Growing Your Own Leaders: How to Recruit, Upskill and Retain Your Clinical Staff

Date and Time
Previously Recorded
October 26, 2023 3:00 PM
Webinar Length
On-demand Recording
30 days
CEU Amount
CEU Type
Dr. Ivy Chung
Sum of Learning
Webinar Description

The field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has long grappled with the persistent challenges of staff shortages and high turnover rates. The increasing competition and market dynamics further intensify the struggles of ABA owners and agencies in recruiting and retaining quality personnel. This webinar introduces a transformative approach focused on cultivating your own team and nurturing leaders from within your organization. Throughout this presentation, we will explore strategic methods for identifying staff who align with your agency’s unique culture and values, constructing robust mentorship programs tailored to various levels of clinicians, and recognizing and cultivating internal pathways for promotions and professional growth within your organization. By focusing on these critical aspects, you can reshape your ABA agency’s staffing approach, leading to a more sustainable and thriving organization.

Learning Objectives
  1. Enhance your HR/recruitment process by learning how to recognize and implement strategies for identifying staff members who align with your agency’s culture and values
  2. Develop effective mentorship programs with a focus on foster professional growth and knowledge-sharing within your organization
  3. Explore methods to recognize, cultivate, and facilitate internal pathways for promotions and professional growth within your organization

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Webinar Summary

Building a Sustainable Clinical Workforce: Insights from a Seasoned Leader

"Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." - Jake Welch, former CEO of General Electric 

In her recent Motivity Mentor Series presentation, Dr. Ivy Chung, owner of Sum of Learning, discussed her process for recruiting, upskilling, and retaining clinical staff. This process, she believes, not only ensures immediate success but also fortifies the business for sustained growth in the long run. Paramount to that success is building an empowered and supportive company culture, right from the get-go.

Finding the Right Fit: Dr. Chung’s Recruitment Process

Dr. Chung’s recruitment process is systematic and meticulous, involving several stages to ensure the right fit for the organization. When recruiting candidates, organizations should identify people who not only possess the necessary skills, but also exhibit a strong cultural fit and commitment to growth within the clinical setting.

  • Phone Screenings: Initial calls serve as a preliminary screening to gauge candidates' interest, share job expectations, and assess basic qualifications. It’s an opportunity to convey job clarity and understand candidates' career aspirations.
  • Job Application Form: Candidates who pass the phone screening are provided with an application form. This form delves deeper into the candidate's interest, availability, salary expectations, and references. It also serves as an indicator of their technical skills, including how well they handle technology and submit forms within stipulated timelines.
  • Comprehensive Interviews: The interview process involves focused areas of assessment:
  • Technical/Teaching Skills: Evaluating creativity, flexibility, and adaptability in handling scenarios pertinent to the clinical setting. Examples might include demonstrating teaching methods or problem-solving with simulated scenarios.
  • Professionalism and Ethics: Assessing communication skills, ethical understanding, and their approach to handling challenging situations.
  • Problem-Solving and Conflict Management: Understanding past experiences in dealing with conflicts or difficult situations to evaluate their problem-solving capabilities.
  • Career Goals and Cultural Fit: Exploring long-term commitments, mutual benefits, and gauging alignment with the organization's culture.

Once the interview is complete, Dr. Chung stresses the importance of expeditious decision-making. Given candidates may engage in multiple interview processes, prompt and clear communication ensures a smoother hiring experience and reflects positively on the organization.

Keeping Staff Happy and Engaged: Dr. Chung’s Approach to Retention 

"As a business owner, it is my responsibility to build the necessary infrastructure to support the functioning of all my employees." - Dr. Ivy Chung

Dr. Chung advocates for a comprehensive approach to the employee experience, integrating pre-training, thorough orientation, ongoing education, and structured supervision. 

Predictors of staff retention include satisfaction with training, supervisor support, and perceived fairness in benefits (Kadyshun & Harkness, 2005). For this reason, Dr. Chung recommends building a strong Human Resources team.

"If you want to start a business, get an accountant; if you want to keep your business going, hire HR." - Dr. Ivy Chung

Human Resources will help with efficient operations, compliance & ethics, employee engagement and morale, conflict resolution, office accountability, and strategic planning.

“I was cautious about growth.. But, I have to grow.” - Dr. Ivy Chung

Nurturing Talent and Developing Leaders: Dr. Chung’s Approach to Building a Sustainable Workforce

Once you have engaged employees, recognizing and nurturing existing talent is crucial. Dr. Chung encourages these approaches to build a sustainable workforce:

  • Set the stage: Build a company culture that prioritizes leadership, support, and continuous education.
  • Lead by example: Leaders should be transparent about their own shortcomings, goals, and professional development
  • Build mentorship programs: Encourage senior staff to take junior staff members under their wing, providing opportunities for support and modeling
  • Provide growth opportunities: Find ways to promote employees within the organization, or expand their skill sets and responsibilities 
  • Promote employee engagement: Ensure employees feel an active connection to the organization. Leaders should be engaged as well, to gauge overall well-being and performance.

Fostering a thriving clinical workforce transcends mere recruitment and training strategies. Dr. Chung's approach delves deep into the fabric of organizational culture, leadership values, and ongoing support. As part of her commitment to nurturing future leaders, Dr. Chung sets the example, constantly pushing herself out of her own comfort zone.