The Annual Process: Interviewing to Onboarding
The Interview Season Begins
Residency interviews are both a job candidate's and a program's first impression. Many programs recognize this and provide calendar & virtual conferencing systems to create a seamless interview experience. There are a variety of software vendors that streamline the scheduling and video hosting processes of virtual interviewing.
After a series of interviews and ranking each prospective resident, the ERAS algorithm will set you up with your new hires. Although this excitement is mostly expressed by residents, it's a great opportunity for programs to share their appreciation for the incoming class.
Preparing for the Academic Year
After the match, each program has its approach for onboarding, but they all follow a similar process. Transferring ERAs information, collecting certifications, and employment contracts require a lot of time and proper management. Surprisingly many programs drop the ball here. Instead of connecting with residents and making lasting impressions, many coordinators are stuck in a back-and-forth of "did you send this" and "I need the following" with residents.
The Traditional Onboarding Process is Frustrating
Using a combination of emails, a digital calendar, and spreadsheets result in a seemingly never-ending circle of follow-ups & reminders. Take a small program of 5 with 4 forms of documents that need to be collected. That's over 100 emails that need to be exchanged with trainees.
The use of a spreadsheet can standardize the process, but for large organizations with multiple departments and stakeholders, it is essential to have real-time updates on progress. Also, spreadsheets and other flat documents do not provide tracking of who made updates recently.
Tedious Expiration Tracking
In healthcare, many documents have to be reviewed and updated on an annual or semi-annual basis. In larger organizations, this means thousands of documents that must be tracked by different teams. Manually updating these documents can be a tedious process that requires many hours of support and lots of coordination.
The Solution to Onboarding Pains
Make Spreadsheets Easier
If you don’t have residency management software or a third-party solution, it’s difficult to replace the necessity of spreadsheets. Some cloud-based spreadsheet solutions can reduce the burden of expiration tracking. Solutions such as google sheets let others collaborate on documents, which can free up one coordinator's time who usually gets the brute of the work
We provided additional attachments to this document with a spreadsheet template for onboarding new trainees. Your onboarding checklist must have a color-coded status, so you know which documents are approved and which documents you need to review.
For Faculty onboarding, it's a little bit more nuanced than a traditional checklist. As they learn more about their role, it's good to provide activities and milestones for them to meet after a week, 30 days, 60 days, and more. It's good to brainstorm what these goals are if you haven't already, but we provided a template where you can fill in these milestones.
Improving Your Email Outreach in the Onboarding Process
Automate your emails
Mailchimp, Reply.io, and other free email software solutions can send out a series of emails automatically, and send follow-ups when there’s no response. This saves coordinators hours of time sending all of their emails manually, so they only have to send follow-ups to confirm document submissions.
Use engaging subject lines to ensure your message is seen
Example: Welcome aboard our Soon-To-Be Doctor!
Clearly state the deadline for each document or action that must be completed
Without deadlines, other priorities may take precedence and onboarding tasks may get delayed.
Track completions in a central location where there is transparency across all stakeholders
It's not ideal to use a local spreadsheet to monitor onboarding items. Instead, use an online software platform that multiple users can access and view progress. If a spreadsheet must be used, set one up on the cloud where your entire team can view it.
Build a relationship with each trainee and explain the importance of the onboarding process.
A little investment in building a personal connection will go a long way. It will ensure there is efficient communication throughout the process.
Bonus Tip: Including your photo in your signature is a great way to make your emails more personal.
Check out the sample below