candidate experience and help to condense several processes.

McLeod holds new hire orientation every Monday, and hoped to be able to cut back on orientation time as well as streamline paperwork (e.g., getting employees signed up for direct deposit and forwarding paperwork to departments before candidates start). The company wanted to keep orientation from getting bogged down with items such as “how to operate a fire extinguisher” and move it to more high-level items like customer care.

In a challenge specific to healthcare, the company also had numerous governing bodies to answer to, and needed ironclad processes in place to make sure they were meeting all compliancy standards, such as the standards required to receive Medicare reimbursement. Knowing there were a lot of details involved in being compliant, leadership at McLeod wanted a system with date and time stamping that allowed easy tracking.

The company was looking to minimize that hassle to improve the new hire experience, along with reducing the amount of paper used in bringing on new hires.

McLeod also wanted to find a system that could auto-fill fields in its HRMS system. McLeod had developed a solution to handle I-9’s but was looking for something more comprehensive.

For SilkRoad Onboarding, the winning feature was its configurability. With SilkRoad, the overall strength of the product would allow the company to streamline onboarding.
– McLeod Health


McLeod’s needs for both a new recruiting management and a new onboarding solution set them on the hunt for the best vendor options. While attending a human resources conference, McLeod staffers vowed to visit every vendor booth on the floor to hear about all of the products on the market.

The company brought a list of needs it had developed at a previous “meeting of the minds” and cross-referenced the “must-haves” on the list with each vendor. After comparing offerings to the list of tasks, McLeod identified seven possible choices.

Out of those vendors the company met with five vendors, including SilkRoad technology, for demonstrations.

After the demonstrations, McLeod selected SilkRoad’s Recruiting and SilkRoad Onboarding.

For SilkRoad Recruiting, the winning feature was its configurability. The solution gave McLeod the ability to update information and job listings immediately. With SilkRoad Onboarding, the overall strength of the product would allow the company to streamline onboarding. Both products integrated well with the existing HRMS, and could provide a large time savings in data entry.

“The configurability has just enabled us to go in and out of the job code templates and change different things we need to change, helping us to get jobs posted in real-time and immediately,” said Anderson.


“It’s definitely saving us paper and it is definitely saving us time and since time is money and paper is money – it is saving us money,” said Heather Grier, McLeod Health.

Since implementation, McLeod has benefited greatly from both SilkRoad Recruiting and SilkRoad Onboarding. Before SilkRoad Recruiting, it took the company 268 minutes to “touch” a new hire. With the SilkRoad solution in place the company has reduced that time to just 30 minutes, with plans in place to cut it down even further. The costs savings amounts to the equivalent of two full time employees.

The new ATS from SilkRoad costs less than McLeod’s previous solution, so the company experienced an immediate cost savings there, but the biggest benefit McLeod has enjoyed with SilkRoad Recruiting is the system’s configurability. McLeod can now update its ATS immediately, and no longer has to be placed in a queue.

SilkRoad Recruiting greatly improved the company’s accuracy in tracking jobs across several categories including active jobs, equal employment opportunity, applicants by source, applicants by location, time to fill, time to fill by locations, and time to fill by title.

As for SilkRoad Onboarding, the company has experienced an enormous time savings from the system’s efficiency, and has succeeded in giving new hires the better experience it wanted to provide. McLeod was able to cut the number of times new hires had to sign their name on the first day from 33 times to zero. As an additional benefit, SilkRoad Onboarding has permitted McLeod to cut Monday orientation sessions down by an hour. Instead of covering the rudimentary items that previously need to be included, the orientation focuses on quality care, customer service and operational effectiveness. The new shortened training allows McLeod to get to the heart of what the organization is about, and has given the training team back 20% of that training time each Monday.

Time savings has come from not only the shortened orientation, but features like E-Verify, which have made it much easier to confirm that new hires are eligible to work, and to get the appropriate documentation from them. “I am very pleased with the E-Verify feature – it’s so easy,” added Grier.

Outside of the HR department, McLeod’s new onboarding process has also saved other departments both time and money. It has allowed McLeod to simplify processes for the security, training, occupational health, and payroll departments.

For example, payroll staffers no longer have to attend orientation every Monday to pass out direct deposit forms and collect voided checks. HR is now able to handle that with an E-form for direct deposits that the new hires fill our when they fill out I-9s.

In the case of the Occupational Health Department, McLeod now provides an E-form for new hires to complete as well. The form is forwarded to the department days before the new hire arrives for his or her pre-employment physicals. During those days, the department can properly prepare for the new hire, making the appointment go much smoother – because the department can ensure it has all of the needed resources on hand for the appointment.

“SilkRoad Onboarding has made it a seamless process,” said Grier. “It has made our partnering departments’ lives easier. Everyone is really happy with it.”

The compatibility of both SilkRoad Recruiting and Onboarding with McLeod’s HRMS system also gave the company a significant time savings.

“The number of fields we’ve been able to integrate from SilkRoad Onboarding and Recruiting into our HRMS has been amazing,” said Grier.

“It has virtually obliterated our need to key new hires into our HRMS. It was two-thirds of one of our staff member’s job, and this has freed her up to work on more value-adding tasks within our department.”


–   It costs around $97,000 for the company to replace a nurse $143,000 to replace a critical care nurse – making speedy onboarding and high rates of retention key to the company’s success.

–    Another speed bump in the current onboarding strategy in place at McLeod was that new hires had to sign their names 33 times on orientation day. That’s right – 33 times!

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