Staffing continues to be top of mind for healthcare and physician executives nationwide, and the new year will bring new physician recruitment challenges and concerns to address. According to an MGMA Stat poll, 58% of medical practice managers say staffing is their biggest concern going into 2023. But, of course, it’s not just physicians that are increasingly difficult to recruit and retain; advanced practice providers, nurses, and allied health professionals present some of the greatest staffing challenges leaders face.
Every healthcare leader would like to shorten the recruitment cycle and make recruitment dollars go further, but only those with a clear plan of action are likely to find success. As with any goal, it’s helpful to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps to help you achieve it. Make a plan to reach your goals by setting the following recruitment resolutions for the new year.
1. Formalize the Physician Recruitment Process
Improve the efficiency of your recruitment process by specifying each step and assigning it to an owner. Identify exactly who is on the physician recruitment team and ensure each person knows which piece he or she is accountable for. If you have a recruitment partner, make sure each party is in agreement on which pieces fall to them and what will be managed by the internal team.
Take a detailed approach, assigning each step, including who will review applications, who (and how quickly) applicants will be contacted, and who will schedule and participate in subsequent calls and interviews. Break down the entire process and assign each step to an owner. These assignments should hold true for every search and for every candidate going through the recruitment process. Formalizing the process in this way eliminates ambiguity and improves the speed at which the process can move forward.
2. Improve Response Time
When a physician expresses interest in your position — either by submitting an application, sending an email, or through your recruitment partner — it is essential that you respond immediately. Physicians are contacted about jobs multiple times per day, so their attention span for a specific job — no matter how appealing — is often short. Therefore, you must react before they have moved on. Reach out, tell them more, schedule the next call and keep the process moving.
In almost every JPS success story, the client’s ability to react quickly is noted as a critical element of success. In a recent example, Recruiter Angela Desin beat all expectations of a Florida client and placed a urologist in fewer than 100 days. As with so many of these stories, Angela credited the client’s quick response time for the success of the search.
“I think one of the reasons we work well together is that we both act quickly,” Angela explains. “This client really understands how important the timing is, so I can count on them to react with a sense of urgency.”
Of course, when multiple people are involved (some of them high-level executives), it can be difficult to act quickly. However, if you adhere to the first resolution and formalize the process, each stakeholder will know not only what they need to do but when. Set the expectation of responsiveness and ensure all parties adhere to their commitments.
3. Focus on Flexibility
One notable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is a global rethinking of how, when, and where work should be done. Across industries, workers increasingly expect flexible schedules and the ability to work remotely, and this is true for healthcare professionals as well. In fact, JPS recruiters report the option of a four-day workweek is no longer something that makes a job stand out but has become the norm in many specialties. If your organization does not offer flexible schedules, you may struggle to recruit physicians and other staff in 2023. If leadership resists the change, look to the market for proof that this has become the norm and is necessary to improve recruitment and retention.
Schedules aren’t the only place to provide flexibility. Build flexibility into your recruitment incentives as well, allowing the candidate to dictate if loan repayment, housing assistance, or a sign-on bonus is preferred.
4. Commit to Transparency
Studies consistently show that physicians prioritize open, two-way communication with leadership, and this begins during the recruitment process. Candidates need a complete picture of the organization — including the leadership structure, potential earnings, and any special circumstances they might face. Only when all the details are available can candidates make an informed decision about whether or not they can see themselves with the organization long-term.
If working with a recruitment partner, resolve to also be transparent with them. The more familiar the recruiter is with what the opportunity has to offer, the better equipped he or she will be to market the job effectively. The recruiter should also be informed of any potential obstacles to filling the position so that he or she may take them into account when preparing the recruitment strategy.
The staffing challenges that lie ahead are significant and largely caused by factors outside of our immediate control, such as burnout, retirements, and turnover. Therefore, leaders must focus on those things they can control — formalizing the recruitment process, improving responsiveness, offering flexibility, and committing to transparency. These adjustments may feel small, but they have the potential to make a significant impact on the effectiveness of your physician recruitment process in 2023.
If finding a trusted physician recruitment partner is on your list of 2023 resolutions, the team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to help. Our 100% digital sourcing strategy has proven its effectiveness time and again, and our recruiters’ commitment to creative problem-solving has helped countless clients fill the most challenging positions. Reach out today to learn more.
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