We know it’s a challenge to place clinicians in rural communities. This pressure is exacerbated by the growing physician shortage and fierce competition for providers from larger health systems in more urban communities. The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) says nearly 100% of all community health centers have vacancies of clinical and/or administrative staff.
Are there any strategies that you can develop to help attract more healthcare talent to your organization? We have three key suggestions that you can employ for greater recruiting success.
Recruiting Tip #1—Sell the Mission Over the Margin
Most medical professionals will tell you they’re in community healthcare for the mission and not the paycheck. There is a strong sense of altruism in these professionals, and it’s your job to tap into it. Providing care to underserved populations is very fulfilling work, so FQHCs must highlight this to attract the providers who have a service mindset. Branding your organization and your service commitment will attract more talent interested in making a difference in the world. Make your brand marketing visible on social media and talk clearly about the benefits of working in a rural community. At UHC Solutions, we label the mission and a patient saying thank you as the “second paycheck.”
Recruiting Tip #2—Talk About Non-Salary-Related Benefits
In addition to your service mentality, what other opportunities can you “market” that make your FQHC a good place to work? Consider sharing:
- Some of the affiliations you have with larger regional healthcare organizations.
- The top area employers.
- Educational statistics for the region.
- Cultural and recreational opportunities.
- Possible sponsorship of Visa candidates.
- Reasonable patient volume expectations.
- Support staff.
This, of course, is in addition to better work/life balance and student loan forgiveness. Your state may offer tax incentives to rural doctors. Or, perhaps you pay licensing fees or association memberships. If you have value-based care in place tied to financial bonuses, share that information with potential candidates. Does your organization offer research or other types of sabbaticals? Maybe low-interest home loans or other types of perks are available.
The point here is this—it’s rare for a community healthcare provider to be able to out-salary a larger competitor. But if you approach your candidate search process from the perspective of what intangibles make your organization the best place to work, you will stand a better shot at meeting your hiring goals.
Recruiting Tip #3—Be Proactive in Your Search Process
The days of placing an ad and waiting for candidates to apply are over. Today, your job is to proactively build your social network by identifying doctors, dentists, and other clinical and administrative talent who may be interested down the road in your clinic. You can use social media to also proactively reset assumptions about what it’s like to work in community healthcare. For example, the assumption may be that there’s a heavy workload and few opportunities for continuing education. Or, the community itself may lack strong educational opportunities for families.
Proactive recruiting of the passive candidate takes an enormous amount of time. It’s something that UHC Solutions does each day to help build your business and your candidate pool. If you have staff vacancies but don’t have time to build a candidate funnel for now and in the future, we can help.