Small practices can have trouble recruiting top talent. Here are some tips to help you out.
Small and independent practices often face the biggest challenges as they try to compete for clinical talent against larger entities.
They don’t have as many recruitment and retention resources or the financial capacity to offer compensation packages as generous as larger or system-owned practices.
Management experts stress that a well-crafted plan can help these practices be more successful in hiring the right people for their teams.
Here are 7 tips to hiring clinical staff at a small medical practice.
Target the talent
To attract physicians, independent practices should search for candidates who come from rural areas and are therefore likely familiar with life in those areas, the sense of community they often have and perhaps even how healthcare practices in those areas operate. Practices should use professional networks, medical schools or physician associations to identify clinicians who fit that profile.
Train future doctors
Independent practices also should work with medical schools or regional medical associates to attract potential candidates. Reach out and offer the opportunity for students to learn about small-practice medicine, rural medicine, and form a program that exposes them to this environment.
Budget for competitive compensation
An attractive compensation package includes a competitive salary and standard benefits, such as health and dental insurance as well as paid time off for vacations, sick days, and bereavement. Small and independent practices don’t often have the money to fund a new position as soon as they recognize the need for more staff, so plan strategically to start budgeting for new positions a year or two in advance of recruiting and hiring.
Think outside the box
While salary is important, small practices can also attract and retain staff by structuring compensation to reward hard work or finding other ways to boost the total compensation package.
Consider creating bonuses for clinicians who meet productivity goals, or establish an employee profit-sharing program.
Offer growth opportunities
Practices should determine ways for their physicians, non-physician providers, and support staffers to grow professionally.
Enabling employees to pursue more education conveys that your practice is investing in the staff, and can save the practice money in the long run. The cost of the training plus a raise and promotion for the employee could be less than the salary you’d wind up paying an external hire.
Don’t forget to use professional development opportunities as a recruitment tool.
Offer unique perks
Staff members often want some degree of individualized benefits.
For example, all staff members may not need health insurance because they are already covered by their spouse’s plan. Some may be more interested in flexible hours or more vacation time. Learn what your staff members value the most and tailor what you offer to help retain them.
Practice owners could offer new physicians the ability to hire their own care teams, determine how broad to make the scope of their practice coverage, and even set their office hours.
Rural practices can sell the fact that physicians working in them generally practice a broader range of medicine and that they’re often a bigger part of these communities than their suburban and urban counterparts.
Although management consultants say small and independent practices should use individualized employment packages as a way to recruit and retain top talent, they advise practice owners to have policies and procedures in place to establish available benefits so that even if employment packages are individualized, they won’t seem capricious.
Practice owners who want to recruit and retain skilled professionals need to focus on being good employers-not just good healthcare providers.