What do you do when your waitlist is months long and your staff is overwhelmed? As new client inquiries and referrals grow and your practice expands, it’s common to find yourself facing a new challenge: demand greater than your capacity to serve. This situation can be a great indicator of your clinic's ability to provide excellent services — but at the same time, long waitlists can be discouraging for eager client families and burden existing clinicians with full caseloads. Early investment into hiring can benefit both client families and your staff, enabling your practice to meet the demand, retain clinicians, and create a positive client experience from day one.
This article outlines effective strategies and actions to build a strong team: setting a solid foundation for hiring, optimizing the hiring process, and retaining top talent.
Setting the Foundation for Long-term Hiring Success
You’ll need to establish a solid foundation to attract potential candidates even before the need arises. Start early — building this foundation requires time and effort upfront, and it’s the first step towards building a successful team both today and in the long run.
Establish Credibility to Attract Talent
Attract talented BCBAs, RBTs, and BTs to your practice by positioning yourself as a respected figure in the ABA field. Speak at conferences, publish valuable content, and actively participate in relevant ABA practitioner groups to showcase your expertise and network with professionals in the field.
You can start small, for example, by publishing articles or blog posts about your approach to treatment, asking your hyper-local news station for a feature, or involving other small practice owners to host panel discussions to spread the word. When you do have coverage, display and link these content pieces on your website or LinkedIn to make an impact on your community while also building your reputation and presence.
Simplify the Communication Stream for Interested Individuals
Make it simple for interested individuals to reach out and express their interest in working with your practice. Collecting contact info passively creates a pool of prospective candidates to tap into when the need arises, saving your practice time and creating a smoother hiring process.
Create a dedicated hiring page on your website that clearly communicates the unique aspects, career opportunities, and benefits of working at your clinic. You can also include an embedded application form to collect potential candidates' details for future reference. As you engage with responses and conversations on other platforms like LinkedIn, social media groups, and email, direct them to the same page to keep everything in one place.
Harness the Power of Referrals
Encourage your current staff members, colleagues, and professional networks to refer individuals who may be a good fit for your practice. This approach taps into a trusted network of recommendations and encourages alignment with your own practice's values and goals.
You can implement a referral program that incentivizes and rewards team members for successful hires as well. For example, many mid-sized clinics offer cash referral bonuses ranging from $500 to $1000 for each successfully referred clinician who remains at the clinic for over 6 months on a full-time basis. Alternatively, you can be more creative on a smaller budget by establishing special events or implementing creative rewards to acknowledge and incentivize team members for referring individuals from their network.
Make it easy for your team to reach out to these good candidates too. Ensure that your referral program provides them with readily available materials to effortlessly share with their networks, emphasizing the unique aspects of your clinic and featuring a streamlined application process.
Optimizing the Hiring Process
Striking the right balance and timing with staffing needs and sustainable growth is a nuanced task. Identifying the opportune moment to expand your team and acting swiftly can make all the difference in maintaining team satisfaction and avoiding burnout, so optimize your hiring process to nail down the timing.
Leverage Job Posting Platforms and Publicize Actively
To attract qualified candidates who are passionate about the ABA field, it is vital to actively promote your hiring initiatives beyond the default channels you’ve already set up. Take advantage of popular online platforms such as Indeed, LinkedIn, and relevant Facebook groups to broadcast your recruitment efforts. Actively share job openings across your social media presence and within your personal network, highlight your practice's culture and values, and engage with potential candidates to maximize your chances of finding the right fit.
Accelerate the Hiring Process Where Possible
Make it easier for yourself and your team by streamlining the hiring process to focus solely on identifying top talent and utilizing customizable templates to expedite the process.
When you are actively hiring, your ideal time to hire — from first contact to offer letter — can be as short as a week for entry-level clinicians and 1-3 weeks for higher-degree specialists or BCBAs, all while maintaining a robust, thorough interview process.
Small things add up: write email templates for outreach to potential candidates, responses to inbound interest, set up interview times, and offer letters. Create interview training guides to have your clinic team leaders aid with the interview process in a consistent, repeatable way. Manage an efficient team scheduling process to easily and quickly set interview times with multiple team members. Enable shared calendars with your interviewers and communicate early that times will land on their calendars proactively to remove logistical burdens.
Be Intentional and Prioritize the Right Fit and Training
Craft a thoughtful application and interview process that focuses on the skills and values your team members should possess. Select candidates who align with those values and who possess the necessary skills and qualifications.
An intentional process will allow you to secure top talent who are the right fit for your practice. Consider implementing scenarios that simulate real-life situations to assess candidates' responses. Additionally, you can require specific reference checks to provide insights into their collaborative skills and individual growth potential.
Remember, individuals with the right values can be trained to acquire the desired credentials. Although this approach may require more upfront time investment, it significantly reduces the risk of hiring mismatches, ultimately saving valuable time and resources in the long run.
Retaining Top Talent
Lastly, you must retain your skilled practitioners to overcome short-staffing challenges within ABA practices. Implement employee retention strategies, such as providing ongoing professional development opportunities, competitive compensation packages, and a supportive work-life balance, to not only reduce the need for frequent hiring but also enhance the overall stability and productivity of your practice.
Retaining talent positively impacts your ABA practice's reputation and growth trajectory. Satisfied and fulfilled practitioners are more likely to become advocates for your practice and refer potential candidates through your referral program. They can also become strong mentors for your other, newer team members to learn under and develop into leaders themselves. By placing a strong emphasis on employee retention, you establish a virtuous cycle where contented practitioners attract more top-notch talent, further alleviating the strain of hiring needs and short staffing within your ABA practice.
Building a strong team through effective hiring strategies is vital for the sustainable growth and success of ABA practices. Proactively promoting your hiring initiatives, streamlining the hiring process, and prioritizing the right fit while providing training opportunities can help you attract and retain top talent.
These strategies and actions creates a virtuous cycle in which fulfilled practitioners attract more qualified candidates, ultimately alleviating the strain of short-staffing challenges. With a strong team in place, your ABA practice is poised for long-term excellence and positive outcomes for the individuals and families you serve.
- ABA practices need to invest in a strong growing team to enable the clinic to meet demand, retain clinicians, and create a positive client experience from day one.
- Ensuring a sustainable workforce encompasses building a solid presence in the ABA community, optimizing the hiring process, and retaining top talent.