The Great Resignation, as the troubling issue of finding and holding on to great employees has been dubbed, has caught many medical practices flat-footed. We’ve heard from many practices that recruitment and HR issues have jumped to the top of their daily work loads. They can’t focus on much else because of the pressing problem of staffing.
For many office managers of a busy medical practice, finding a new employee is a daunting task. After all, there are more than enough hats already perched atop their overloaded heads. An additional hat with “Job Recruiter” embroidered on it is often one-too-many.
But recruitment is not a completely alien skill set. In fact, it’s a close cousin to marketing. Yes, I know, marketing often seems just as confusing as recruiting. But, when you think about it, it’s really not.
When you break marketing down to its core elements, it’s telling people that your practice is great and that they would enjoy being one of your patients. Now, flip that script for employees. Recruitment, at its most basic form, is telling job seekers that your practice is great and they would enjoy being one of your employees.
See? They’re the same.
And, the tools you use to tell patients your practice is the best are the same tools you will use to tell job seekers you are a great place to work. You’ll use your website, social media, you might even pay for a little advertising – it’s all the same.
And when it comes to retaining those employees, it’s also a skill set that you already have.
Once you have a person onboard as a patient, you treat them the best you can to keep them coming back. The same principle applies to your employees. Treat them well so they continue to enjoy coming to work. It’s as simple as that.
Applying the principles of marketing and customer service inwards towards your employees can reverse the Great Resignation, making your practice not only a great place for patients to be healed, but an amazing workplace where careers can be established.
I know, that all sounds great. So, you’re probably asking, “how do you do that?”
Defining Your Audience
The first thing we generally do in marketing is define our audience. Or, simply put, what kind of patient do you need for your practice? We call this building a persona. We then match our “message” to that persona, selling the practice in a way that will appeal to that identified audience.
When you have an open position in your practice that needs to be filled, you’ll start at the same point. Ask yourself, “what kind of person would be best for this job?”
Now you have two elements. You know what the job is, and you know what kind of great employee you want doing that job. Combine those two elements to create the job description. You’ll want to list the job duties, but tailored in a way that will appeal to the type of person you want to employ.
Writing the Job Ad for Great Employees
Advertisements for your medical practice and job ads are remarkably similar in that they have the same goal: cut through the clutter and be noticed in a world overstuffed with ads.
There are three basic elements of any advertisement:
- Be attention grabbing
- Convey a clear message
- Include a call-to-action
How do you apply that to a job ad? Simple, really. Let’s break it down one step at a time:
Be attention grabbing
To grab a job-seeker’s attention, you need to stand out from the crowd. You need to be different. To figure out how to do that, start with a little competitive research. That’s what we do in marketing. Look at what the other guy is doing, and make sure you do it better.
Read the other job ads for the same type of position in your area. What are their headlines like? How do they describe the job? And what can you do in your job ad that’s better than that?
Convey a clear message
The world is always changing, and many of the wisdoms we take for granted in job ads will fail us. For instance, it’s common knowledge that you don’t want to put the salary in the ad, right? After all, how can you negotiate an employee to the least acceptable salary if you start the negotiations with a number. It’s the guy who throws out a number first that usually loses.
The Great Resignation has built a buyer’s market for job-seekers. They have more choices of places to work than most employers have choices of employees. Being clear about salary will attract prospects who are looking for a particular salary.
Include a call-to-action
This is an easy one. You want them to apply. But be clear with how you want them to go about that. Are you using software on your website to gather applicant information? Do you want resumes? Be clear with the process so you, and the applicant, don’t waste time. Transparency is a vital step in today’s job market.
Telling a Great Story
A large part of marketing is deciding on your story. What’s the story of your practice? Or, what’s the overall message you want patients to understand about your services? This message, your story, is the DNA of all of your outbound marketing materials, whether it be on your website, your social media, our lobby videos – in whatever medium you are talking to your patients.
You need a similar story about your practice as a workplace. What’s the message you want to tell about your workplace? Typically, you’ll want to communicate how your employees form a community of people with the same shared values – treating and healing patients.
The Great Resignation Tip: You might want to resist the temptation to use the word “family” to describe your workplace. After the layoffs resulting from the pandemic, the word family tends to leave a poor taste in the mouths of most job-seekers.
Where to Tell Your Story
There are many channels marketers use to tell the story of their clients. Each one is equally available to you as an employer, which means some may need to pull double duty.
Creating a careers page on your website gives you a resource to talk to prospective employees that you control completely. Much like you want your website to tell a great story to patients that welcomes you into your practice, your career page welcomes employees into your workplace.
The page can be as simple as a content page that describes your philosophy as an employer, or go a bit further and include open job listings. The important thing to remember is that the page needs to tell the story of you as an employer.
Most practices use at least one social media platform to advertise their business. It’s a great way to tell your story to patients. The same is true for employees.
It may seem a bit crowded to use Facebook, for example, to tell a story to your patients and employees, but they really do play off of each other. As a service provider, one of your most important resources is your staff. Highlighting your staff, their successes, and their personalities serves both masters. You patients want to see who will be serving them, and prospective employees want to see how they will be treated.
However, there are some social media platforms that you’ll want to reserve for just your recruiting, like LinkedIn. Still, tell the same story. Your story should be consistent across every channel you use.
You may want to put a little money behind your story and message. If you’re marketing your practice to patients, that may be on Google Ads or Facebook Ads. But where is the best place to advertise your job ads?
There are several channels to advertise your eye-catching job ad. This is where that persona you created earlier comes into play. Where do you think the type of person you want to work for you will look? Will they be a networker who uses LinkedIn? Will they be a “pavement pounder” who just goes to Indeed and types in a search? Matching the channel to the employee you want will be the smartest use of your ad dollars.
Your Reputation as an Employer
Marketers have a funnel that we adhere to when thinking about your customer. The basics of the marketing funnel is that the further you go down the funnel, the closer you are to making a purchase.
One of the elements of that funnel is the research phase. It’s when the consumer (your patient) is deciding between your services and that of another practice. Much of the information they use to research is from the aforementioned website and social media channels. But, much of that research may use websites that you don’t control.
Smart marketers know that maintaining the reputation of the practice on these sites is vital to that marketing funnel. It’s the moment when the patient is interacting with your story and you don’t necessarily know they are looking. This is called Reputation Management.
For patients, it’s sites like HealthGrades where your current patients leave reviews about your services. For employees, they use sites like GlassDoor or CareerBliss. You’ll want to actively engage with these review sites, responding when possible, to keep the story being told from being one-sided.
Retaining Great Employees
Any business runs best on repeat customers. In a medical practice setting, that means keeping your patients happy so they continue to seek you out for their medical needs. How do you achieve this? Stellar customer service.
The patient experience is something you must constantly nurture. Believe it or not, this is part of your marketing strategy. Patient retention keeps the dollars flowing into your business so that when you attract new patients, you grow bigger.
Again, the same can be said for your employees. You’ll want to keep them happy so they keep returning to work. One of the key components of The Great Resignation is, frankly, the resignation. It’s unhappy workers leaving their jobs for better ones. That means you’ll want to be the workplace employees flee to, not away from.
There are three legs of a good employee retention plan:
- Clear communication
When a patient first visits your practice, you take care to hold their hand through the process of filling out new paperwork and then closely listening to them as they describe the issues that caused them to seek you out and the communicate clearly how you will help them. Employees should be treated no differently.
Be ready on their first day the same way you would a patient on their first visit. Have the paperwork prepared for them to fill out, and then listen to their concerns as an employee before laying out your expectations.
This is usually accomplished by reviewing an employee handbook. This is an essential tool for communicating expectations. Too many employees leave jobs because they are uncertain what their role is or what’s expected of them. An employee handbook can be referenced to ease these feelings of uncertainty and smooth over potential problems before they metastasize into insurmountable reasons to sever employment.
You train your patients. By having a recognizable process in place for each office visit, patients quickly learn how to be your patient. Treat employees the same way.
Knowledge is power, and when employees learn not only what their job entails, but also how to take advantage of any benefits like taking days off, their anxiety at work is quelled. It makes for a much happier working experience.
Consistency is key to training, which is why you want to put a process in place that trains each employee the same way. Employees often lean on co-workers for institutional knowledge, and if they all have different ideas of the practice’s policies, the confusion can lead to unhappiness.
You may want to employ software that leads employees through the same training process so that everyone is on the same page.
Nurturing your employees goes beyond their first few days. Constant, clear communication about how they are meeting the expectation laid out during onboarding and training makes an employee feel valuable.
Most employees are there for a paycheck, yes, but don’t discount that most people want to feel like the work they do has value beyond their salary. We spend a large amount of our daily lives at work, and feeling a sense of accomplishment is key to happiness.
It’s a lot to take in, we know. Even if you know how to wear the hats of recruiter and human resources, that doesn’t take away the fact that there’s a lot of hats on your head.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. We are marketers, and we obviously know how to actualize all of these theories.
We’d be happy to help you with either your day-to-day marketing or recruiting and training employees.