Retention Starts with Recruitment: 7 Tips for Creating a Formal Plan

Posted by Doximity TF Team

7_Tips_For_Physician_RetentionAccording to Doximity’s 2024 Physician Compensation Report, in a poll of 2,600 physicians, nearly three out of five were considering an employment change. Moreover, according to the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment (AAPPR), one in three physicians and nearly half of all advanced practice providers (APPs) left their employers for similar roles elsewhere. Yet despite high turnover rates, over 75% of those surveyed for the AAPPR report say their organizations do not have a formal staff retention program. Here are 7 tips and insights for creating a formal retention program.

    1. Be transparent in your communication. A joint study by Jackson Physician Search and MGMA found that today’s physicians prioritize open, two-way communication with management above all else, even compensation. Effective communication fosters engagement, which, in turn, reduces burnout.

    2. Use online networks to increase your visibility. Social recruiting involves engaging with candidates on platforms like Doximity, the largest network for verified clinicians in the U.S. It streamlines finding, connecting with, and hiring active and passive candidates. In a high-demand market like health care, social recruiting allows you to broaden your candidate pool and connect with active and passive job seekers.

      an Dunn, MD, chief physician executive and chair of neurosurgery at Oklahoma-based OU Health, compares their approach to recruiting physicians and APPs to how colleges often recruit football players: they use various social media touchpoints to ensure high visibility to potential physician and APP candidates.

    3. Document a formal, written retention plan at your organization. A retention plan can help you protect your most valuable assets: your people. Knowing what needs to happen is not enough, though; you need to take steps to ensure everyone knows exactly what your retention plan entails. When all parties know where they stand and what needs to happen, you’re far more likely to move the needle on recruiting to retain physiciansHow do you create an employee retention program that actually works? We found this great resource. It’s not specific to physicians, but there are definitely some ideas that will inspire you.

    4. Be transparent about compensation and provide detailed information. According to the joint study by Jackson Physician Search and MGMA, compensation ranked second among the factors contributing to physician job satisfaction. Physicians naturally want fair compensation for their work, but the often complex structure of physician compensation plans can leave them uncertain about how their paychecks are calculated. To address this, document the details of the compensation structure in a written retention plan, which ensures every physician knows exactly where they stand and what criteria they need to meet to reach the next level.

    5. Establish educational and mentorship programs. Eric Deshaies, MD, MBA, chief physician executive of AdventHealth Medical Group in Orlando, Florida, said in an article that they’re working to establish a reputation supporting retention through recruitment, including career development, mentorship, and wellness programs. Dr. Deshaies says they’re also putting physicians and APPs into leadership roles. “It all sends a strong message externally that this is a medical group that values our physicians and APPs.”

    6. Enhance your physician onboarding. Jackson Physician Search Recruiter Tara Osseck says: “I’ve seen firsthand that organizations with the lowest turnover rates and more long-tenured physicians have leaders who view onboarding as a critical step in retention. They realize that a comprehensive onboarding process sets the tone for the entire relationship and are willing to invest time and resources in a comprehensive physician onboarding process.” Hospitals and health systems can now use Doximity’s Physician Onboarding solution to introduce new hires through detailed news articles and personalized physician-to-physician messaging. Hospitals can also enhance physicians’ consumer-facing U.S. News profiles by encouraging physicians to optimize their Doximity profiles.

    7. Build incentive bonuses into contracts. According to AAPPR, including incentive bonuses in a physician’s initial contract can enhance their effectiveness and provide ongoing financial motivation. According to AAPPR’s physician turnover report, 85% of respondents offer a signing bonus, encouraging physicians to stay through the contract period. Depending on the specialty, bonus amounts can range from $5,000 to $100,000. While many organizations may be implementing cost-saving measures, it’s crucial to consider that the cost of replacing a physician typically far exceeds the amount of a typical bonus, making this incentive a valuable investment.

Investing in retention starts with effective recruitment, laying the foundation for a healthier organization. A formal retention program is essential for maintaining a stable and thriving healthcare workforce, and it’s critical to maintaining continuity of care. To understand the underlying costs of inefficient recruitment and physician vacancies – which can exceed $1 million if you consider the cost of recruiting, onboarding, and then another vacancy and hiring situation, we invite you to read: What Recruiters Should Know About the Actual Cost of Physician Vacancies


Topics: physician retention, tips for physician recruitment

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