The combination of the current workforce shortage and an ineffective recruitment strategy can be costly to your organization and the community. The physician shortage means that finding candidates takes time. The average time-to-fill a Family Medicine or Internal Medicine vacancy is 180 days. Other specialties such as Neurology can be as long as 211 days and some surgery specialties can be over 230 days according to the ASPR 2018 Benchmarking Report.1
How long ago was the last time you took a hard look at your recruitment process? Is your team up to speed? Are you getting a good return on your recruitment dollars?
When it comes to Physician Recruitment ROI, there are three key concepts you should know. How to determine ROI, steps you can take to improve ROI, and the impact a physician recruitment partner can have on ROI.
How to Determine Your Physician Recruitment ROI
A typical ROI calculation is a comparison of Costs and Revenue. In recruiting we use Cost-Per-Hire and Physician Generated Revenue. Cost-Per-Hire usually includes the following variables: advertising fees, recruitment team, travel expenses, relocation, and signing bonus. The physician recruitment ROI formula looks like this: ROI = Revenue – Cost-Per-Hire
Another way to look at ROI is Benefits minus Costs. A physician’s contribution can even be non-monetary. Benefits include revenue but can also include cultural contributions. Costs can go beyond expenses to include a decrease in patient satisfaction. Not all variables are important to all organizations and they don’t affect the bottom line in the same way. The more you can examine each of these factors, the more accurate your calculation will be and the more informed your hiring decisions will be.
What else impacts your ROI? Time-to-fill and Turnover. If you have a vacancy due to Turnover, you’ll need to add another Cost to your ROI calculation: Lost Revenue. Lost Revenue can be a massive disruption to the balance of your ROI calculation. If you have problems with higher than expected turnover, your costs can balloon. The average turnover rate for physicians is around six to seven percent.2 Keep in mind, some turnover is unavoidable and healthy. As your employee’s personal lives develop, their priorities change, a position that was a great fit for a new doctor doesn’t make as much sense to a mother of two young kids.
Time-to-fill impacts monthly recruitment costs. Be sure to factor that into your ROI calculation. To keep your time-to-fill to a minimum you should have a solid understanding of the vacancies you expect in the next 6-12 months. Be sure to consider growth AND turnover. Minimizing time-to-fill and turnover can have huge benefits to your bottom line.
Tips to Improve Your Physician Recruitment ROI
Implement Continuous Recruitment
Continuous Recruitment is the best way to improve your Recruitment ROI because it can significantly reduce your time-to-fill. Since it takes between six and nine months to hire a physician, continuous recruitment efforts not only make sense, they help you make money. Benefits of having a full recruitment funnel include being able to recover from unexpected problems while interviewing as well as maintaining your leverage during the hiring process. You don’t want to be desperate for a placement during the negotiation process.
Continuous Recruitment takes on many forms. Finding what works best for your organization is important. The goal is to have a list of candidates that have expressed interest in joining your organization when an opportunity arises.
Hire for Fit
Hiring for fit is the second-best way to improve ROI. If you think Cost-Per-Hire expenses are hard on your bottom line, the cost of a bad hire is much worse. Not only will you have to go through the lengthy recruitment process again, and spend the money again, a bad hire can cost you revenue through inefficient and underproductive care, loss of patient loyalty, or worse, drive away good physicians. Did you know that engaged physicians are 26% more productive and generate 51% more inpatient referrals?3
Hiring for fit means focusing on finding a physician that will thrive within your organization and remain for a long time. To hire for fit you need to have a good handle on your workplace culture. If you know what makes the culture at your organization special, you’ll be able to see which candidates will be a good fit. If you’re unsure, start a culture assessment right away. Not only will it give you a better understanding of what it’s like to be a part of your team, but you’ll also be able to address any negative aspects of your organization’s culture giving you the means to improve recruitment and retention.
Find a Recruitment Partner
Another option for improving your ROI is to find a recruitment partner, giving your team more time to work on creating a quality interview process and an efficient hiring process. This also helps you save money on sourcing and advertising. Your organization will be able to spend less time and money on technology. When choosing the right recruitment firm, you’ll want to make sure they have a trusted reputation in the industry and are up to date on the latest recruitment tools and the best techniques. A good partner will leverage technology and a wide network to source candidates more efficiently, saving time and money for their clients.
Make Hiring Process Improvements
Making timely hiring decisions and quick communication keeps your candidates engaged and interested. Additionally, making the right offer can be a make or break part of the hiring process. It’s important to understand what your candidate values and what they expect from their employer. Offering more time off or a flexible schedule might be more effective than offering more money.
Employee buy-in is an often overlooked part of the hiring process. When your employees show off your organizational culture and values naturally, they become effective members of the recruitment team. By including employees that embody your organization you make it easier for your candidates to see how they might fit. A bonus to including your employees in the process – they’ll be faster at integrating the new employee into the team if they are already familiar with each other.
Effective site visits cater to your candidate as a person and to their family as a whole. It’s given that you want to present your community and facility favorably. What will elevate the quality of your site visit is a focus on the unique characteristics of each as they apply to your candidate. Highlight the social life, activities, schools, and other long-term benefits that apply to their life away from work. A people first mentality helps you create an environment that quickly establishes trust builds rapport and increases retention. A successful site visit controls the experience from the first contact to the final follow-up, manages expectations by addressing issues before they come up, and keeps the entire family in mind. A side effect of good site visits is a boost to your reputation by word of mouth amongst physicians and that benefits your referral pipeline.
The Impact of a Physician Recruitment Partner on Your ROI
Do you have the staff to meet your current recruitment needs? The typical size of an in-house team for organizations with over 50 searches has grown from two to five staff members including support staff roles. Do you have the tools you need to reach candidates? Doctors prefer to be contacted about job opportunities by email.4 Additionally, 89% of physicians are not actively looking for new opportunities. If you don’t currently have the tools or budget to reach this audience, you’ll want to partner with someone that does. A reputable physician recruitment firm should have a good applicant tracking systems/CRM, email marketing platform, access to high-quality job boards, and have experience with online sourcing and advertising.
Does your organization have the resources it takes to successfully fill the vacancies you currently have and anticipate? The search takes time but so does preparing for site visits, onboarding, etc.
You can always hire more recruiters, or you can start thinking outside the box. A nursing staffing agency produced a reality TV show about travel nursing to attract more candidates.
Don’t Wait to Maximize Your Physician ROI
To maximize ROI, retention needs to be part of the recruitment strategy. Not only does a high retention rate mean a better quality of care, it means higher patient satisfaction, higher patient loyalty, and a stable stream of indirect revenue. Excellent retention means you can focus on recruitment that grows your organization, and be an employer of choice.
Indirect Physician Revenue is something that medium to large sized healthcare organizations need to include in their ROI calculations. Primary care providers generate revenue through labs, imaging, and hospital admissions. Five to ten percent of all primary care visits include a referral to a specialist. Without the ability to make referrals within your organization, you lose out on revenue from your best sources.
Using benchmarks beyond ROI is a great way to evaluate your entire recruitment process. It’s easy to get started. You need to identify and measure key recruitment metrics. The most common KPIs are time-to-fill, interviews per hire, retention rates, and number of patients. With the right data, you’ll be able to make informed decisions and see how those decisions affect your organization.
1 “ASPR 2018 Benchmarking Report” ASPR, January 2019. https://www.aspr.org/page/2018_benchmarking_news
2 “2013 Physician Retention Survey” AMGA, August 2014. https://www.amga.org
3 “What Too Many Hospitals Are Overlooking” Gallup, February 2015. https://news.gallup.com/businessjournal/181658/hospitals-overlooking.aspx
4 “2017 MMS Annual Physician Survey Job Opportunity Preferences” MMS Lists-Medical Marketing Service Inc., 2017 https://www.mmslists.com/2017-recruiter-survey-results-form