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Journal of ASPR - Summer 2013 - Cure three factors that drive your recruitment costs
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Cure three factors that drive your recruitment costs

By Lori Schutte, MBA, President, Cejka Search

Lori SchutteCejka SearchIn an industry driven by evidence-based outcomes, it is surprising to learn that the majority of health care organizations do not measure how much high turnover and an inefficient hiring process may be costing them. Only 21 percent of medical groups quantify the cost of a physician turnover, according to the 2012 Physician Retention Survey.

Over 30 years and experience with thousands of searches, we have isolated the three common factors that drive up costs. The good news is that, in nearly every case, each of these “causes” has a “cure” – a best-practice solution that can be uniquely adapted and implemented within your organization.

1. High cost of turnover
As the health care environment shifts from volume-based reimbursement, the efficient recruitment and effective retention of physicians and advanced practice clinicians (APCs) takes on greater importance.

turnoverHigh turnover is costly, given the investment in recruitment, relocation and practice start-up. Measuring these costs and investing in prevention of turnover can create a recruiting advantage over organizations who neglect it.

Invest in assessing cultural fit during recruitment and committing to effective onboarding. For example, groups who assign a mentor during onboarding report lower turnover. Continue to invent a combination of initiatives and incentives, such as paying a retention bonus, developing a leadership or partnership track, and offering flexibility for work/life balance.

2. Prolonged vacancy
Vacancy metrics hold the key to diagnosing and solving expensive recruitment or retention gaps. One client divides the prior year’s hospital and clinic net revenue by the number of departed physicians to calculate their expected annualized loss of downstream revenue at approximately $990,000 per full-time equivalent physician vacancy. Add that to the recruiting and startup costs, and you have a model for your monthly cost of vacancy — and a clear motivation to minimize that vacancy.

3. Inefficient recruitment process
Identifying and removing the barriers that are prolonging your vacancy, and investing in an efficient process, will save time, which equals money. Through a thorough assessment and benchmarking you can identify areas where greater efficiency and effectiveness could significantly widen the candidate pool, reduce the number of interviews, increase the value derived from each interview and lower the overall cost of filling a vacancy. A physician vacancy costs medical organizations over $100,000 per month.

Organizations that invest in these practices will be well-positioned in an increasingly competitive environment by establishing benchmarks and adhering to proven processes from recruitment team readiness to delivering an offer within 48 hours of the interview:

  • Ensure the practice is “ready to recruit”
  • Remove barriers to recruitment
  • Screen for fit prior to on-site interview
  • Engage spouse/partner early in process
  • Prepare the team to deliver a red carpet experience
  • Debrief the candidate and interview team immediately
  • Deliver an offer within 48 hours

For more great resources and further insight into physician recruitment best practices, visit or contact Lori at 800-678-7858 or

Visit Booth #101 at the ASPR 2013 Conference, August 10-14 at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.

Journal of ASPR - Summer 2013

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