Our profession has always faced significant challenges; from the physician shortage to an aging workforce and the complex economics of the health care industry, it has not been an easy task to source, hire and retain top provider talent.
Then, in 2020, the complexities of a pandemic drove enormous changes and added new challenges. As a result, the role of the recruitment professional is constantly evolving, but looking into the future, what can we expect from 2022?
Innovative. Strategic. Adaptable. These are just a few words that describe the future of the physician and provider recruitment industry. They are also words that describe the traits successful recruitment professionals have cultivated.
For better or worse, the last two years have shown the world that utilizing technology is necessary to improve connections, experiences and processes. Love it or hate it, candidates have come to expect that at least some of the interview process will be virtual. Job seekers also research organizations and communities before submitting a CV, making digital recruitment tools like videos essential.
Not only is it important for virtual interviews to be well planned and polished, but the experience will also need to be unique to make an impression on a candidate. Before virtual interviews took hold, job seekers would have to be selective about how many interviews they could reasonably attend in person. Today, they can conduct countless interviews without taking any time off or even leaving home. To stand out, recruitment professionals will need to create new and different experiences for candidates.
Similarly, candidates are spending more time researching opportunities and communities online. As a result, organizations may find it important to have videos of the practice, hospital and even community easily accessible for candidates. While many recruitment professionals will point out that social media has never yielded the best return on investment in a digital and virtual world, maintaining a presence online is essential to build brand recognition.
In a competitive market, how do organizations stand out? There has never been a better time to invest in new technology and creative marketing materials. Moving beyond platforms like Zoom and Teams to harness technology and utilize virtual platforms designed to enhance virtual meetings and gatherings can significantly improve a candidate’s experience and make a lasting impression. Developing new marketing videos to share on social media or with candidates highlighting an organization’s unique characteristics can set an organization apart and attract the best providers to a team.
COVID-19 changed the world. Nearly two years on, many are still determining their comfort levels regarding what, before 2020, were relatively mundane events. We have all needed to decide how comfortable we are with everything from large-scale live events like concerts and professional sports to travel, dining out and family gatherings. These are complex decisions that also involve ever-changing variables.
We no longer live in an either-or world, either virtual or in person. We live in a world where offering both virtual and in-person options for candidates is becoming the norm. Experts predict that, as a country, we will continue to move in and out of COVID waves for some time, which may disrupt interviews. With possible disruptions in mind, recruitment professionals and organizations alike should be prepared to adjust plans to meet the needs of both the candidate and the practice.
However, recruitment teams will need to re-establish timelines and processes to ensure that candidates remain engaged with more interview options available. Long gaps between initial virtual interviews and in-person visits open the possibility of losing solid candidates to other opportunities. Including the same stakeholders in multiple interview stages can also feel redundant, so anyone meeting with candidates more than once should have different talking points each time to keep things fresh and engaging.
Candidates have also grown used to attending events like career fairs and open houses virtually rather than traveling to join in person. This trend will likely continue, making it imperative that recruitment professionals develop even broader recruitment plans than ever before and research and try new platforms to engage with job seekers.
Recognizing that we will need to continue to adapt to changing circumstances and the individual needs and preferences of candidates will be crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage into 2022.
Increasingly, employees seek more flexibility, better work-life balance, and improved pay and working conditions. Those who cannot change conditions in their current position are resigning and seeking new opportunities, a trend coined ‘the great resignation.’ Unfortunately, the cost of turnover is high, especially in health care. A physician vacancy can cost organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue, not to mention the gap in patient care while the vacancy is filled.
Organizations must have programs in place to gauge physician satisfaction and engagement to retain providers. The use of tools and programs such as stay interviews and physician mentoring can help organizations keep physicians engaged when provider burnout is at an all-time high. By keeping a pulse on providers, organizations can assess whether there may be retention issues on the horizon and develop plans to address them before they face resignations.
Strategically investing in retention efforts and programs can save organizations the time it will take to replace a physician and the revenue lost during the vacancy. It can also help improve the quality of care by ensuring that providers feel valued and have job satisfaction. Furthermore, patient satisfaction is more likely to remain high if they can see the same provider year after year and do not have to deal with the stress of being moved to a new or different provider panel.
2020 and 2021 ushered in enormous changes to the health care industry. These changes brought new challenges for recruitment professionals, and teams rose to the challenge by developing new processes, plans and tactics. Looking into the future, continued change is almost inevitable. However, by innovating, adapting and strategizing, recruitment teams can continue to source, select, hire and retain the best providers for their organizations and the patients in their communities.
Liz Mahan, MFA, CPRP is the Physician Recruitment Advisor for AAPPR. Before joining AAPPR, she was a physician and provider recruitment professional at Berkshire Health Systems in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. During her tenure as a recruiter, she enjoyed partnering with physicians, senior leaders and practice administrators to identify the best resources available to recruit, onboard and retain top provider talent. Liz has a passion for helping others succeed, using creative problem solving and innovation to meet the challenges presented in today’s market.
As Physician Recruitment Advisor at AAPPR, Liz partners with recruitment professionals to develop tools and resources to advance the profession. She is an experienced roundtable facilitator and public speaker and enjoys writing articles and blog posts on trends in physician and provider recruitment.