Medical Officer Manager recently published partner Carl Kutsmode’s article “Spending too much time, effort and money on recruitment? Borrow from others’ ‘best practices.’ Read the full article below.
Hiring top talent for your medical practice isn’t easy. And, the bad news is that it won’t get easier anytime soon. Just consider a few facts:
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the employment of staff physician assistants is projected to grow 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.
- Roughly one-third of the current nursing workforce will reach retirement age in the next 10 to 15 years. Nearly 700,000 nurses are projected to retire or leave the labor force by 2024. (Source: The Atlantic)
The unsettling truth is that medical office managers in charge of recruitment, regardless of the size of their practice, are working harder than ever to find top talent. The challenges impact all professional roles: according to the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR), 48 percent of in-house physician recruitment professionals anticipate an increase in the volume of searches. Consequently, that translates into increased workloads: the same study found that, in addition to recruitment responsibilities, respondents are also involved with onboarding (64 percent), retention (51 percent), and strategic planning (60 percent).
Since qualified candidates are scarce and time is most always of the essence, many medical offices need to fine-tune their hiring practices. Recognizing that a complete overhaul is usually not feasible, below we share four foundational best practices drawn from our work with many organizations over the years. These best practices, categorized by overall topic, typically lower costs, reduce time-to-hire, and also save significant effort for recruiters. By adopting these suggestions, even mid-to-smaller medical offices can be as successful as possible in hiring the right people.
1. Develop a hiring strategy. It may seem obvious to develop an overall talent blueprint for your office to outline who you need to hire for what roles and when. But that’s not always the case for fast moving medical offices. The strategy involves planning for growth, retirements, terminations, succession, and/or promotions, and any other events or actions that may require hiring. When done right, a cohesive and comprehensive workforce strategy will allow you to budget for salaries, plan for expected and possibly unexpected openings, and get ahead of hiring (especially for difficult-to-fill roles) at least six months to a year in advance. It also allows you to get all of your key decision-makers on the proverbial same page about hiring priorities so that less time is wasted, for instance, on debating whether someone authorized a new hire…or not.
2. Outline a hiring process. Again, this may seem obvious but it is critical to hiring success. A clearly articulated process will accomplish much, such as ensuring that:
- No “rogue hires” are made
- Candidates know exactly what the process is so that they aren’t left hanging waiting for a decision and decide to join another practice in the interim
- Someone is accountable for critical activities such as background checks
- Ultimate decision-making authority, including salary negotiations, is clearly delegated
- Key metrics (such as time-to-fill) are captured and used to refine your process
- Onboarding of new team members is seamless
3. Equip your people. If you are fortunate enough to have a dedicated professional recruiter doing your hiring, ensure that he/she has the latest toolbox of social media tools to build your employer brand and engage candidates. On the other hand, even those who handle recruitment in addition to other duties can tap into the latest technological recruitment advances by investing in, for example, LinkedIn for recruiters and learning how to use these tools through vendor-provided webinars. If you don’t have the time or the resources to stay abreast of the new technologies, consider outsourcing both employer branding and candidate sourcing to an external provider who can help you build a pipeline of talent that fits your needs.
In addition to technology, be sure to provide all team members involved in the hiring process with training so that they become better interviewers and can thereby identify and assess candidates for both the required technical skills and the cultural fit that will make them successful within your practice.
4. Always consider compliance. As a medical office manager, it’s an understatement to say that you are already tracking many different aspects of compliance. However, compliance with hiring and employment laws needs to be on your list as well. As you probably know, these cover a myriad of employment-related issues including wages, benefits, employee safety and health, and nondiscrimination policies. The regulations change often at both the federal and state level, which is why we encourage those in charge of hiring to conduct an objective review of their hiring practices – including the actual job posting and application processes on (at a minimum) an annual basis.
In this highly competitive race for talent, savvy medical practices need to reevaluate their recruitment strategies to gain a head start. While every medical office is unique and should be assessing what works (and what doesn’t) within their own recruitment strategy, processes, technology, and people, these foundational best practices will guide you along the way.
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