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May 1, 2024

Does your employer brand match perception?

Let’s say you’re recruiting for a large system. Maybe you - and your happily employed physicians - know that it’s a fantastic place to practice medicine. But maybe simply based on the type of organization, some job seekers will wrongly assume that your physicians lack autonomy, that scheduling is inflexible, or that pay is not competitive.
"Conventional wisdom" about productivity-based pay, private groups versus integrated hospital systems, private-equity-backed groups and government employers can be especially hard to debunk among residents and fellows who are beginning to search for jobs. And when an incorrect assumption causes good candidates to take themselves out of the running without even submitting a CV, it’s not just a loss for you.
If misconceptions in the market about your organization are depressing your applicant flow even a little, addressing the problem could be very profitable.
Confirm that your recent hires are happy
A good place to start is with your recently hired physicians. Have you checked in with them a few months or a year into their employment? What kind of feedback are you getting? If you offer refundable signing bonuses, are any candidates leaving before they’re fully earned? If so, are they sharing credible reasons that are unrelated to your work environment? Ask them if they heard anything negative from their peers during the recruitment process that gave them pause about the organization.
Diagnose image problems
Your recent hires may be able to provide clues about misconceptions that could discourage peers from applying.
For example, if your hospital system had a layoff, that might give physician candidates pause, even if your location was unaffected or physicians weren’t part of the reduction.
Other times, the reasons aren’t so obvious. For example, a review of a regional health system on a popular employer rating website mentions a standard application that’s lengthy and intrusive. Keeping the clunky status quo may seem harmless, but it can be a big turnoff to younger applicants, partly because lengthy applications are a pain to complete on a mobile device.
Applicants will make assumptions about how bureaucratic or technically savvy your organization is based on these first interactions. You may have cutting-edge tech throughout your clinical organization, but candidates who judge you as a dinosaur in their first interactions will never find out what they’re missing.
Another unintended possible turn-off: posted salaries without explanation. The pay-transparency trend in job
postings has the potential to help both organizations and applicants by avoiding misunderstandings. But physician compensation is often a roll-up of components that aren’t easily compared across different organizations. Your compensation structure may look less appealing than other options if not properly explained in job postings.
One last "under the radar" image factor that’s more harmful than it seems: ghosting candidates or leaving them
hanging. While you may never know those candidates were upset, their peers will - in person or in private social media groups catering to physicians. Word can spread quickly, and it can create the impression that your organization has less respect for physicians than it actually does.
Fix a mismatch
Fix anything that sends an inconsistent message, like job postings that inadvertently undersell your compensation
programs. Address news stories that cast a negative light head-on in your materials and conversations with
candidates. Change workflows to help ensure etiquette is maintained. And work with others in your organization to scrub outmoded data collections that don’t meet modern expectations.
When the issue is a false impression about your type of organization, increase your promotion of the advantages
of your workplace. Consider adding video testimonials from your physicians that specifically debunk mistaken
Another way to capitalize on your happy physicians as ambassadors of your organization: a referral bonus
program. Make sure it’s financially worthwhile, and consider offering a bonus to both referrer and the new employee.

Read PracticeLink articles by Laurie Morgan

Laurie Morgan

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