JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The San Antonio Market has streamlined the onboarding process for new civilian employees, resulting in a 305% hiring increase.
The market, which includes Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at JBSA-Lackland, has hired more than 660 people since introducing onboarding fairs in December 2022. The onboarding fair is a three-day event that serves as a one-stop-shop for civilian new hires with a tentative job offer to accomplish all their administrative prerequisites and receive a firm offer as well as a start date.
“We value talented and dedicated professionals, and it’s important for our hiring process to reflect that,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Jeannine Ryder, director, San Antonio Market, and commander, 59th Medical Wing. “This new process establishes a culture of excellence that aligns with the high-quality care we provide to our service members, retirees, and their families.”
A nationwide post-COVID-19 decline in healthcare workers led to the implementation of the rapid hiring initiative to quickly backfill shortages across the market.
“We realized that the often-lengthy government hiring process may deter some highly qualified professionals from joining our team,” said Dionicio Gonzales, chief of BAMC’s Civilian Resources Branch. “Thanks to the team’s hard work and collaboration, we’ve been able to speed up onboarding and alleviate some stress on our existing workforce.”
Katie Tang, an outpatient orthopedic physical therapist who was onboarded through one of the fairs, lauds the process.
“Everything we needed to get done was completed the same day to expedite the process,” Tang said, noting that when going through a hiring process there's always a worry that something will be forgotten and slow the whole process down, but that wasn’t the case at these fairs.
“The individuals representing each department were present, so I was able to have all my questions answered the same day,” she added. “It was comforting to know there were so many people working behind the scenes, and it was well organized to ensure everything was completed appropriately.”
The fairs are aimed at onboarding personnel as soon as possible. Typically, the government hiring process can take months until an applicant is officially working.
“We are able to take care of the business of completing all the conditions of employment, the prerequisites to an actual start date,” said David Newton, administrative officer, Department of Nursing. “It (onboarding fair) has shown a marked improvement in the speed at which we bring people on board, and it has been very beneficial.”
A speedier hiring process also benefits employees.
“Some of those people are at home with no pay, so this fair gets them to their job a lot faster so they can pay their bills and take care of their families,” said Tori Mills-Echeverria, an occupational health technician who was hired through BAMC’s new process.
“Now with this (onboarding fairs), BAMC offers the opportunity to get it all done in one day and get their conditions of hiring done in one day; their physicals, their drug screens, everything, and they are given a start date the same day as well,” she said. “It basically cuts the process down by more than half.”
“The Manpower Optimization team, which is responsible for the newly refined hiring process, is an example of how our dedicated professionals go above and beyond – and make it look easy,” said Col. Mark Stackle, deputy director, San Antonio Market, and BAMC commander. “We look forward to welcoming our newest colleagues to the team.”
The market continues to seek new talent. For healthcare professionals seeking a federal job, visit USAJobs at USAJOBS - The Federal Government's official employment site. For more information, visit Careers (tricare.mil).
(Editor's Note: This article was written by BAMC Summer Youth Volunteers, Athena Sorenson (16) and Kayla Gutierrez (15).)