Coaching – Physician On-Boarding
On-Boarding Coaching Supports High-Performing Physicians
When you hire new physicians, how do you retain them?
You are an administrator in a health care organization that cares for its physicians. You know that your profitability and performance depends on the productivity, patient care, and behavior of your physicians. Your hospital is in a growth mode and you plan to hire more physicians in the near future. You are looking for ways to attract and retain physicians to your community.
You understand the need to invest significant time and money in identifying and attracting top-notch physician talent. You engage physician recruiting firms for this purpose and pay significant sign-on bonuses for your new-hires. Everyone is excited; your organization is excited to have a new physician coming and the physician is excited to start a new career at your organization. But that excitement easily can turn into disappointment and a big expense if physicians are left on their own in the first few months.
A 2005 physician retention survey published by Cejka Search and AMGA revealed that more than half (54 percent) of physicians who leave their medical groups do so within the first five years. The decision to leave is often made as early as the first three to five months. This survey result implies that physician retention requires preventive and early treatment to maximize physician satisfaction, performance and retention.
And so few healthcare organizations ask themselves: Once young or new physicians are on board, what else can we do to ensure their success, especially during the critical first three to six months? If you are reading this, you may be at a point where you are researching new ways to serve your physicians and improve your on-boarding process. Perhaps you just lost another valuable physician. Maybe you are facing a tough time recruiting top notch physicians or perhaps you are just ready to aim for higher physician job satisfaction and retention.
Hospitals and physician groups face unique market challenges when it comes to physician recruitment and the situation is not going to improve in the years to come: They deal with:
- Physician shortage
You read it in the news and you experience it head on. Recruiting physicians becomes harder and harder. What took you a couple of months to find a physician can take now several months or even years. You feel the physician shortage in your organization and the loss of revenue as a result of the shortage is immense considering your financial strains. It is more difficult to find the right physician and it is just as difficult to keep them.
- Rough start
If you are like most hospitals, once a new physician comes on board, you want to make sure he / she will integrate quickly with the team and organization, build the patient load rapidly, and become a valuable asset to the organization. But reality often looks different. Your newly hired physicians are getting off to a rough start. Stress, new adjustments, issues with family while relocating, communication differences, familiarity with new EMR system, and many more circumstances impact the incorporation, patient base growth and performance. The first few months at a new organization are a big stressor for physicians and are a strong indicator whether they will stay long-term.
- Newly hired physicians leave prematurely.
They experience the rough start and don’t know how to work through it. They justify it with explanations such as “no good cultural fit” or “unmet expectations by the hospital” and leave the organization as soon as their initial contract is up. As a result the hospital will experience additional loss of revenue and will spend more money and resources on finding a replacement.
Physicians – on the other side – face a variety of unique challenges such as:
- Stress and high expectations.
Career transition is always combined with a high level of stress and expectations. How quickly can I grow my patient base? How can I build a strong work relationship with my staff, peers and the administration? How well will my family adjust to the new home (relocation)? Was this the right decision?
- Cultural fit.
One of the biggest concerns for physician is how well they will get along with the hospital administration and how much autonomy they will have in their work. A 2006 survey identified that 51% of the physicians cited a poor culture fit with the practice that they choose. When physicians conclude that their organization may be a cultural misfit without an unbiased critical conversation to explore its validity, premature leave and loss on both sides can be the unfortunate consequence.
- Control over the work environment
As the “newbie” and especially the young physicians they don’t want to rock the boat. They accept and submit to certain systems and processes even though they recognize the inefficiencies. They tolerate the demands that are put on them even though they are frustrated by the setups.
These are challenges and results that neither your hospital nor the physicians can afford; there is too much money and patients’ lives at stake. Instead you want:
- Physician recruitment comes easy. Physicians will be attracted to your organization because you offer them an on-boarding program that is customized to their needs. When you offer that, physician candidates realize that you put your physicians’ needs at the top of your priority list. After all, a hospital cannot be truly profitable without effective and high-performing physicians.
- Strong start, stress control, fast integration
Besides good clinical skills physicians are equipped with interpersonal and self-management skills to build good work relationship with their staff, grow their patient base quickly, control stress, and resolve issues effectively that arise from their career change, relocation, and new start.
- High physician retention
Strong integration, a successful practice, and a fulfilling personal life in the new town are the best conditions for a long and satisfying employment at your organization resulting in profitability and success for both – the physicians and your organization.
Can your organization afford to continue your physician on-boarding process the way you have always done it? My answer is “No” because you won’t be able to attract and maintain high-performing physicians.
So what is the solution? The Balanced Physician On-Boarding Program.
The Balanced Physician On-Boarding Coaching Program is a proactive program to ensure your physicians succeed in your organization. It walks them through this transition with a plan, accountability, and the guidance they need to adapt quickly and successfully. It has been specifically developed for recently employed, recruited or newly hospital credentialed physicians in order to help them establish a firm foundation in the communities they serve and to implement best practices which enables them to achieve personal fulfillment and financial viability in the first year of practice in your organization.
The direct benefits of investing in the Balanced Physician On-Boarding Program include:
- Reduced recruiting expenses associated with “churning”
By being supported in the first 10 months of their employment physicians will have the self-management skills to ensure a successful on-boarding, the communication skills to collaborate with the administration and the support to overcome any challenges that a new job brings.
- Increased hospital productivity
Physicians who practice effective self-management and interpersonal skills will be more balanced and successful which has a big impact on the productivity of your organization.
- Cost containment by minimizing turnover
Physicians, effective in their communication and in their clinical work, will most likely experience the success that they envisioned and therefore won’t see a need to relocate. Additionally, they will typically have a great work relationship with their staff who feels satisfied in their position. All that will result in more staff retention and hence cost containment for your organization.
- Effective physician leadership skills
No healthcare organization will survive without effective physician leadership. After all, physicians are leaders regardless of whether or not they hold a formal leadership role. In this program physicians will be introduced to effective leadership skills so that they are aware of their ability to coach and positively impact their staff’s attitudes, behavior and performance.
Physicians, who participate in on-boarding coaching programs, are stronger leaders, communicators, performers, and contributors and accomplish the following results:
- More confident, balancing work, career and home effectively, staying in your organization longer.
- They understand how to listen, respond appropriately, and engage others to make effective changes and improve outcomes.
- They quickly build up patient loads, generate revenue and increase their contribution to the hospital, feeling good about their role on your team.
- They understand their role in the community, take leadership, and build your hospital’s reputation.
- Physicians take notice of your investment in their success. It builds confidence and trust in your leadership. You gain excitement, loyalty and high performance; retention increases as a result.
What makes this program so effective?
Independent partner – Even though we get contracted by the hospital we work with the physician. That means all of our conversation stay confidential and the physician can feel comfortable to address any topic that is necessary.
Personal and professional topics – Many times physicians leave employment not because of professional but because of personal reasons. When a physician is faced with a personal problem, many times they don’t know where to find support. The Balanced Physician on-boarding program also addresses personal topics and provides physicians the environment and collaboration for solution.
Training and coaching combined – The Balanced Physician On-Boarding Program is a training program that is customized to the physicians’ situation. Which means while we introduce and teach a certain skill to the physicians, we also provide the immediate coaching to implement the skill in their daily life. Or the physician comes to the meeting with a specific issue and the coach teaches the physician a new skill while coaching him through the challenge. Both approaches work brilliantly.
What you and your physicians receive with the Balanced Physician On-Boarding Program:
It is a 12 month support program to integrate your physicians in your organization successfully. This program has nothing to do with the on-boarding procedure (organizational socialization / orientation program) that is happening in most health care organizations but complements your on-boarding and equips physicians with the necessary skills for a smooth transition, strong start, and a long time job satisfaction.
The format is as follows:
Phase 1: Before the program
Participants will engage in a conversation to learn about the program and clearly identify their measures for success. Additionally, they will be led through an assessment process to heighten their self-awareness and identify the skills that are important for their success.
They will also receive a 170 page notebook that they will use throughout the program.
Phase 2: 7 Month Program
Physicians will meet with the coach twice a month in 60 minute sessions and they will be encouraged to call the coach between the coaching sessions for additional support.
After 3 months the physician will complete a short survey to give feedback about the program to the hospital administration.
In month 5 of the program we will send out a 360 assessment to the staff and peers of the physician to receive their feedback on the physicians’ incorporation, behavior and performance.
Throughout the entire year, physicians have access to the coach for additional support and coaching.
Phase 3: Completion Call
At the 1-year employment anniversary the physician will have a final session with the coach to share progress, possible questions and future goals.
By implementing the Balanced Physician On-Boarding Program, your organization proves that you are putting your physicians’ needs at the top of your priority list. You make the statement that your physicians are important to your facility and you will do whatever you can to make them feel at home and to support them in their success.
If you have gotten this far in the letter about the program you might be interested in taking the next step. If so, I invite you to contact me for an in-depth conversation. In this meeting we will explore what challenges your hospital faces when it comes to physician employment, on-boarding and retention, what kind of results you would like to see instead and whether this program may be of help or not. Whatever the outcome, you will leave the conversation with more clarity and excitement about what’s possible.
The conversation will take about an hour and can be done in person or by phone. Fill out the contact form below. I’m looking forward to speaking with you.
Comments or questions are welcome.