Employee turnover is an unfortunate but inevitable part of running a business. Not only is it costly and time-consuming, it is disruptive to existing staff and can impact morale. Finding and hiring the right office employees is critical to the overall success of the organization.
Medical practices are particularly vulnerable to turnover fallout. This is because many practices manage their operations with a small, streamlined staff. Each position, no matter the title, is vital to the practice’s overall health and performance. To prevent turnover, practices must be diligent in their hiring efforts by adopting a systematic strategy for hiring. This article outlines an effective hiring strategy you can use to acquire exceptional, retainable employees while maintaining the well-being of your practice.
The following steps will assist you and your hiring team in effectively and efficiently identifying and hiring the right talent for your practice:
Create a hiring team. The chance of hiring the best candidate increases when you have the input of several people. The hiring team should include key practice stakeholders and be small and manageable. It is beneficial to include team members with various backgrounds, personality types, and job responsibilities. This ensures recruitment of a well-rounded individual and sets up the new employee for team success.
Identify why the previous employee left. Examining why you need to replace an employee may supply the practice with information critical to its staff retention scorecard. An exit interview of the departing employee and interviews of remaining staff members are both beneficial in the identification of watch-outs and/or needs for the next practice hire. The more receptive you are to this feedback, the more you may learn.
Review position job description and adapt as necessary. Ensuring that the job description includes all relevant duties and skills helps manage the practice’s expectations as well as those of the applicants. Prior to the hiring process is a perfect time to make changes to the job description. When updating the description, solicit input from other office personnel about current practice needs. You’ll want to make sure all responsibilities are covered without overlap and that staff morale remains intact as the result of job ownership. The updated description should have a job title and summary and needs to include key responsibilities, supervisor, skills and qualifications, type of employment (full or part-time), salary range, and benefits.
Determine rate of pay. Pricing your practice appropriate to the local market—and the job description—can help you avoid future issues with payroll and staff. Being the highest payer in the area will set you up for overhead inefficiencies. Being the lowest payer in the area can result in poor morale and staff turnover. Conduct a local online job search for similar jobs in the area to help you identify an appropriate rate. The rate you decide on could change depending on an applicant’s experience, etc.; so it is helpful to identify a range (e.g., $17 to $20 per hour, depending on experience).
Create and place the ad. A successful recruitment effort hinges on the creation and placement of an ad that accurately describes the position and outlines the desired skill set. The ad should be placed on job sites that provide good candidate return on investment. Some of the more commonly used job sites are: indeed.com, careerbuilders.com, craigslist.com, and healthcareers.com. Additionally, ads should be placed on local university, professional society, and applicable business group job-posting sites.
Select top resumes for interviews. Screening resumes is the first step in narrowing the candidate pool and allows you to focus your time on candidates best-suited for the position. The hiring team should review the resumes and select the top candidates based on job fit. Job fit includes both objective and subjective measurements. Objective measurements include job requirement fit (i.e., hard skills); subjective measurements include items such as attitude and motivational fit (i.e., soft skills). Candidate background can also be assessed by reaching out to referral sources as well as to online profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online social media sites. Optimally, the resume review process yields 10 to 15 candidates; however these numbers could be less depending on the quality and caliber of candidates your search produces.
Create interview questions. Creating questions for both phone interviews and live interviews is key to ensuring that the hiring team is prepared and consistent throughout the interview process. Phone interview questions should be macro in nature and are intended to capture a big-picture view of candidates while identifying potential watch-outs or job non-negotiables. Live interview questions should do a deeper dive into the candidates’ backgrounds and should be crafted with the goal of obtaining information that will help determine job- and practice-fit.
Screen candidates by telephone. Phone interviews are essential for eliminating time-consuming live interviews with those who, despite strong resumes, don’t meet all of your needs. Utilizing the pre-selected interview questions, have one key player from the interview team schedule and conduct telephone interviews of the qualified pool of candidates. Each conversation should be 10–15 minutes in length during which the interviewer assesses each applicant’s answers as well as his/her communication skills.
Conduct in-person interviews. The in-person interview process is most successful if conducted systematically. Following the phone-screening process, select the top four to six candidates for onsite interviews. More interview candidates may be necessary, but you can manage time by narrowing the live interview pool to top candidates first. To ensure consistency, utilize an agreed-upon list of interview questions for each candidate and interviewer. Live interviews should be scheduled for the full team on one day. Each interviewer should use the same questions for each candidate to ensure consistency, taking notes and capturing answers on a candidate evaluation form.
Hold a team meeting to review and select top two to three candidates. Again, embracing a systematic approach will ensure the best results as you identify your top applicants. Utilize a formalized evaluation process to compile key takeaways. Interviewers can refer to their candidate evaluation forms to recall their impressions of each candidate. This process allows the team to follow an objective comparison of all candidates. During this meeting, three key measurements should be evaluated: Can the candidate do the job (strengths), will the candidate enjoy the job (motivation), and can the rest of the practice staff and owner tolerate working with the candidate (fit).
Extend an offer and follow up with formal offer letter. Now it’s time to reach out to the top candidate to extend an offer. If verbally accepted, a formal offer letter should follow. The offer letter should include basic job information, salary, and any corresponding bonuses or incentives. Additionally, the letter should detail any other benefits (i.e., vacation, sick time, paid time-off, health and/or dental insurance, retirement programs, and, in the case of aesthetic practices, service benefits provided to the employee at the practice). Benefits should be outlined clearly and provide post-hire eligibility date(s) and amount of coverage.
Although employee turnover is an inevitable part of doing business, it can be minimized by employing a strategic approach to hiring that involves careful planning and teamwork. When implemented, the suggestions in this article can result in dividends that far exceed the effort. The practice will save funds, you will save time, and staff morale will soar. It’s worth it. n
Heather Peffley is a management consultant with the Allergan Practice Consulting Group, of Allergan, Inc., Irvine, CA. Ms. Peffley consults in the areas of financial analysis and procedure values, human resource issues, internal and external marketing, leadership training and team building, sales training, compensation, and aesthetic practice development