UC Davis Health Celebrates First 90 Days of New Hire Surveys and Expands to Davis Campus

UC Davis values the perspectives of its new employees and their hiring managers, considering them invaluable partners in the effort to enhance the hiring experience.

In September 2023, UC Davis Health launched an onboarding survey to gather feedback from the hiring manager 30 days after the employee starts and at critical milestones for new hires: 30, 60, and 90 days. The Davis campus launched the same survey on December 13.

By collecting their insights and experiences, we aim to continuously improve our onboarding process to better support hiring managers and supervisors, as well as ensure that new employees feel welcomed, supported, and equipped for success.

The survey is being administered through Qualtrics and covers various aspects of the onboarding experience, including:

  • Welcome and integration
  • Equipment and resources
  • Overall satisfaction and retention

Responses, while not anonymous, are treated confidentially and are shared with limited administrators with valid business needs from the SSO Onboarding team, Workforce Strategies data team, and Employee and Labor Relations to ensure that an appropriate member can reach out to the hire if any questions or concerns are raised within the survey.

A Turnover Challenge

Like almost every industry, UC Davis experienced elevated turnover during the pandemic. As part of our commitment to staff retention, this project recognizes a significant trend—newly hired staff constitute a disproportionately high percentage of those separating from both UC Davis and UC Davis Health. 

For example, in FY2023 nearly 3,000 staff separated from UC Davis and UC Davis Health and 43% of those were only within 12 months of their hire date. By asking what newly hired staff think about joining UC Davis and what they need to be successful and confident in choosing their new roles, we're taking a proactive step at improving the retention of staff we worked so hard to recruit and onboard.

Initial Feedback and Success Stories

During the 90 day rollout at UC Davis Health, responses to the surveys and corresponding outreach were overwhelmingly positive. After surveying hundreds of people, over 90% satisfaction was reported. Feedback at the 30, 60, and 90 day marks included:

  • “My team did a great job of making sure I had everything I needed to perform my job successfully. They have been great about checking in regularly and keeping me informed of everything going on training related.” 
  • “As a remote employee the check-in sessions I had with my manager were without a doubt what contributed to a positive onboarding experience. I knew from day one, that I was part of a team where the UC Davis mission, vision and values were a priority.”
  • “I have been very happy overall onboarding. It would be nice to have a clearer understanding of the different path options available for my career growth, but I am sure that will come with time. I am very excited to see where I can go and grow within UC Davis. I definitely want to stay with UC Davis long term, and I am excited for the future.”

Other hires appreciated the follow up they received after submitting their surveys as these opened up another accessible channel to discuss questions or concerns. Another employee informed HR of an outdated folder on a UC Davis website which was promptly updated

By collecting data on the most valuable aspects of the onboarding process and corresponding outreach, we can continue to maintain and enhance these areas to ensure all new hires have an excellent experience integrating into UC Davis.

Taking Action for Continuous Improvement

Improving early experiences greatly influences engagement and can lower turnover. The surveys will provide continuous process improvement (CPI) opportunities for our onboarding and orientation experience.

Opportunity areas identified after the 90 day rollout at UC Davis Health included:

  • Clarity in processes and communication
  • Improved points of contact throughout the onboarding process
  • Enhanced readiness in equipment and systems access on day one

The surveys reflect our commitment to seeking objective and subjective measurements early in the new hire's career. Jim Hankins, Executive Director of the HR Shared Services Organization, said, “I would like to see the numbers at 100%. We hire so many people; we can't have hundreds of staff each year having anything but an exceptional experience.”

Next steps at UC Davis Health include addressing these areas of concern and continuing outreach to new hires to ensure new hires continue to have a positive experience.

On the UC Davis campus, survey distribution began December 13. Managers will receive surveys at 30 days and new hires, including transfers, will receive these surveys at the 30, 60, and 90 day marks of their employment. The goal is to move candidates swiftly into a place of productivity and belonging, aligning with the university's Strategic Plan to make UC Davis a place of excellence for learning and working.