Standardized Onboarding Reduces Turnover of Pharmacy Technicians


The primary point of contact, called the Technician Success and Onboarding Coordinator (TSOC), is a new role created specifically to improve pharmacy technician retention.

Pharmacy technicians have integral responsibilities in pharmacy operations but a recent survey by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists confirmed that hospitals and health systems are experiencing significant shortages of pharmacy technicians.1 This technician turnover is expensive, disruptive to patient care, and degrades other pharmacy personnel’s job satisfaction.

The University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) pharmacy department implemented changes to their pharmacy technician onboarding process to improve technician retention and reduce turnover. Their original onboarding program included hospital and pharmacy department training programs. It did not, however, provide a designated contact person, enough time to ask questions, or many of the administrative tasks involved with starting a new position. The revised onboarding program includes a designated point of contact, standardized and expanded onboarding activities, formalized new technician feedback, and exposure to a wider range of pharmacy roles.2

Onboarding new staff member and company work training tiny person concept. Employee career ladders and job guide or task explanation steps vector illustration. Manager qualification or growth process.

Image credit: VectorMine |

The primary point of contact, called the Technician Success and Onboarding Coordinator (TSOC), is a new role created specifically to improve pharmacy technician retention. The TSOC mentors new pharmacy technicians and focuses on successfully onboarding each new hire. The TSOC ensures completion of all onboarding and training activities, answers questions, and administers new hire surveys. The TSOC is also responsible for communicating with veteran employees to improve overall department satisfaction.2

With the TSOC’s help, the department expanded onboarding documentation to include all administrative tasks required for new employees. The onboarding process now documents activities such as obtaining a parking pass and obtaining scrubs. The department also created standardized materials such as shift checklists that new technicians use to demonstrate when they are ready to perform shift responsibilities independently.2

The revised onboarding program gathers feedback in the form of open-ended survey questions from new technicians 2 weeks post-hire. New technicians complete similar surveys periodically throughout their first 3 months of employment. The TSOC compiles responses and implements changes to the program based on feedback from these surveys.2

During the original onboarding process, new technicians spent time with trainers and their direct supervisors. The revised onboarding program adds a dedicated resource in the form of the TSOC and scheduled time with the pharmacy director, the medication safety technician, and other pharmacy personnel. The revised program also provides full days for new technicians to shadow pharmacy leaders and plenty of time to ask questions.2

UMMC tracked pharmacy technician turnover and established that the revisions to their onboarding program improved employee retention by 13%. Based on an average $4700 expense for onboarding a employee,3 this improvement justified the cost of the TSOC role for their large academic medical center. They concluded that investment in technician retention can improve employee turnover and reduce costs and they suggested alternative solutions for smaller organizations that cannot justify a designated TSOC.

About the Author

Lori R. Donnelly, PharmD, is a consultant at BluePeak Advisors in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.


1. Survey reveals severe shortage of pharmacy technicians in hospitals and health systems. Published May 15, 2022. Accessed January 14,2024.

2. Arrona KL. Implementation of a technician success and onboarding coordinator to reduce technician turnover. Am J Health Syst Pharm. Published online December 23, 2023. doi:10.1093/ajhp/zxad323.

3. Pugh, MR. From Recruitment to Onboarding, What’s the True Cost of Hiring Employees? Accessed January 15, 2024.

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