After the Offer Letter

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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D

bSci21Media, LLC

In a previous article, we have discussed the unique overlapping support systems in place for behavior analysts at Verbal Beginnings.  Today we will discuss a different dimension of support, which is provided after the offer letter goes out and the onboarding process begins. The goal here is to ensure that new Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) are not thrown into a job unprepared.   Instead, the team at Verbal Beginnings takes it upon themselves to ensure proper training and supports that ensure long-term success for the individuals served by Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services, and success for the company as a whole.

Verbal Beginnings uses Behavioral Skills Training (BST) throughout their onboarding process to help ensure transparency across clinical, administrative, and supervisory aspects of the BCBA’s role in the company. As we have mentioned elsewhere, BST is a structured and data-driven training process that consists of four critical components – instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback.  Training staff in this way goes beyond mere didactics to emphasize behavior.  New hires are required to demonstrate competency, and receive feedback in the process.

Moreover, Verbal Beginnings works to ensure that the leaders in the company are proficient in six core skills to successfully onboard new hires and impart the values of the company culture onto their work. The six core skills are:

Setting Clear Expectations: Leaders should be able to clearly communicate the contingencies of the organization to new hires.  This includes policies, procedures, performance standards.

Modeling Company Culture: The company culture at Verbal Beginnings is defined by five core values – collaboration, dissemination, education, innovation, and inspiration.  Such values are operationalized and expressed daily through the behavior of each employee, and were discussed in-depth in a previous article.

Coaching for Improved Performance: Every leader oversees other people.  The best leaders are those that bring out the best in their employees by providing performance feedback, setting clear goals, and acting as a source of positive reinforcement for good work.

How to Give and Receive Feedback: Feedback is a two-way street.  Most people think of leaders as the ones who give feedback to those in whom they supervise.  While true, the best leaders also solicit feedback from others.  Receiving feedback is a skill unto itself.  The ability to be open to constructive criticism may be difficult to stomach for some, but it also raises your own potential to grow.

How to Remove Barriers to Completing Tasks: Unexpected complications arise in our work every day.  People get sick and miss shifts or cancel sessions.  Weather events close schools or impede transportation.  And the list goes on.  Effective leaders are able to spot obstacles in the way of their work and work with others if need be to problem solve effective solutions.

Observing Performance: The most effective leaders are those that bring out the best in their staff.  To do so, leaders need to be in contact with the performance of their staff.  This means taking the time to sit in on a session, meeting, or other work settings to directly observe the behavior of staff.  Doing so helps tailor performance feedback and communicates to your staff that they are worth your time.

Moreover, as leaders display the before-mentioned skills in their daily work, new BCBAs and the front-line staff they supervise will unavoidably adopt the same skills over time as a function of modeling within a values based culture.

If you are a BCBA and are interested in joining a team full of positive support and leadership, contact join@verbalbeginnings.com today!

Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which owns the top behavior analytic media outlet in the world, bSci21.org.  bSci21Media aims to disseminate behavior analysis to the world and to support ABA companies around the globe through the Behavioral Science in the 21st Century blog and its subsidiaries, bSciEntrepreneurial, bSciWebDesign, bSciWriting, and the ABA Outside the Box CEU series.  Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar.  He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues.  Dr. Ward has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas.  Dr. Ward is passionate about disseminating behavior analysis to the world and growing the field through entrepreneurship. Todd can be reached at todd.ward@bsci21.org

*Paid content from Verbal Beginnings.

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