A strong physician workforce is not just about numbers; it's about providing quality care to patients. When healthcare organizations can successfully recruit and retain physicians, they can ensure continuity of care, improve patient satisfaction, and enhance their reputation in the healthcare community.
The shortage is top of mind for many healthcare organizations right now. It was a key topic of conversation at the recent 2023 CPCA Annual Conference in Los Angeles, and with more than 71,000 physicians leaving the healthcare workforce in 2022, it’s never been more important to adopt strategies that help you strengthen your team.
Physician Recruitment Strategies
Offering Competitive Compensation and Unique Benefits
The staff shortage and increased demand has put physicians in a very strong position, and they know it. It’s critical that you offer competitive compensation for physicians to even consider working with you. To ensure you aren’t immediately being disregarded based on pay, monitor the market average, which was reported to be $352,000 in 2023. You can also consider using one of the various compensation models to maximize overall physician pay.
Once you’ve garnered attention with competitive compensation, look for opportunities to make your offer stand out by including unique benefits. If you own a private facility, consider offering physicians equity in your business. This outside-the-box benefit not only draws attention but also increases physician buy-in and makes them more likely to stay with your organization.
Building a Strong Reputation
Your reputation plays a crucial role in the success of your recruitment. A poor reputation can cost companies at least 10% more per hire, per Harvard Business Review, and 55% of candidates will not apply for a position with an employer that has negative online reviews, according to Careerarc.
For physicians, reputation is critical. Many want to build their own brand to attract more patients and maximize revenue. By strengthening your organization’s reputation, you give physicians another reason to choose your facility instead of your competitors.
Utilizing social media is a great way to both improve links with your community and promote your facility to potential candidates. Channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn are among the first places physicians will go for more information when reading your job advert. Having active social media feeds and an engaged audience will go a long way to convincing physicians that yours is an organization that can boost their reputation.
Using a Recruitment Company
Recruitment takes a lot of time and effort, especially in competitive fields. Not every healthcare organization has the capacity to manage the entire recruitment process, which can lead to a lack of interest, low-quality candidates, and poor hiring decisions.
Instead, consider hiring the support of an experienced recruitment company. Managed service providers — such as AMN Healthcare, a CNECT partner — will take control of your entire hiring process: from posting adverts through to setting start dates for your new hire. Alternatively, if you want to retain some control, they’ll manage the most time-consuming parts, like reviewing resumes and vetting candidates.
Establishing External Relationships
Developing relationships with other organizations, such as medical schools and residency programs, is a great way to establish a steady stream of potential candidates. This will help medical students become comfortable with your facility, and ensure you are at the forefront of their mind, so when they look for their first job after qualifying, you are a top choice.
Physician Retention Strategies
Involving Physicians in Decision-Making
Everyone wants to feel valued. Giving your physicians a say in key decisions will help you avoid issues that may otherwise result in them leaving. If they are involved in matters important to them — such as their schedule or the brand of surgical equipment you use — they’ll feel valued and empowered. Being part of the decision-making process also gives physicians the feeling of control over their situation, so they don’t feel powerless if an issue arises.
Following Through on Hiring Promises
Putting together an attractive but realistic employment package doubles as both a great recruitment strategy and an important retention strategy. You must make sure you fulfill the promises you made during the hiring process if you want to retain your staff. If you don’t, they’ll feel misled, lose trust in your organization, and start looking for other opportunities. They may even choose to file a lawsuit against you; a situation which cost one Colorado company more than $370,000.
Addressing Burnout and Work-Life Balance Issues
Retaining your physicians doesn’t just mean preventing them from moving to another facility; it also means preventing them from leaving the industry altogether. Burnout has caused hundreds of thousands of workers to give up their jobs in healthcare in recent years, and one in four clinicians in the U.S. are considering leaving the healthcare industry, with burnout being a primary reason.
By promoting a healthy work-life balance and utilizing strategies to minimize burnout, you’ll help your physicians better cope with the stresses of their job and minimize the likelihood of them leaving the workforce.
Utilizing Universal Retention Strategies
The examples above are specific physician retention strategies. In employing those strategies, it’s important not to lose sight of factors that contribute to the universal retention of staff. This includes:
- Providing opportunities for growth and professional development.
- Creating a positive work environment.
- Encouraging open communication.
- Requesting and acting upon staff feedback.
- Recognizing and rewarding your staff's work.
It’s Time to Invest in Recruiting and Retaining Physicians
The physician shortage is expected to continue for some time. Federal efforts to invest in the next generation of healthcare staff may have an impact in the future, but your patients need your support now.
If you’re looking for support with developing and deploying physician recruitment and retention strategies, we have multiple contracted partners who can help. To connect with them, contact us via our website.