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Apollo Spotlight: Clinovations

Posted on May 13, 2013
Natalie O'LaughlinWritten by Natalie O'Laughlin | Email author

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This month Helios had the pleasure of interviewing Apollo Finalist, Clinovations, on their “collaborative development”. Attributing their fast growth success to their culture and foundation, Clinovations believes happy and engaged members are the key. Read below to read more about how they foster this caring environment.

Helios: What makes your onboarding program special for new employees?

Clinovations: Our employee onboarding program has really been an ongoing and employee-driven process. From day one, we try to make the employee feel like they are a part of the family, and that they just made the best decision by agreeing to start a new career with Clinovations. We schedule their week so they learn about the company’s history, the clients we work with, and where we are heading. We really work to customize the schedule so they get a comprehensive overview of the company and the project they will be working on. But it is not all presentations! We host a social event in their honor to help the new employee get to know other colleges on a more personal level outside of the office.

As Clinovations continues to grow with an eclectic group of employees, we have evolved our orientation process to meet the groups changing needs. The program has been built around team members past experiences – what worked and what didn’t work – and feedback from the employees who recently went through orientation. We understand that starting a new job can be overwhelming, so we implemented something called the “deep breath” session. It is meant to be a reflection period and discussion with the new employee around their thoughts on orientation and what we can do to help make them successful in their new path. We have these sessions on their first day and at the end of their first week. We also do 30, 60 and 90 day appointments to check-in and make sure their new job is what they signed up for.  Our goal is to make sure they are happy with what they are doing and loving their new career.

The social event has really stemmed from the employees. Our consultants will take the initiative to look for places to hold the social gathering, decide on timing, and put together a proposal and budget to then present to the leadership team like they would a business case. We also capitalize on our marketing team to promote and invite employees to the social event and help us with our theme. Actually, we have a social event tonight for our new hires with a theme called “New Beginnings”. It’s not something we check off the new hire checklist, it’s something everyone wants to do and looks forward to. When we bring on new hires everyone on the team is excited to get to know them and welcome them to the team.

At the end of the day, we are only as good as our people – and we want those people to be happy, engaged members of our team.

Helios: I hear that you have a very robust mentoring program. How did you come up with that idea and why do you think it makes a difference?

Clinovations: Our firm is not the typical management consulting firm.  More than 60 percent of our team members are clinicians; the rest have a health policy background and/or business management background, but a lot of them do not have a healthcare IT background.  On top of our diverse backgrounds, our employees are located all of the U.S. Some spend most of the week traveling, while others spend most of their time in the D.C. office. To make sure we stay connected and give our employees the tools to be successful, we try to give our employees 3 types of people that they can go to – in addition to their peers. They have a formal mentor, a manager, and a senior level champion.

A lot of thought is put into the match-ups. For instance, a number of our consultants are making the transition from clinical practice to consulting. We try to match them up with someone who understands what they are going through, and can help guide them through the transition. We also try to think about employee locations. So we may try to pair someone who is new to the area up with a local employee so they might be able to help them navigate the area’s public transportation, neighborhoods, and even where to go for lunch. We make sure the remote team is not forgotten and pair them with folks who are in the office on a more regular basis to get them involved in activities coming up next time they are in town.

All employees have their managers who are invested in the success and orientation of the new employee. Then additionally, they have a “champion” who is a senior member of the firm and/or leadership team that helps guide them in their career path, figure out ways to be successful in the firm, and continue to grow and expand their expertise.

Like most of our programs, it continues to evolve, but it’s nice to be at a place where you feel like you have multiple people to turn to when you have a question or need some advice- whether it’s a peer, a mentor, a manager, or a senior member of the firm.

Helios: Given that you have a remote workforce often working around the country at client sites, how do you stay connected and maintain close relationships?

Clinvoations: Since a number of team members are often traveling and away from the home base, we have worked to make communication a priority. Every Friday we have our all-hands meeting to discuss project milestones and recent industry articles and employees are constantly using the internal instant messaging tool to connect with employees who are traveling and on the road. We have also launched an internal newsletter filled with educational items about what’s going on in the company, project overviews, helpful links, upcoming events, employee birthdays, anniversaries, etc.

Like our other programs, we are constantly working to improve our methods to provide continued support as the company grows. We have set up a book club and running club, and made some aspects of the clubs virtual so that employees can participate whether they are in the office or traveling. We are also adding employee-led educational and skills sessions so that people can share their knowledge and expertise with the rest of the firm.

Lastly, and to bring it back to the first question, we have put a lot of thought into the onboarding program. We want to make sure people feel connected from the moment they start at Clinovations. That is why we added in the social event. We have found it helps to make sure employees are building strong personal relationships with their peers and co-workers. It is amazing to see employees go out of our way to make sure they stay connected with each other. For instance, I get text messages, asking how my flight was, making sure I got home on time, for no reason other than they are just interested and care. It makes it coming to work enjoyable and fun!

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