Physician recruitment: Money talks, but lifestyle rules

The whole package: Compensation certainly counts, but attracting and retaining top healthcare talent requires a little more creativity, according to Robert Glazer.
By ROBERT GLAZER //

Recruiting and maintaining top talent defines a company and the quality of its services – and nowhere is that more apparent than in healthcare, where physician shortages remain a primary concern.

By investing heavily in recruitment, medical practices across the country can ensure that they obtain and maintain the best of the best. Experience shows that today’s doctors value more than just compensation, though finances are definitely a key part of the overall incentive package.

As with other industries, a work-life balance has become increasingly important. Physicians want fulfilling personal and professional lives.

Outside the office, that can mean family-friendly benefits like vacation time and other scheduling flexibility, as well as community-engagement opportunities. At work, physicians seek a supportive environment, state-of-the-art equipment and interesting challenges.

Ultimately, recruiting and sustaining talent in today’s medical landscape requires significant measures. And as a medical practice grows, it’s vital to continue to maintain the quality of the practice, even while serving an ever-increasing population with varying medical needs.

One critical recruiting tool is to make the practice known to recent graduates. Young professionals bring new perspectives on medicine, technology and theory. To meet growing patient demands, ENT and Allergy Associates visits a number of East Coast cities to speak with physician candidates about the decisions that lie in front of them.

Robert Glazer: Keep the talent happy.

This recruitment tool is important in all industries, not just medical. If you want to build talent in a sustainable fashion, it is imperative to engage with students and reinforce your message with junior-level employees, the next generation of your industry.

The numbers prove just how important it is to make your practice’s hiring intentions known. There are roughly 300 otolaryngology residents graduating per year in the United States; of those, it’s safe to assume that one-third will go into academic medicine. Another third will not want to live on the East Coast, where ENTA is located.

That means just 100 qualified residents for ENTA to potentially recruit each year, at a practice that seeks 10 new hires per summer on average. This underscores the importance of both finding talented individuals and promoting an environment where physicians feel that they can flourish.

The difficulties of recruiting are compounded in metropolitan areas – particularly New York and New Jersey, where the high cost of living and tax structures are less attractive to people considering where to settle down.

But success in the medical field is largely about building a name, and longevity in a community is a crucial piece. Thus, it’s important to emphasize the pros of traditionally more expensive areas.

For example, the high concentration of patients in cities means that physicians will be able to see a variety of cases – something many doctors value – when compared with the type of work they may be exposed to in a smaller town.

In today’s ever-changing healthcare climate, smaller organizations can also use their lack of bureaucratic red tape to their recruiting advantage.

Key to retention is listening to physicians’ concerns and making necessary changes to ensure that needs are being met. Scaled practices tend to be more physician-oriented, and they can be nimbler in their ability to enact necessary changes while still providing hyper-specialized services.

Healthcare is an evolving field, but the one aspect that will never change is the need for great doctors to maintain a practice’s quality of care. By emphasizing recruitment and developing a structure that prioritizes doctor retention, medical practices can ensure that they consistently provide top-quality patient care while remaining competitive in today’s market.

Robert Glazer is CEO of Tarrytown-based ENT and Allergy Associates LLP, a multispecialty practice group with offices across New York and New Jersey, including nine on Long Island.


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