Federal News Network: VA says onboarding changes made during the pandemic will ‘change the way we hire forever’

“In the earliest days of the coronavirus crisis, the Veterans Health Administration faced a difficult personnel challenge: Hire as many new medical professionals as possible, and get them working as quickly as they can.”

“Richard Stone, VHA’s executive in charge, tasked the agency with a tougher goal: find a way to onboard a new employee within three days.”

“The challenge seemed daunting, considering it usually takes VHA about 90 days to hire and onboard a new employee. Checking the identity and medical credentials of a prospective employee often takes 30 days.”

“Quick hiring isn’t a strong suit for the federal government, and it’s long been a particularly stubborn challenge for VA, which has often struggled to compete against the private sector for top medical talent…”

“VHA reviewed its own hiring policies and worked with the Office of Personnel Management and the chief human capital officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs to waive and delay certain onboarding requirements.”

“Like many agencies during the pandemic, VHA moved many of the usual onboarding activities to the virtual space. It deferred the collection of fingerprints for some new employees and waived the in-person requirements to verify an individual’s identity…”

“‘It pushed our thinking so hard,’ [Jessica Bonjorni, VHA’s chief officer for workforce management] said. ‘We were working on making incremental improvements to time-to-hire, which I think is what you see across most federal agencies. But in truth, our private sector counterparts are able to onboard very quickly. This pushed us to get us to a very similar point to our private sector counterparts. It’s going to change the way we hire forever…’”

“With any luck, many of the agency’s recent changes could become permanent fixtures in the VHA hiring process. Though VHA may be able to change some pieces of its hiring process on its own, others may need OPM approval or legislation to make permanent…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA says onboarding changes made during the pandemic will ‘change the way we hire forever’ – By Nicole Ogrysko, May 19, 2020. Federal News Network.

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