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Attract Top Physician Talent by Differentiating Your Employer Brand

Jackson Physician Search
August 31, 2022

It’s no secret that, in most markets, the demand for physicians increasingly outweighs the supply. As a result, physicians in the job market have more options and higher expectations than at any time in the past. This means your organization is competing with countless others to attract top physician talent, so you must be able to identify and then promote the qualities that make your opportunity–and your organization–the best employment option.  

Competitive compensation is a critical component of differentiating your offer, but money alone is not enough. Physicians want to know they are working for an employer that values the same things they do and will provide a supportive environment to pursue their career goals while maintaining a full personal life too.  

How do you communicate this information to prospective employees? Certainly, the job ad is a good place to start, but even a well-written physician job ad can only convey so much. In today’s competitive market for top physician talent, employers must first identify their differentiators, and then, promote those differentiators through multiple channels in order to establish a compelling employer brand. 

Identifying Your Differentiators

Across industries, employers are increasingly making efforts to improve the overall employee experience. This is a result of multiple factors: 1) the Great Resignation made it clear that employee retention is not to be taken for granted, and 2) a broader awareness of the importance of mental health has caused employers to reevaluate the pressures and demands of the workplace. The impact of these factors on healthcare organizations is especially profound. In a 2021 Jackson Physician Search survey, 54% of physicians said COVID-19 had changed their employment plans. Some reported seriously considering switching to a new employer, while others said they want to retire early or leave the profession altogether. 

Differentiator #1: Programs to Prevent or Ease Stress and Burnout

Physicians were reporting stress and burnout long before the pandemic made matters worse, and attempts to solve the problem are not new. Solutions typically fall into one of two categories. First, employers offer tools and programs to help physicians cope with job-related stress such as hotlines, support groups, and wellness programs. Second, Employers offer programs and perks designed to prevent the stress from occurring to begin with. These programs are largely focused on schedule flexibility and work-life balance. They might include 4-day work weeks, telehealth options, generous PTO, job sharing options, sabbaticals, reduced call, administrative support, and more. 

Which, if any, of these programs does your organization offer? These are differentiators to be highlighted in the job ad and emphasized throughout the physician interview process.   

Differentiator #2: Career Development Programs and Physician Autonomy

Though stress and burnout are major issues for physicians, they also want to know their employer will support their career growth. If your organization offers a robust leadership development program or mentorship opportunities, these, too, are differentiators. Physicians also want to feel they have a say in the way they practice medicine. In a 2022 Rural Physician Recruitment Survey, a respondent pool made up of physicians practicing in all types of settings ranked physician autonomy the most important quality in an employer’s culture, alongside teamwork. If your organization actively listens to physicians and gives them a seat at the table, this is a differentiator. 

Other Differentiators

Other differentiators may include your organization’s commitment to teamwork, advanced technology, volunteer opportunities, or a mission to help the underserved. Each physician will be impressed by different things, so it’s critical to have multiple differentiators to attract a broad and diverse talent pool.  

Promoting Your Physician Job Differentiators  

All of your differentiators should be noted in the physician job ad, but you need to reinforce the messaging through multiple channels and touchpoints.  

Social Media 

A physician’s first experience with your organization’s culture is often through social media. For this reason, it’s important that whichever team manages the organization’s social accounts understands that they are not just shaping how patients view the brand, but also how potential employees see it. This means highlighting team-building activities, employer-sponsored volunteer activities, and internal promotion announcements. Use the channel to communicate the ways your organization lives its mission and values. 

Physician Interview

From the first phone screen to the final interview with the CEO, the differentiators of the job (and the organization) should be communicated to the physician candidate every step of the way. Talk about the organization’s mission and values, and be ready to share specific examples of the ways those values are acted upon. For example, don’t simply tell a candidate that physician autonomy is important, share stories of how physicians have influenced policy, or mention the number of physicians on the board to make it clear that physicians truly have a voice in the organization. 

Touring the Organization

As you tour the organization with the candidates, make sure everyone who will be meeting them is aware of the job’s differentiators and can authentically speak to the ways the organization is different from other employers. Candidates will use these interactions to evaluate the culture of the organization and determine if the values professed on the website are a true reflection of what happens inside the building.  

While the physician interview and site visit is your chance to see if the physician is a good fit for your organization, remember, the physician is also evaluating you and your organization as an employer. Use the opportunity to reinforce the positive ways your job and organization stand out.

The competition to hire physicians has never been tougher. In order to attract and hire physician talent, you must, first, know what sets your job apart from others, and second, know how to highlight those differentiators during the entire candidate acquisition and hiring process. If your organization needs assistance with either part of this critical process, the recruitment experts at Jackson Physician Search would love the opportunity to help. Contact us today.

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