Attract Outstanding Staff to Your Urgent Care Practice
With the demand for urgent care providers increasing, it’s getting harder and harder to hire quality providers. As urgent care centers shift more into primary care models, they’re looking to hire primary care physicians, which makes things even more difficult.
“With the focus on marketing primary care physicians, it’s just one more hand in the cookie jar,” Jason Farr, Regional Vice President of The Medicus Firm, says. “It only adds to the shortage of primary care docs.”
While primary care physicians are highly desired right now in the urgent care industry, they’re not the only ones you should be trying to draw in. Other urgent care providers and former ER providers are great choices as well.
By making sure that you’re targeting the right audience of physicians, performing an in-depth screening process and offering competitive incentives, you can attract outstanding staff to your urgent care practice and increase your chances for success.
Target the right audience
“You have to be really intentional about who you’re targeting and where you’re placing your ads,” Paul Edwards, Co-Founder of CEDR Solutions, says. “You want to take the time to figure out where the people you’re looking for are looking for jobs.”
Study groups and professional groups that consist of other providers is a good common place to start, and Edwards says those are great options for advertising available positions. He also suggests staying away from career job sites that are too general.
“You might not want to put a job ad on Monster.com, because chances are, the people you’re looking for aren’t coming through there,” Edwards says.
He also cautions people about using Craigslist, and other similar options.
“In some cities it works great, but in other cities, it’s not so good,” Edwards says.
In order to help you track down the right people, Farr suggests utilizing a third party recruiting firm or consultant.
“At any given point, only about 7-10% of in-practice physicians are looking for jobs, so it’s quite difficult to reach those people,” Farr says. “That’s why the need to hire an outside firm or consultant is important.”
Professionals at a consulting or hiring firm can have access to a large database of providers, which can help you target potential hires from all over the nation.
“With a database, the options are limitless,” Farr says. “You can target other urgent care providers, primary care providers and ER physicians only, or you can target providers in a certain area or with a certain background.”
Farr also suggests targeting residents that will be coming out of training.
“100% of them are going to be looking for a job, so reach out to them because they’re going to be active in the job market,” Farr says.
According to Edwards, it’s always good to be in a hiring mode because you never know what might happen.
“If you get really good at being in the hiring mode, you might find yourself in a situation where you’re observing someone, and you realize that you’d really like to work with them,” Edwards says. “Always be on the lookout for a great employee.”
By narrowing the parameters of your search to a targeted audience, you can increase your chances of hiring a qualified provider.
In-depth screening process
The first part of the screening process starts with a detailed job advertisement. The more thorough and specific you are, the less likely you are to attract the wrong applicants.
“Give a good description of who you’re looking for, and add in key words like ‘flexible’ that show some of the benefits of working for your practice,” Edwards says. “If it’s a full-time job, make sure that’s clear so that you don’t have people looking for part-time work applying.”
In addition, Edwards says it’s important to include a pay range in the advertisement, and that it’s particularly important when looking to fill any certified or licensed positions in your practice.
“The pay range matters a lot; you don’t want to waste their time nor yours,” Edwards says. “If the job only pays $12-$17/hr, put that range in so you don’t have people applying that can’t work for, or live off of, that wage.”
Edwards also says you should have applicants answer an open-ended question such as ‘tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult patient,’ when they submit their resume.
“The answer to that question will give you insight into who they are as a person,” Edwards says.
This can help recruiters weed out any inappropriate candidates right from the start, and allow more time to screen quality candidates.
The next step is to find out their practice history, which can reveal what type of physician they are and what kind of environment they’ve been working in.
“No matter what type of physician you’re looking at, there are always a few things an employer wants to know,” Farr says. “If they’re an in-practice physician, what does their malpractice history look like? Have they been sued?”
Farr says it’s also important to understand why they’re motivated to look for a new opportunity.
“If we’re looking to hire you, we want to know why you’re leaving,” Farr says. “If there’s a specific issue with their old job, dive deep in that to find out exactly what’s going on.”
Edwards also says it’s important to consider contracts when interviewing and hiring physicians.
“If the provider doesn’t work out, do you really want someone who doesn’t want to work for you to be bound to you by either their word or by contract?” Edwards asks. “If they end up not liking the job, and they don’t want to be there, you want to make sure that they can get out of there as fast as possible.”
Offering competitive compensation and additional bonuses can help you reel in the top performers in the urgent care industry.
“Signing bonuses, paid relocation and a guaranteed base salary that won’t change are all great incentives to draw in quality providers,” Farr says. “Paid malpractice insurance and an allowance to continue medical education are good incentives as well.”
In addition, Farr says that offering to pay off any student loan debt that a provider may have is the icing on the cake.
“If you’re recruiting top quality primary care physicians, student loan forgiveness has to be offered,” Farr says. “They’re on the lower end of the pay scale, but the amount of debt they leave school with is not much different from that of a neurosurgeon. But the difference in their income and the ability to pay back that debt is huge.”
Non-monetary incentives are also important. Farr says that things like flexible schedules, additional training, conferences and orientation periods can also pull in top tier physicians.
“Make sure that what you’re offering is competitive with the market,” Farr says. “If not, make some tweaks.”
Adding in the little things like student loan forgiveness and continued medical education can help seal the deal with a high quality provider. In addition, any continued training and education can help boost the performance of a provider once they’re hired, making them an even better choice for your practice.
“Being able to attract outstanding staff to your urgent care practice begins with having a culture of accountability in your center in the first place,” Edwards says. “The way to attract good people is to have good people working for you. If you have good people working for you, then you have access to the good people that they know.”
Having a positive work environment and culture will also attract providers of a higher quality.
“If you have a culture of gossip, back talk and fighting with not a lot of proactive management going on, your practice is going to spit any great provider that comes through right back out the door,” Edwards says. “Good people don’t want to work in situations like that. You’re putting your practice at risk if you don’t take the necessary steps to create that positive environment.”
Much like the chicken and the egg scenario, once you get the right people in, you will be able to have a culture of accountability, and vice versa.
“It’s hard to determine which one comes first, but the higher you operate and the more organized you are will lead to better management and a better team,” Edwards says. “That can have a profound effect on drawing in those top providers out there in the market.”