Barlow/McCarthy Blog

Is Onboarding the Right Title?

Oct 10, 2017

By: Allison McCarthy, MBA |

Does the term “onboarding” best represent the activities involved in bringing new physicians into an organization?  That was a question raised at a recent Onboarding and Retention (OAR) Chapter meeting.

OAR members were concerned that the title “onboarding” was diminishing the function that integrates new physicians into an organization – especially with senior leaders who may perceive “onboarding” to be another word for “orientation.”

Those responsible for new physician onboarding know it’s so much more than orientation.  It includes all the tactical activities needed to launch and grow a new physician in practice alongside the relationship building efforts needed for long-term engagement.

Organizations with well-established onboarding programs, including the right tracking metrics, go beyond orientation by focusing on the social, relational and fulfillment needs that achieve new physician satisfaction, productivity and long-term retention. More specifically, that means working on:

  • Transfer of knowledge – helping the new physician become quickly familiar with the organizational “rules of the road.”
  • Building connections – ensuring the new physician builds a solid network of personal and professional relationships.
  • Immersion in the Organizational Strategy – by understanding how their role fits into the organization’s goals and objectives, they will feel important to the organization and a part of its success.

While admittedly some of this is orientation, onboarding primarily centers on practice development and physician engagement.

The OAR group considered other words to describe the startup and integration of a new physician into his/her practice.  Because “onboarding” is the term widely used by other industries to describe the same for other professional employees, the OAR members decided to hang on to that descriptor.  The challenge is not the title, but having health system leaders appreciate the full scope of onboarding.

For more on this and other topics, consider purchasing a copy of the Leader’s Guide for Physician Recruitment. The Leader’s Guide is a comprehensive workbook designed to help you in your role as a physician recruiter. We have more details and purchasing information here: Leader’s Guide for Physician Recruitment.