As the director of a busy primary care practice in downtown Chicago, Dr. Ethan Smith thought he had seen it all in his 20 years of medicine. But nothing prepared him for the staffing shortages that hit his clinic last year. With two nurses out on unexpected medical leave and his long-time office manager retiring, Dr. Smith struggled to keep up with patient demand. He was forced to cut back hours and turn away new patients – a gut-wrenching decision for someone who prided himself on always putting patients first.

Dr. Smith’s story is common. Across the country, healthcare practices are facing a perfect storm regarding staffing. According to a recent MGMA study, over 60% of practices are struggling to find qualified employees, both clinical and non-clinical. The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the U.S. will face a shortage of up to 124,000 physicians by 2033. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 1.1 million new nurses will be needed by 2030 to avoid further shortages. 

An Integrated Approach to Recruitment

We advocate for an integrated strategy that combines marketing, HR, and operations to navigate these turbulent waters. The same tactics we use to attract and retain patients can be leveraged to recruit top talent:

  • Building dedicated career pages and websites
  • Running targeted digital ad campaigns
  • Claiming and optimizing profiles on job sites like Indeed and Glassdoor
  • Hosting virtual and in-person recruitment events
  • Leveraging social media to showcase culture and opportunities

The key is treating recruiting with the same intentionality and creativity as patient acquisition. As you would expect new patients to avoid stumbling upon your practice by chance, you can’t assume qualified candidates will find you, either. You must proactively get in front of them where they search, browse, and engage online.

Showcasing Culture Through Video

The most powerful tool in your recruitment arsenal is video. A 2021 study by Lighthouse Research found that 70% of job seekers used video to learn about a company’s culture before applying. Video allows you to authentically showcase what it’s like to work at your practice – the people, environment, values, and vibe. 

Some effective video formats to consider:

  • Employee testimonials and spotlights
  • “Day in the life” videos shadowing various roles
  • Virtual office tours and behind-the-scenes content
  • Culture and values videos featuring leadership
  • Patient stories and impact videos

The goal is to give candidates a true feel for your team and culture so they can self-assess fit before applying. That’s a win-win for you and them.

The Four Pillars of Retention

Recruiting the right talent is just half the battle. To retain them, you need to focus on four key pillars:

  1. Living your core values in your daily work
  2. Investing in manager training and development
  3. Making employees feel valued through recognition
  4. Enabling employees to work to their strengths

One powerful example comes from a large orthopedic practice in Florida. They launched an internal “Patient Experience 2.0” initiative to engage employees in delivering great service. The six-month program included on-demand training, contests, social activities, newsletters – and a huge mural showcasing employee definitions of patient experience. The result was higher employee and patient satisfaction scores.

As Jennifer Thompson, president of Insight Marketing Group, explains,

“An integrated strategy says, let me take the strengths of my marketing team, tie that with HR, our internal marketing team, and figure out a way to operationalize that.”

Measuring the Impact 

To measure the effectiveness of your recruitment and retention efforts, track metrics like:

  • Traffic to your careers site and conversion rates
  • Applicant volume, quality, and source
  • Employee ratings and reviews on third-party sites
  • Retention rate and reasons for turnover
  • Employee net promoter score (eNPS)
  • Employee engagement and satisfaction scores

Set a baseline, implement your integrated strategy, and measure progress over time. As the adage goes, “What gets measured gets managed.” 

Charting a New Course

The practices that will win the war for talent take an integrated, proactive, and metrics-driven approach. By leveraging marketing tools and tactics, showcasing authentic culture, investing in leadership and values, and measuring what matters, you can position yourself as an employer of choice in a hyper-competitive market. 

The waters may be choppy, but with the right navigation, calmer seas are ahead. It’s time to take the wheel and chart a new course that leads you to the talent you need to deliver the highest-quality care to your patients and communities.

As Thompson says,

“If you let marketing help you attract and retain employees, you’ll be much better off competing with the practice down the street.”

An integrated recruitment and retention strategy is your most powerful weapon in the battle for top healthcare talent. Wield it wisely; you’ll build a winning team to weather any storm.