New Study Shows In-House Recruitment Technology Investments Lag Behind

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Sponsored by Jackson Physician Search, the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR) examined the ways in which in-house teams use technology for applicant tracking, time management, communication, and general staff productivity.

The study revealed investments in technology to support physician recruitment lags behind other technology investments by hospitals and health systems. Additional findings from the Physician Recruitment Technology Utilization Study include:

  • 44% of organizations made a significant technology investment (defined as greater than 10k) over the last twelve months to assist with daily recruitment processes.
  • 17.5% reported their organization had never invested in technology of this kind.
  • 36.8% said they use an Excel spreadsheet to track and manage search and candidate activity.

Go to the AAPPR website to download the full Physician Recruitment Technology Utilization Study.

Five Ways to Remove Bias When Recruiting Female Physicians

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When you consider that 58% of the U.S. civilian workforce is female, it stands to reason that a similar percentage of female physicians in our country might exist. That reasoning would be incorrect, as only 34% of U.S. physicians are female, and only 18% of hospital CEOs are women[i].  These disparities are disappointing, as women are just as accomplished at practicing medicine as their male counterparts.  In a comprehensive study of 1.5 million Medicare patients, those treated by female physicians had significantly lower mortality rates and readmission rates when compared with male physicians at the same hospital.

The reasons why the recruitment and hiring of female physicians lag behind men are unclear, but it would appear that there is an unintentional or unconscious bias against them.  Studies have shown that women are less likely to be promoted or hired based on their gender, and a 2016 survey of almost 6,000 physicians found that much of the discrimination was specific to mothers.  Since it has been established that a gender bias exists, let’s focus on what healthcare administrators can do to remove bias from their recruitment and hiring practices.

Recognize if Bias Exists

One of the first things any administrator can do to determine if bias exists within their hospital or healthcare system is to take a good hard look in the mirror.  What is your current ratio of male to female physicians?  Consider that 46% of all physicians in training, and 52% of medical students in the U.S. are females, your physician hires within recent years should be more reflective of those ratios.  It is easy to have a conversation with those who are doing the recruiting and hiring without it being accusatory. There may be valid reasons why there is a disparity in the genders of your physician staff, but it is always worth having the discussion.

Ensure Internal Policies Don’t Penalize Women

Family leave policies vary by organization, and in some cases, they unintentionally penalize women.  While it is harder to track the policies within private companies and hospitals, in academic medicine, university policies only grant an average of eight weeks of paid family leave.  Female physicians shouldn’t be in a position of having to be concerned that maternal responsibilities are going to impact their career or standing in the workplace negatively.  Policies to support child-rearing, lactation, and other familial responsibilities should be carefully considered.  In the long run, family-friendly policies will benefit both male and female physicians, increasing engagement, lessening burnout, and improving retention.

Take Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Seriously

A recent report from the National Academies of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Medicine found that a staggering 40 – 50% of medical students reported experiencing sexual harassment by faculty and colleagues.  In addition to sexual harassment from colleagues, women physicians are also more likely to experience harassment from patients.  It is believed that the harassment may even be underreported for fear of retaliation, and physician burnout studies show that it is a significant factor for female physicians. Sexual harassment training, while necessary, doesn’t go far enough, and many proactive organizations have implemented online reporting systems to encourage individuals to report incidents and track repeat offenders.

Conduct Bias Prevention Training

Have your recruitment and hiring staff ever had implicit bias training?  Even if you don’t believe that gender bias exists within your hiring practices, it is a worthwhile undertaking as a strategy to ensure that bias is recognized if it arises, and also as a means to address it.  There are evidence-based programs that help leaders develop strategies to combat bias in hiring, compensation, and promotion practices.

Encourage Formal Mentorship Programs

Having a formal mentoring program will benefit all of your physicians, not just your female staff.  Sponsor networking events that encourage physicians to identify potential mentors that they may otherwise never meet.  Peer mentoring programs, providing a platform for female physicians at similar career stages to get together, is another incredibly beneficial way to help them navigate issues that are unique to women.  Some groups are focused on building skills and networking, while others serve as a collaborative sounding board.  Whatever the purpose, it is another easy strategy to implement in support of your female physicians.

As healthcare administrators continue to consider the means to navigate the looming physician shortage, it makes sense to ensure that they are implementing strategies that serve to benefit all of their physicians.  Promoting physician engagement and well-being is a critical component of reducing burnout and improving retention.  Equally important is rooting out any indication of gender bias and creating an environment where female physicians can thrive based on their skills and abilities.

Help bolster your organization’s recruitment program by partnering with a search firm that provides a nation-wide reach and is comprised of healthcare industry professionals.  Contact Jackson Physician Search today.

[i] https://hbr.org/2018/06/whats-holding-women-in-medicine-back-from-leadership

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When is the Right Time to Ask for Physician Recruitment Help?

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Time is money, especially when it comes to the amount of time it takes to fill a physician vacancy.  The costs that are accrued from the time a position becomes vacant to the date it is filled can reach up to $1 million in lost revenue, based on the specialty. Whether you are an administrator for a large system hospital or a small community health center, managing your time-to-fill rates are critical in today’s competitive physician recruitment and hiring environment.  More and more, organizations of all sizes are evaluating their internal recruitment and retention process to ensure they are maximizing their return on investment.  The stark reality of physician supply and demand is that no matter how good your internal recruitment teams are, there will always be a time when they could use some help from a trusted recruitment partner.  Let’s answer the question that more healthcare administrators find themselves asking, “When is the right time to ask for recruitment help?”

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, as it depends on a lot of factors that are specific to your organization.  Things to consider are the effectiveness of your current in-house recruitment operation, how many vacancies are currently in the pipeline and do the vacancies include hard to fill specialties like family medicine, psychiatry, internal medicine, and OB/GYN.  Another important consideration when determining the right time to partner with a recruitment firm is how many hats your in-house recruiters are wearing in addition to sourcing candidates.  Are they responsible for sourcing, screening, setting up interviews, coordinating site visits, participating in interviews, and coordinating credentials?  Let’s face it, recruiting is a lot more than sourcing candidates, and when you are projecting vacancies due to retirements or planned expansion, finding a reliable, trusted recruitment partner can be the difference between finding a candidate who is the right fit and settling on a candidate to fill a vacancy.

Hard-to-fill Vacancies

One scenario that qualifies as a perfect time to establish a relationship with a physician search partner is when you have a hard-to-fill vacancy.  The market for physicians is competitive as it is, not to mention finding one of the aforementioned high-demand/low-supply vacancies.  Enlisting the help of a trusted firm can help you access a broader pool of candidates, including passive candidates who are only casually keeping an eye on opportunities.  A professional physician search firm will provide you with access to detailed candidate information, the latest technologies, and proven systems that can cast a wider net to find your perfect candidate.  It is never wrong to have a trusted partner do the heavy lifting on those difficult-to-fill vacancies.

Short-staffed Recruitment Team

Every organization goes through periods where individual departments are short-staffed due to illness, maternity and paternity leave, vacations, promotions, etc.  Considering the costs we have already mentioned, no amount of time is acceptable to leave a vacancy dormant.  Once you have established that working relationship with a search partner, it becomes easier to off-load searches onto an external team if your internal team is currently understaffed or overwhelmed.  Each month on average, a physician vacancy is costing you up to $150,000, so it makes sense in every perspective to keep the flow of candidates going, no matter what the situation may be with your team.

Understand Your Numbers

It may sound simplistic, but if you don’t understand your key recruitment metrics, you may never know when you have a problem.  Benchmarking your process gives you insight that allows you to adjust to fill gaps.  You should measure key data points, such as Time to Fill, # of Interviews until Hire, Acceptance Rate percentage, and three and five-year retention rates.  If you know these numbers, you will know if you need to bring on external recruitment help. Your numbers should also tell you your total cost to hire and your return on investment.  If you need to calculate what your current recruitment ‘Return on Investment’ is, find an ROI Calculator here.

Maintaining Momentum

How many times has your organization thought they had found the right candidate to fill a physician vacancy, only to find out that they accepted another offer? Once is too many if you are looking at your bottom line.  An often overlooked aspect of physician recruitment is what comes after you’ve sourced a candidate.  If your in-house recruiters are responsible for coordinating interviews, site visits, and everything else that goes into the hiring of a physician, then it pays to be cognizant of their workload.  When your team is juggling a lot of searches and the accompanying details, it is the perfect time to offload a couple of searches onto your external search partner to maintain the momentum with candidates that are already in the pipeline. Once a candidate is interested in your position, never drop the ball. From the first contact to the coordination of an interview, the interested candidate should feel reciprocal interest from your team. Allowing your internal teams to concentrate on maintaining that momentum while your external partner finds you candidates is an appropriate way to divide up the workload during periods of heavy activity. Here are a few key tips for maintaining momentum with a candidate:

  • The first contact with a presented candidate should be within 24 – 48 hours.
  • Set up an interview at the candidate’s earliest convenience. Be flexible!
  • Prepare a winning site visit. Don’t skimp, tailor the site visit to each specific candidate to show you are interested (please watch singular versus plural).
  • Don’t forget to recruit the physician’s family just as hard.
  • Have the framework of a contract in place and agreed upon by key stakeholders. Waiting on contract approvals is a sure way to lose candidates.
  • Maintain regular contact straight through the onboarding process.

Finding the right search partner can make all the difference in your recruitment process, but don’t discount how recruitment feeds into retention.  When you focus on the end result of finding the right candidate, you are in turn finding a candidate that naturally fits your organization and has a better chance to stay engaged, be productive, and want to stay in the position longer.  More than in years past, physicians want to find an organization that has a similar culture and values to their own.  Hiring for fit is the single best way to improve retention, and finding those candidates often requires more than posting your vacancy on a couple of job boards. Working with a recruitment partner is one way that you can expand the resources that are available to you and engage both active and passive candidates to your organization.

Jackson Physician Search is a healthcare industry leader and is poised to be the physician recruitment partner that your organization needs.  Contact our recruitment professionals today and learn how we can help you find physicians who fit, succeed, and stay.

 

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Jackson Physician Search featured in Top 10 HealthLeaders Clinical Care Stories 2019

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Survey data collected by Jackson Physician Search was featured in an article that made the Top 10 HealthLeaders Clinical Care Stories of 2019. Below is an excerpt from that article.

4 STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS CLINICAL STAFF SHORTAGES AT RURAL HOSPITALS

BY CHRISTOPHER CHENEY     SEPTEMBER 18, 2019

RECRUITING PHYSICIANS AT RURAL HEALTHCARE ORGANIZATIONS

survey report published by Alpharetta, Georgia–based Jackson Physician Search also includes a gloomy view of the rural physician workforce. “From 2013 to 2015, the overall supply of physicians in the United States grew by 16,000 but the number of rural physicians declined by 1,400. These facts compound the problem that while 20 percent of the U.S. population is rural, only 12 percent of the primary care physicians work in a rural area,” the survey report says.

The survey report, which is based on data collected from more than 150 physicians and 105 rural health system administrators, says four factors were found to be particularly effective in the recruitment of doctors in rural areas.

1. Autonomy: The survey found 43% of physician respondents consider autonomy as a significant goal in their careers. The physician survey respondents say they value practicing medicine without undue influence from executives. “Healthcare professionals—both nurses and physicians—want to have their voices heard, especially when it comes to issues affecting their practice of medicine. Rural hospitals have the advantage here when compared to a large bureaucratic health system,” Tony Stajduhar, president of Jackson Physician Search, tells HealthLeaders.

2. Team-based culture: Physician survey respondents say they enjoy working at healthcare organizations that have strong teamwork and collaborative decision-making. “Culture and fit are widely discussed as important factors for physicians in feeling engaged in the workplace,” the survey report says.

3. Recruit the family: Physician and administrator survey respondents say a family-friendly environment is a desirable aspect of a healthcare organization. “Highlighting the best aspects of the community and involving community leaders in the process will go a long way in demonstrating the community’s value to the physician. Specifically, taking time to ensure that spouses and significant others are engaged in the process can be a deciding factor once an offer is being considered,” the survey report says.

4. Administrator role in recruitment: With physicians ranking culture high as a desirable attribute at healthcare organizations, rural hospital CEOs and other top administrators can be a decisive factor in the recruitment of doctors, Stajduhar says.

“Based on our survey, a well-designed, on-site visit that makes the physician and their family feel welcome and highlights the community culture is the No. 1 factor in picking a practice location. They need to be able to see themselves as part of an active and vibrant community, and to enjoy working in the organizational environment. Painting a picture of the vision of the organization and how they fit into building the future is essential. The senior leadership of the organization must be involved and take a lead role in the process,” he says.

Read the full article here.

[White Paper] The Realities of Physician Retirement: A Survey of Physicians and Healthcare Administrators

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One of the major factors of the impending physician shortage is the aging physician workforce. We recently conducted a survey including practicing physicians and health administrators to better understand the situation. This whitepaper includes our findings and conclusions. Feel free to download and share.

 

By 2020, one in three physicians will be over age 65 and approaching retirement. For hospital administrators, recruiting an experienced physician is a complicated process that takes significant time. An open position is costly in terms of lost revenue and the potential loss of both patient satisfaction and staff morale.

Given that a hospital can easily lose $150,000 per month if a specialist leaves and that a search for a medical or surgical specialist takes five to 10 months, the stakes are high. New research from Jackson Physician Search―that surveyed both practicing physicians and healthcare administrators―highlights the importance of creating the right culture and processes around physician retirement, including effective transition processes and ongoing recruiting efforts, to avoid the negatives of a vacancy or understaffing situation.

Among the key findings:

  • Physicians’ drivers for retirement include lifestyle, financial stability, burnout and frustration with the current state of medicine. While physicians cited lifestyle issues (44 percent) as the most important reason driving their retirement decision, followed by financial stability (23 percent), comments from nearly 20 percent of them noted burnout and frustration with the increased focus on paperwork and patient volume as well as decreased focus on patient care.
  • Physicians feel it’s their responsibility to initiate the retirement conversation, but they are less comfortable doing so than administrators. A large majority of physicians (80 percent) said it’s their responsibility to broach the subject compared with 37 percent of administrators, yet less of them (52 percent) are comfortable discussing retirement plans than administrators (74 percent).
  • Physicians and administrators have vastly different opinions on what the ideal notice period is for a retirement timeline. Almost 50 percent of administrators indicated the ideal notice was one to three years, while 40 percent of physicians felt six months or less was sufficient. Also, 34 percent of physicians said they weren’t required to give any notice of retirement, while 81 percent of administrators said they were required to give more than three months.
  • Administrators assume that many physicians will fully retire, but a number of them plan to work elsewhere. Almost 40 percent of administrators named full retirement as a top retirement transition method at their organization, but just 17 percent of physicians were planning to do so. In contrast, 28 percent of doctors say they will work part or full time somewhere else.

Although there is hesitancy about initiating a conversation about retirement, it is clear that both administrators and physicians feel that it’s a beneficial discussion for both parties. Differences remain on length of notice and whose responsibility it is to bring up retirement, but when handled respectfully and conducted in a non-discriminatory way, both parties can find the ideal way to transition the retirement with proper planning and processes.

Survey Methodology and Demographics

To find out how both physicians and hospital administrators approach physician retirement and transition planning, we surveyed both groups on a range of related topics. These included the age of retirement, drivers for making the decision, requirements and timeframe for giving notice, comfort with having the conversation and whose responsibility it was to initiate it. Other questions were related to the retirement transition itself and interest in employer retirement incentives.

A total of 567 physicians and surgeons from a wide range of specialties responded to the survey. Physician respondents were distributed throughout the United States, roughly based on state population. Half of them described their communities as suburban and just 15 percent noted rural. Most respondents (61 percent) were between the ages of 50 and 69, and the majority were male (71 percent).

There were 100 hospital administrator respondents to the survey, many of which were C-level executives, followed by directors and administrators in a variety of recruiting and human resources functions. The administrators were distributed across the country, but a larger proportion (40 percent) were from self-described rural communities. As with the physician respondents, most were between the ages of 50 and 69 (63 percent), although the majority of administrator respondents were female (55 percent).

Drivers for Physician Retirement

In the survey, administrators report the average age for retirement at their healthcare facility as 65, which is in line with the age of 63 as determined by analysis of U.S. Census data. Not surprisingly, physicians named lifestyle (44 percent) and financial stability (23 percent) as top drivers for retirement. Likewise, administrators also perceive lifestyle (48 percent) as a top driver, although they found health reasons (15 percent) the second most prevalent motive, which was close to three times more than what physicians cited. Administrators were also less likely to think that financial stability (14 percent) was the most common reason physicians made a retirement decision.

More than 17 percent of physicians indicated “Other” as the top reason for retirement, compared with just 10 percent of administrators. Many physicians indicated burnout and frustration with the state of medicine in the United States, as noted in the following comments:

  • Managed care, whether private or government, has made the practice of medicine too adversarial to enjoy enough to consider delaying retirement.
  • Medicine has turned into a quagmire of regulatory burdens, collecting data, and the destruction of physician’s autonomy and authority in individual patient care.
  • Doctors are no longer able to practice medicine with the primary objective of patient well-being!!
  • It has become too onerous to practice. The focus is on increasing volume with less and less pay. Also, the practices are running leaner which shifts more and more clerical work onto doctors. Add to these issues the increasing testing and “boutique” results reporting and you have a formula for high stress with diminishing satisfaction and diminished returns.

Having the Retirement Conversation

When it comes to initiating the retirement conversation, survey results show that the topic weighs more heavily on the physician, and that there is room for administrators to make the discussion more comfortable, both for the benefit of the physician and the organization. A large majority of physicians (80 percent) said it’s their responsibility to broach the retirement subject compared with 37 percent of administrators, yet less of physicians (52 percent) are comfortable discussing retirement plans than administrators (74 percent). One physician noted that “succession should always be a part of the hiring discussion and empowerment to plan and mentor over time.”

On the administrator side, almost 30 percent cited “Other” when asked whose responsibility it was to start talking about retirement. The following comments from physicians in this category indicated an acknowledgment that they had difficulty broaching the subject―and that there is a need for a more formal, yet inviting process, especially given the long lead time needed to recruit a physician:

  • MDs usually initiate, but if they are having trouble, the administrator or group president will initiate the conversation.
  • I believe our physicians are not very comfortable with the conversation, so we (HR) have provided them with a script and talking points to assist with these conversations.
  • Ultimately, it should be the physician, but there is a hesitancy to do so. Therefore, we have tried to make it a collaborative discussion between the physician and the physician leader.
  • We periodically send surveys to the physicians, asking that they let us know if they are considering retirement in the next 1 to 3 years, as the recruitment process is lengthy.
  • The organization views it as the physician’s responsibility. However, as a recruiter needing lead time, I’d like a plan to approach the physicians and have administration address succession planning. I’ve been pressing for this almost five years without success.

The Realities of Giving Notice

Physicians and administrators have vastly different perspectives on what the ideal notice period is for providing a retirement timeline, a finding that might partially be explained by the lack of conversation and practices regarding retirement in general. Almost 50 percent of administrators indicated the ideal notice was one to three years, while 40 percent of physicians indicated it was 6 months or less. Also, 34 percent of physicians said they weren’t required to give any notice of retirement at all, while 81 percent of administrators said they were required to give more than three months.

When administrators were asked how much notice they typically receive when a physician plans to retire, their answers ranged from a high of three years to a low of one month, with an average of 10 months. The most common notice period cited was six months, which was in line with what physicians reported as the ideal notice period. Given the timeline for locating a physician and the fact that 40 percent of physicians thought 6 months or less was an ideal notice, administrators should consider the practice of ongoing recruitment of candidates to make sure there are no gaps in care and revenue.

The Retirement Transition

Physicians in the survey indicated some differing ideas about the retirement transition than administrators might assume, which possibly indicates they are looking for greater flexibility in their transition process. Almost 40 percent of administrators named full retirement as a top retirement transition method at their organization, but just 17 percent of physicians were planning to do so and almost 28 percent of doctors say they will work part or full time somewhere else. Some of the doctors listing “Other” planned to pursue locum tenens work or pro re nata (PRN) and telemedicine options that let them dictate their own schedules, while others looked to potentially help with recruiting, mentoring and managerial tasks at their current practice.

Many physicians (47 percent) were interested in retirement information planning services, but only half of administrators indicated those are offered. Comments from physicians indicated the vast majority of them were, not surprisingly, most interested in financial and healthcare planning. Physicians in the survey were also looking for help with the general process of retirement, along with ways to explore part-time or non-clinical options, as noted in these comments:

  • There is a need for an outline and timeline of what needs to be done, as well as the contact people to facilitate the process.
  • I would like to know the steps for the retirement process and how/when to transition to Medicare health coverage. I am also interested in opportunities for part-time work with the same employer, along with pay/benefit information.
  • It would be helpful to know how to manage before full retirement age.
  • I would like to know what part-time work is available once I retire that may or may not include clinical care.

When asked if employer-sponsored incentives would induce them to start an early retirement process, 50 percent of physicians agreed it would, with most requesting financial and/or healthcare benefits. Others were looking for part-time employment opportunities. However, nearly all administrators (95 percent) indicated they offered no incentives to initiate an earlier retirement approach so that staff planning was more seamless.

 

 

Conclusion

The survey results indicate that there is a need for more formal processes surrounding physician retirement, especially given the ongoing shortage of doctors in the United States. To help both hospitals and physicians with the retirement transition, administrators should:

  • Develop non-discriminatory ways of approaching the retirement conversation. HR and physician leaders should work together to create a step-by-step process for when and how to approach the conversation, which might even occur as early as during the hiring process. Having such a process makes the physician feel less singled out for the discussion. In addition, routine surveys on retirement plans can open the lines of communication.
  • Offer incentives to initiate an early retirement process. To encourage earlier notice of retirement from physicians, administrator should consider incentives like a percentage of pay for earlier notice, health benefits for a specified time period, and relief from call duties.
  • Create flexible offerings like part-time or non-clinical work. For financial and other reasons, such as benefits, many physicians would like to continue working, which could ease the burden during the onboarding process for a new physician. Having a process for scheduled conversations about retirement can help prepare for a situation where several physicians retire at once, which would include extra scheduling activities and other administrative tasks. However, given the high costs of a full vacancy, these costs could easily be justified.
  • Adopt a continuous recruitment process instead of treating a physician vacancy as a one-off occurrence. This will ensure that the physician candidate pipeline is full in the event that one or more physicians are transitioning to retirement. By maintaining relationships with qualified candidates, the organization is not starting at the ground floor of recruitment and can quickly adjust to unforeseen issues with retirement transitions.

With the proper planning and processes built on more open communications, hospital administrators can avoid understaffing and continue to provide the best possible patient care. Starting early in a physician’s career with these processes can make the transition and succession planning more comfortable for all parties and support more optimal recruiting efforts.

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Proactive Retention for Today’s Physicians

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It is already well-documented how much physician vacancies cost healthcare systems and medical practices.  With as much as 40% of physician vacancies going unfilled as recently as 2017, retaining the physician staff that you already have in-house has become more important than ever.  Let’s review proactive ways that administrators can improve physician retention instead of filling endless vacancies.

Hire for Fit

The most effective way of reducing physician turnover is to hire physicians that are already aligned with your corporate mission, values, and culture. When your staff believes they are working for an organization that embodies the same values and culture, they are naturally more engaged in their workplace. According to a Gallup study, physicians who are more engaged not only avoid looking for new opportunities, they are also 26% more productive and generate 51% more referrals than their counterparts that don’t feel that same sense of engagement.

Embrace Flexible Scheduling

Today’s physicians are not the typical doctor of 30 years ago. If you want your physician staff to maintain a singular focus on treating patient after patient in an assembly line fashion, there is a good chance you are already in an unending cycle of physician vacancies. Today’s physician has other personal and professional interests that go beyond their love of healthcare. Whether it is research, teaching the occasional class, or spending several weeks a year on medical missions to underserved nations, cater to your physician staff’s outside interests, and they will repay you with loyalty.

Learn the value of EQ

When discussing someone’s intelligence, references are always made to their IQ, but just as important for retention purposes is EQ.  Emotional quotient (EQ) has been studied since 1990, and the results have shown that individuals with higher EQ, are more rewarding to work with, and are better at handling stress and workplace relationships. The good news is that EQ is something that can be developed in everyone.  EQ training is sometimes referred to as soft skills training, and when successful, the results are an improved workplace culture and environment. Another important consideration when EQ training is being implemented is that it needs to include everyone from administration to physicians to support staff.

Develop a Mentorship Program

Physician burnout is affecting up to 55% of doctors, according to the Stanford University School of Medicine.  When staggering numbers of physicians are reporting feeling the effects of burnout, it is not a stretch to imagine them looking for a new opportunity that doesn’t include the same amount of stress.  A mentoring program can help physicians who are struggling to manage the stress of their job and career.  Physician mentors have experienced the same types of job stress as their struggling counterparts and have valuable wisdom to share.

There is no single retention strategy that will help you avoid physician vacancies. But, losing sight of the factors that are contributing to your retention woes is the surest way to keep the vacancy cycle going.  Paying attention to the culture of your workplace and understanding how leaders with lower EQ contribute to stress and disengagement can help you set a course for improved retention and more success overall.

Jackson Physician Search is annually ranked in the top 15 Best Places to Work in by Modern Healthcare.  Our team of industry and recruitment professionals stands ready to help you find, hire, and retain the physicians and advanced practice professionals your organization needs.  Contact us today to get started.

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Building an Effective Search Committee for Physician Leadership Recruitment

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Recruiting a physician leader to a healthcare organization or academic medical center is often fraught with a slow and inefficient recruitment process. When coupled with the worsening physician shortage— between 42,600 and 121,300 by 2032 according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)—losing quality candidates is a real risk.

The gap between what academic and community-based physician leaders demand in a new role and the recruitment process they’re willing to tolerate is fiercely closing with power transitioning from the traditional institution to the candidate in high demand. This is making the role of the search committee even more critical to physician leadership recruitment success.

The search committee represents the strategic direction of the organization and decides by vote which candidate to hire—Choose members wisely.

I am of the opinion that search committees should be called Leadership Transition Committees, as they single-handedly determine which physician leaders will steer the organization through clinical innovation initiatives, healthcare transformation processes, physician and resident retention strategies, and more.

When working with community-based healthcare organizations and academia, I’m often asked to advise on who should serve on the search committee, as well as strategies to ensure effectiveness. Setting up a search committee contains three key components: Preparation, Committee Mix, and Commitment. Let’s review.

  1. Preparation

This stage is the most overlooked and underutilized, yet it’s the one that will ultimately keep your committee on track throughout the entire search process. Before you set up your search committee, prepare the following three documents: Job Analysis, Committee Charter, and Activity Report.

The Job Analysis contains specific candidate parameters including experience, competencies, and soft skills. It also includes compensation information and position duties. Tip: Resist the temptation to recycle an old Job Analysis. Healthcare is constantly changing, so consult with direct reports, colleagues, and superiors who will interact with the chosen physician leader.

The Committee Charter defines the committee tasks and the chair obligations, as well as budget and deadline guidelines. It also includes a list of decision-makers involved in the recruitment process, the Diversity Policy or Affirmative Action Plans, as well as all EEOC, EOP, and other human resource forms. There is no room for ambiguity in the Committee Charter.

The Search Activity Report contains a step-by-step process that the committee will follow throughout the recruitment process, as well as a record of all activity to be certain the search is on track with regards to goals and deadlines. The commitment to diversity and equity is shown in this report as well.

  1. Committee Mix

Making recruitment decisions by committee can be very effective as long as the committee isn’t polarized—one that agrees on everything without due diligence or, worse, one that is riddled with conflict. To prevent this, decide who will lead as the committee chair first. This person is the liaison between the search committee, the hiring official and, when involved, the search firm. It’s important that the chair be the same level position or higher than for the role you’re recruiting and is a naturally strong leader.

To round out your search committee, here are some best-practice guidelines:

  • Keep the committee to an odd number as each person has voting rights.
  • Have no more than 11 members, ideally between seven and nine.
  • Reflect diversity in regard to gender, race, seniority, reporting levels, and departments.
  • Include a human resources or legal officer as an ex-officio member.

Also, keep in mind that for President or Provost searches, you will want to include stakeholders from the board, the foundation and, when relevant, the alumni.

  1. Commitment

The most common reason for ineffectiveness within a search committee is lack of commitment and engagement. When physician leadership searches extend from weeks to months, enthusiasm can dissipate. Schedule monthly or bi-monthly meetings to review search progress and set future expectations.

The main goal of the search committee is to review, screen, and host candidates, as well as check references. It can also be very tempting to discuss a candidate with a spouse or colleague, but to maintain search integrity, confidentiality is a must. This extends to voting procedures as well. Blind voting eliminates the potential for recruitment bias, and it extends respect for all candidates regardless of what stage of the recruitment process they’re eliminated.

Whether you use a recruitment firm or choose internal resources, building an effective search committee or Leadership Transition Committee is the optimal method for maximizing time, candidate fit, and recruitment investment. Remember, most importantly, the search committee is responsible for choosing the physician leader who will drive the future of your healthcare organization—Those are big shoes to fill and worthy of extra attention prior to launching a new search.

 

At Jackson Physician Search, we help healthcare organizations and academic medical centers to recruit physician leaders. Our innovative process includes rolling well-qualified and interested candidates as they become available versus waiting for a full slate, reducing the number of interviews with cutting edge technology, and providing transparent and frequent communication to search committees. This strategy reduces candidate attrition and time-to-fill while increasing recruitment return on investment. Please contact our physician leadership experts at Jackson Physician Search for more information.

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Survey Reveals Costly Disconnect Between Physicians and Hospitals About Retirement

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MGMA19 | The Annual Conference

New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center

Booth 1427

 

ATLANTA and NEW ORLEANS ― (Oct. 14, 2019) — While physicians often feel it’s their responsibility to initiate a conversation about retirement plans with hospitals, many of them think much less notice is necessary than hospital administrators would find ideal. In a new survey from Jackson Physician Search, a firm specializing in the permanent recruitment of physicians and advanced practice providers to hospitals and other healthcare providers, many physicians felt that less than six months of notice was reasonable, despite hospital administrators preferring a one to three year notice period.

 

This week, during the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) Annual Conference in New Orleans, Jackson Physician Search President Tony Stajduhar will share key findings from the company’s newly released study, “The Realities of Physician Retirement: A Survey of Physicians and Healthcare Administrators.”

 

“Given that a hospital can easily lose $150,000 per month if a specialist leaves and a search for a medical or surgical specialist can take anywhere from five to 10 months, the stakes are high with this disconnect between physicians and administrators about notices of retirement,” said Stajduhar. “The findings in our study highlight the importance of creating the right culture and processes around physician retirement, including effective transition processes and ongoing recruiting efforts, to avoid the downside of a vacancy or understaffing situation.”

 

The survey, which was conducted in August of 2019, included responses from 567 doctors across a range of specialties and 100 administrators from throughout the country. Among the key findings:

 

  • Physicians feel it’s their responsibility to initiate the retirement conversation, but they are less comfortable doing so than administrators. A large majority of physicians (80 percent) said it’s their responsibility to broach the subject compared with 37 percent of administrators, yet less of them (52 percent) are comfortable discussing retirement plans than administrators (74 percent).

 

  • Physicians and administrators have vastly different opinions on what the ideal notice period is for a retirement timeline. Almost 50 percent of administrators indicated the ideal notice was one to three years, while 40 percent of physicians felt six months or less was sufficient. Further, 34 percent of physicians said they weren’t required to give any notice of retirement, while 81 percent of administrators said they were required to give more than three months.

 

  • Physicians’ drivers for retirement include lifestyle, financial stability, burnout and frustration with the current state of medicine. While physicians cited lifestyle issues (44 percent) as the most important reason driving their retirement decision, followed by financial stability (23 percent), comments from nearly 20 percent noted burnout and frustration with the current state of medicine and decreased focus on patient care.

 

  • Administrators assume that many physicians will fully retire, but a number of them plan to work elsewhere. Almost 40 percent of administrators named full retirement as a top retirement transition method at their organization. However, the study indicated that just 17 percent of physicians were planning to do so. In contrast, 28 percent of doctors said they will work part or full time somewhere else.

These and other findings in the Jackson Physician Search research are significant. By 2020, one in three physicians will be over age 65 and approaching retirement. That, coupled with the fact that recruiting an experienced, culturally-aligned physician can be a timely and complicated process for hospital administrators, adds to the complexity.

 

“Although there is hesitancy about initiating a conversation about retirement, it is clear that both administrators and physicians feel that it’s a beneficial discussion for both parties,” added Stajduhar. “Differences remain on length of notice and whose responsibility it is to bring up retirement, but when handled respectfully and conducted in a non-discriminatory way, both parties can find the ideal way to approach retirement transitions through proper planning and processes.”

 

The complete report on the survey results is available here: https://www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com/white-paper-the-realities-of-physician-retirement-a-survey-of-physicians-and-healthcare-administrators/

 

Jackson Physician Search

Jackson Physician Search is an established industry leader in physician recruitment and pioneered the recruitment methodologies standard in the industry today. The firm specializes in the permanent recruitment of physicians and advanced practice providers for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and medical groups across the United States. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is recognized for its track record of results built on client trust and transparency of processes and fees. Jackson Physician Search is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies. For more information, visit www.jacksonphysiciansearch.com.

 

# # #

Media Contact:                                                                                                

Jan Sisko

Carabiner Communications

jsisko@carabinercomms.com

(678) 461-7438

Let Branded Recruitment Work for You

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Has your healthcare organization developed a brand that is recognizable to local consumers and gives them a glimpse into your values and culture?  If not, you may be missing out on consumers who would choose your facility for their healthcare needs, as well as physicians you are trying to recruit.  It is critical that you use your brand throughout your recruitment process, but remember that it’s more than just a logo and tagline. Rather, it represents an embodiment of your staff, your values, and the type and quality of care you provide to your patients.

As important as branding is for your organization, overall, it is just as important in attracting the right physicians to join your team.  Physicians today are much more likely to join organizations that they perceive to share similar culture and values. Jackson Physician Search understands the importance of branding and offers branded physician recruitment.  Branded recruitment is a level of partnership with a recruitment agency that goes to the next level. A recruitment agency’s resources and expertise are combined with the branding of the organization. Job postings and emails have the logo of the organization and include more detail about the opportunity.

How Branded Recruitment Works for You

Whether you are an administrator at a rural FQHC or a multi-facility health system, branded recruitment offers you an opportunity to expand and improve your recruitment process.  A smaller facility or health system may not have the resources to run a national recruitment campaign.  In many instances, those who are doing the recruiting are already wearing multiple hats. Finding a trusted physician recruitment partner who can manage a branded search for your vacancy immediately adds experienced resources to your search effort.  And, in the case of a large health system with an established team of recruiters, today’s hiring landscape is probably stretching them to capacity.  Large systems can utilize their recruitment partner for specific searches, for example, the primary care and internal medicine vacancies, while the in-house team focuses on all of the specialties.  Both of these scenarios creates a win-win situation because, with branded recruitment, the physicians only see your facility name and brand.  Let’s look at other ways a branded recruitment strategy can work for you.

  • Using a branded recruitment strategy with a trusted, experienced recruitment partner immediately provides you with reach and access to hundreds of passive and active physician applicants. Because candidates are more familiar with local healthcare organizations and the fact that AAMC reports physicians often stay in state, it pays to use your own brand. For example, AAMC reports that physicians in Georgia remain in the state at a rate of 49.8% and 62.1% in Texas.
  • Digital branding of your ads and emails seamlessly appear to the candidates as coming from your facility and location. Studies show that branded emails generate up to a 50% higher response rate than generic emails or job board postings.
  • Having a recruitment partner managing your brand presence for physician vacancies improves your brand awareness and visibility, helping you now and in future searches.
  • Your recruitment partnership is an exclusive agreement that takes the time-consuming vetting process off of your team’s plate, allowing them to focus on other critical matters of the business. You are only presented with the candidates who fit your organizational culture and values.

Your brand is important, and it should be a factor in your recruitment process.  Using a recruitment partner who understands the importance of brand and also has the capabilities to reach candidates, you may not otherwise have access to, is an important factor in finding a physician who fits your need.

Jackson Physician Search can manage your branded search campaign while providing you with access to proprietary digital tools, national exposure, and an experienced team of recruitment professionals.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can put your brand to work for you.

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Managers urged to broaden ‘recruitment parameters’ amid rheumatology shortage

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“My recommendation for practices who don’t want to just buy a rheumatologist — don’t want to just have any warm body filling the position — but have someone they want for the job who they can retain…”

“Sell the big picture. Have a competitive base salary. That first year is going to be the most important — just make it as attractive as possible. Also, remember that an incentive to one candidate might be different to another candidate. If there is one candidate who needs an extra week of vacation, or if someone needs extra CME, or student loans that need to be paid, make sure you are thinking outside the box to outthink your competitors.”

“I travel about 50 to 120 days out of the year. I’ve been everywhere, from small rural places to big places, and you have no idea what I have heard from administrations, from hospitals, private practices and medical groups. But this is what I am telling everyone — open up your recruitment parameters.”

“If there is a physician who can communicate and practice medicine well, and has a family who fits in with the community, you better take an extra look at that physician,” he added. “I understand concerns about communication, but if there is a physician who is willing to make a move, especially to a rural area, and move their family, and their communication skills are good, and you believe the family will fit in with the community, you hire that physician. It shouldn’t be a question.”

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