Avoiding Leaky Bucket Syndrome

August 5th, 2013 2 Min read Avoiding Leaky Bucket Syndrome Blog
It takes a lot of hard work to sign a physician. There are hours of calling, sourcing, verifying references, in-person interviews and site visits, credentialing, contract negotiation, and finally onboarding and orientation. There's lots of energy involved -- and then you get a call from the physician indicating he or she has decided to take another position. When this happens once, it's frustrating. When it happens regularly, it becomes a real hindrance to your service lines. So what happened, why did it happen, and how can you'reduce your own "leaky bucket syndrome"? Clear expectations and personalized communication are the keys to preventing these nasty surprises. It all starts with knowing your candidate. There is a real difference between simply asking good questions and asking good questions in a way that disarms the candidate and allows him or her to speak freely. For example, if you ask, "Are there any stumbling blocks that stand in the way of you starting here August 1?" the provider's natural knee-jerk reaction might be to say no. Instead, by providing a more open question that doesn't paint them into a corner, the provider might open up. There are numerous stumbling blocks that could stand in the way of an August 1 start date, such as family, credentialing or a current employer. Although this type of question might reveal or bring potential problems to the surface, in the long run it's much more productive to catch and address these early in the process. Setting clear expectations is also instrumental in avoiding issues. Without clear expectations, there will inevitably be a gap between your expectations and the provider's. Once the provider has signed, these expectations can almost be read as a checklist for what he or she should expect in the coming weeks. This can also drive a sense of urgency by setting hard deadlines. For example, you could say, "Once you receive the credentialing packet, we expect that to be turned around in 72 hours" or "During orientation, you'll be meeting with the following people for four hours a day for three days." Finally, regular and personalized communication goes a long way in preventing nasty surprises. The worst kind of communication is no communication. If weeks go by without meaningful conversations between you and your prospective doctor, you're setting yourself up for failure. In a doctor's mind, no communication is often replaced by a fair amount of uncertainty and doubt. These seeds can grow, and if you aren't speaking to your new hire, other recruiters are. Many of us plan to move on to our next open job once we have a signed employment contract, thinking "I've filled my position, check, now I'll move on to the next." The reality is that your recruitment doesn't stop with a signature, credentialing or housing -- even when the provider is on-boarded. By setting clear expectations on what the process is going to look like, communicating regularly, and understanding your candidate well enough to foresee future pitfalls, you'll avoid the phone call or email that sends your recruiting efforts back to square one.