Challenging Times for Medical Practices
Everywhere you look this year, people are talking about the Great Resignation. Currently, one of the number one challenges across nearly all industries, is hiring and retaining staff. Perhaps no one is experiencing this more than those in the medical field. Hiring and retaining clinical and administrative staff is a chief complaint for many. Below, we share some tips on how to combat the problems you are experiencing with hiring, motivating, and retaining staff.
Recruiting New Staff
The key word in recruiting new staff is enticement.
The labor market is tight, and there is a shortage of qualified candidates. Medical practices are feeling this even more acutely. Fears surrounding COVID-19 leave many employees declining to return to the office and new recruits hesitant to come on board. Practices are competing amongst each other for the same positions and the pool of candidates seems limited. Even professional recruiting firms are experiencing difficulty, so it is no doubt physicians are feeling the same pressures.
It is no surprise that one of the biggest enticements for candidates is an attractive compensation arrangement. Wage and benefit offerings are becoming increasingly competitive, and are one of the first things prospective recruits consider. Medical practices should consider what others in your area are offering for similar positions. Industry surveys may offer this information as a resource, or you may also be able to hire a third party to conduct salary and wage studies for you.
Beyond competitive wages, new candidates for hire are also looking hard for other benefits that they would receive. One big benefit candidates are looking for these days is flexibility. Flexible work schedules may seem impossible when you need staff in the office to deal firsthand with patients. However, some practices are meeting this need with job sharing arrangements and float pools where your staff is cross trained to handle differing tasks to cover when another person needs to take time off.
One other recruiting tip is to look beyond the scope of the typical work history when considering candidates. Many office administrative staff positions could be opened up to those that are organized and can follow standard operating procedures. On the job training can help these recruits learn the nuances of the medical field.
Retaining employees is next on the top list of concerns for medical practices. Just like new recruits, your current employees are looking for the same benefits and may actually be looking elsewhere to see what is being offered. Based on a study conducted by PWC last year, 65% of employees are looking for a new position. It is imperative to ensure you are offering them competitive wages and benefits, in addition to flexibility. Just as attracting new talent requires enticement, you also need to entice current staff to stay. Retaining current staff is often much less costly than having to start over recruiting and training new staff from scratch.
Another serious consideration when it comes to retention is how to keep staff engaged. With an increase in patient volume and less staffing in office than ever before, burnout is a key concern. Creating a positive culture that keeps employees happy should be a chief goal of your practice.
One way to prevent burnout is to cross train your staff. You can provide opportunities for your staff to pursue continued education and to obtain additional certifications. In a Gallup study last year performed for Amazon, 57% of U.S. workers want to increase their skills and 48% would consider changing jobs to do so. Offering additional skills and training not only provides incentives for employees, it also allows your team to better service patients and prevent boredom. Cross training and increased educational opportunities can help your staff successfully navigate both job sharing and float pool arrangements.
Above all else, communication with your staff is key. Keep an open dialogue, listen to their concerns and help solve issues when they first arise. If you would like to discuss the strategies discussed above or other methods to consider in hiring and retaining staff, please contact Angela M. Chaney, CPA at 240.364.2656.