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What are the top 5 realities physicians wish recruiters knew? - Summer 2015
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Gold Corporate Contributor Feature

During an 18 month timespan, M3 Global Research® conducted surveys to look deeper into physicians’ perception of recruiting, onboarding, and retention activities. Looking to find what inspires physicians to seek information about new opportunities, and to learn which factors contribute to improved retention, our research found five key points that physicians experience but recruiters may seldom hear about.

To help the research come alive, M3 Global Research invited four local doctors from various specialties, times in practice, and both hospital and private practice settings to participate in an hour-long panel discussion at the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters (ASPR) Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. Panel participants commented on the research for each of the three topic areas and added their own personal experiences and strategies for recruiter interactions.

Below are the top five themes that surfaced from the research and panel discussion.

#1: Relocation was not a deal breaker for almost half of the physicians who expect to look for a job in the next five years

Quality of life, work-life balance, practice culture, and family geography are major factors for physicians considering their next career move. It’s important to cast a wide net in your recruiting efforts as 81% of physicians surveyed said they would relocate for the next position. Many of those (27%) would relocate only within their state, while the remaining 55% would relocate nationally. One physician panel member at the ASPR conference, a hospital radiologist, said, “I consider the workload percentile, who my boss will be, and the location of the organization. I prefer to be within 30 miles of an airport.” Echoing the findings of our research, another panel member, a private practice physician, commented, “We know that stress causes disease. How stressful will my on-call schedule be? My benchmark for a good opportunity is anything better than where I am right now.”

#2: There’s no “one size fits all” in what will entice a physician to read more of your posting but job title and location are high priorities

Physician recruiters should consider prioritizing the job title and location first and foremost in their job posting headlines. Nine out of ten physicians surveyed are reading recruiter emails – even if they’re not looking currently for a new job – yet few read beyond the headlines unless they are seriously looking for new positions or curious about the headline content. A physician resident who knows there’s a job change in their near future said, “I prefer recruiting emails to texts or phone calls because emails make a better resource for career opportunities when your schedule is erratic.” Expressing sentiments in line with the findings of M3’s research, a private practice / primary care physician on the panel finds that “One out of every 20 emails that I receive are from recruiters. To catch my attention, I either want the organization to be situated in my dream location, or be very convenient to where I currently live. Next, pay, free time, and incentives matter most.”

#3: Onboarding programs are important, but not universal

An overwhelming majority of surveyed physicians (80%) felt comfortable and productive during their first six months on the new job. Onboarding and orientation programs are the two main activities when there is a formal new hire program. An orientation program is more common than a formal onboarding program with 44% of respondents reporting that their organization had an orientation program while a mere 10% reported having access to an onboarding program. An astounding 46% noted that there was a complete lack of either program at their organization. A Private Practice Specialist, on the panel, felt that mentorship programs make a greater impact than formal onboarding programs because of the personal attention. Creating positive hospital environments may be a more important need due to the larger size of the facility, numerous departments, and high personnel levels, which create barriers to helping new staff members feel an important part of the team.

#4: Retention programs need to be proactive

Retention programs can mean the difference between a physician staying loyal to their organization or leaving to take a higher salary offer. Bonuses and work-life balance rated as the first or second highest preferred retention program features on a ranking survey at 63% and 55% respectively. A private practice physician on the panel felt that the power of retention first lies in the hands of recruiters. “Be need-conscious, not recruitment-conscious in order to retain physicians.” Another panel member who is a resident physician offered a unique perspective. “Work-life balance is a key part of a retention program. The ability to attend medical conferences, and small perks, such as bringing in a masseuse, banking institutions, or farmers’ market, helps our organization improve work-life balance.”

#5: Few residents receive career guidance

Less than half of our resident survey participants (38%) reported receiving career guidance. Physicians most commonly find themselves seeking career advice from colleagues and professional staff as opposed to human resources. Physician recruiters can help fill that void as 56% of those who did receive career guidance worked with “other faculty” for their information as opposed to mentors or fellow residents. A panel member who is a resident physician, commented that her biggest source of guidance and advice came from the women who worked in her organization’s office who she nicknamed the “office moms”. This study was a small sample survey of resident physicians, but raises an issue that is worthy of additional research since the impact could be significant for residents across the profession if lack of guidance is found to be as widespread as this small survey suggests.

Get more information on this topic by downloading the PowerPoint® presentation HERE.


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