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Clinical Solutions Blog

The Science of Recruiting Top Talent Healthcare Professionals

Posted by Rick Lau on Jun 15, 2016 3:00:00 PM

The Science of Recruiting Top Talent Healthcare Professionals

Did one of your top physiotherapists, chiropractors or massage therapists just leave your clinic to work for a competitor? Or maybe one of your senior therapists has just given notice for retiring? Even worse, one of your therapists left and started a new clinic across the street.

As clinic owners, at some point we’re faced with the hiring challenge!

You may live in a busy city where there seems to be ample healthcare professionals around, yet you never seem to be able to recruit top talent healthcare professionals. They all seem to run off to your competitors, to the hospital, or to the bigger national multidisciplinary clinics because they offer more benefits.

Regardless of the situation, when somebody leaves unexpectedly, the recruitment process quickly turns into a frantic scramble of job postings, résumé piles, and prayers that the perfect candidate finds you and fast!  

After cofounding a network of 100+ physiotherapy clinics in Canada and now being the founder and CEO for Clinic Supplies Canada, I’ve learned a thing or two about hiring and maintaining staff. In fact, in 2015 huge competitors were trying to steal my staff - without success I might add. Why? Because we have amazing company culture that staff members want to be in. The point being, there are easier ways to recruit and maintain staff members, which is what I’d like to share today.

In this post I’ll cover:

  • How building a bench of clinicians gives you power of choice in your marketplace.
  • How getting involved with universities and colleges can be an easy lead to top talent.
  • The most important thing to focus on when recruiting top talent.
  • The importance of core values and company culture and how to create powerful incentives in your practice.
  • How to target any obstacles that might prevent top talent working at your clinic.
  • How to sell your vision of healthcare so the process all happens effortlessly.

6 Quick Tips For Recruiting Top Talent Healthcare Professionals

1) Always be building your bench.

Even if you’re doing some great marketing, the assessments are flooding in, and your numbers are up, you should still be interviewing and building your bench - even if you’re not looking to hire right now.

In fact, you should always be interviewing and building your bench.

This may sound strange but what you’re doing is building relationships.

For example, let’s say you interview people on a regular basis and you find a few healthcare professionals you really like and who like you too. At the moment they have decided to go work with the competitor. In this situation, most people would just give up but this is not a lost opportunity. In fact, this is where you can build your bench of highly qualified professionals who like you, your company culture, and will work with you in future.

It’s your job to foster a relationship with them. Make an effort to meetup for coffee/lunch every quarter or invite them to your awesome clinic culture events. Find something in common with them or find ways to help them. What you are doing is building a relationship so that if things don't work out with their current situation, you can hire them later. Or when another opportunity comes up in your clinic in the future, they may even quit their position, preferring to work with you. 

When I was managing over 200 people, I used to employ these methods when I hired therapists for our multidisciplinary clinics. I always had couple of handfuls of great therapists that I met up with every quarter and we just met up to chat about life and cool stuff. I would also invite them to all of our awesome company culture events because it provides a great inside peek that can incentivise them in future.

You should be doing this with any awesome therapist you meet or interview so you can always be building your bench.

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2) Get involved with the University for placements

By getting involved with the university or college in your area, you can get therapists to do their placement at your clinic. This is a great opportunity to build your bench and provide mentorship to fresh new grads. 

During the placement with you, you should be:

  • If you really like them during the placement, add them to your bench and continue to meetup with them every quarter. Actively build on this relationship, even if you may not have a job for them when they graduate. If they stay on your bench, you might hire them later when the opportunity exists. 

3) Hire on attitude, train for skill

I'm part of EO Vancouver, a community of successful entrepreneurs. Every community has an entrepreneur or business network and I highly recommend you join one because you gain powerful insights from other successful business owners.

I know Brian Scudamore, from EO Vancouver, owner of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, like Brian says in his article over here:

“In the early years of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, I staffed with convenience in mind. If I needed someone to drive our junk trucks, I hired anyone with a pulse and a license. My best friend needed a job, so I brought him on board. When more friends wanted in, I hired them, too. It took me five years to realize that my team was filled with the wrong people – and it was killing my company….Most people can learn technical skills later – but things like motivation and commitment can’t be taught.”

In order to hire on attitude and train on skill, you need to know what the core values of your company are. Have you done the core values exercise for your clinic before? If not, try these 10 steps to creating core values.

As Tony Hsieh of Zappos says: “Our core values guide us in everything we do today.”

“Over time, our recruiting department developed interview questions for each and every one of the core values, and we tested our commitment during the hiring process. Our philosophy at Zappos is that we’re willing to make short-term sacrifices (including lost revenue or profits) if we believe that the long-term benefits are worth it. Protecting the company culture and sticking to core values is a long-term benefit,” says Tony Hsieh, for Harvard Business Review.

Taking the core values of your business seriously is a strategy that doesn’t cost money…but the changes it can bring can be a true game changer.

4) Make your company culture fun

Your small clinic may not be able to afford top salaries, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to attract the right talent. Obviously, money is a huge incentive but it’s not the only thing that will get you awesome recruits.

There’s actually a very low correlation between pay and job satisfaction – a mere 2% according to one study – and research has shown that many people value things like company culture and interesting work above a salary.

What are you doing with your clinic culture? Do you even have a culture?

Click here to read about what we do at Clinic Supplies Canada.

Most managers assume that millennials, the age group between 15-35, are just interested in money but that’s not the case. Millennials want meaningful work, being a part of something that means something. Core values help you disseminate this meaning right through the core of your company and build powerful incentives that attract and maintain employees.

5) Offer perks and pay for gas

It’s important to look after your staff so they won’t go running off to competitors. You need to invest in your people if you want to be the best clinic in your area. So give your therapist’s an education allowance so they can upgrade their skills. They will appreciate it.

If they are a new grad or junior, offer them mentorship with a senior therapist. You might have to pay the senior therapist as well and make this part of your compensation model. However, it will motivate your senior therapist to help you build your clinic and be more involved with the training.

If people live far away, offer to pay for their gas every month or give them a bus pass. Giving somebody $100 doesn’t achieve much but paying $100 in gas can really motivate somebody. It’s all about perception. What's $100 if that therapist can bill $15K to $20K per month? But if you think bigger picture, you can target any obstacles in the way. The objective is to try to reduce any barriers or friction that might prevent an awesome therapist working for you.

I used to hire a physiotherapist who lived in Kitsilano Vancouver and I had them working in Surrey. That’s about a 1 hour bus ride or a 45 minute drive in Vancouver traffic. They loved our company vision and our clinic culture so much that they immediately wanted to accept the job offer. The only thing that prevented them signing that day was how far the clinic was from their home. When I offered to pay for the gas each month, they were so grateful. It immediately removed the barriers and they signed up despite the amount of travel time involved. This therapist ended up working at the Surrey clinic location for over 3 years until she moved back to Ontario. 

6) Sell your vision of healthcare

Selling your vision of healthcare and your story to people is the key that puts this whole process on hyperdrive, making it effortless to achieve.

Evaluating your unique selling proposition (USP) and developing your core values will help you share your story with conviction. Talk about your vision and show off your core values and USP.

Another great exercise is to create a therapist persona. You may have heard of this concept in regards to a buyer persona. The therapist persona is essentially doing the same exercise but visualizing the personality types and lives of your therapists, along with how they go about patient care. Doing this process will help you attract the right people, and when you can do that, you already share a similar vision of healthcare.

Also, take the time to ask therapists what inspired them to be a physiotherapist, chiropractor or massage therapist? Ask them what type of practice they want to build? 

These type of questions will help you find ways to connect with them, earn their trust and inspire them to work at your clinic.  

As you can see, small perks and incentives can mean a lot. Like I said, think bigger picture and target any obstacles in the way.

If you implement these 6 steps, next time you’re faced with recruiting an awesome therapist for your clinic, it will be as easy as one, two, three. :)


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