The number of hours in a day holds steady at 24, but how many of them are spent on acquiring top talent is surging among medical group leaders.
An Oct. 17, 2023, MGMA Stat poll finds that more than three out of four (78%) medical group leaders say the amount of time they spend on recruitment and interviewing candidates increased in the past year, while about 16% reported their time commitment stayed the same, and only 6% managed to decrease their time spent in this area. The poll had 445 applicable responses.
Even as some healthcare leaders report seeing some stability with staffing after the worst of the Great Resignation in 2021 and 2022, it took months or years of implementing new staffing models, new work-from-home opportunities, seeking out more outsourced help for recruitment and/or cultural/wellness initiatives to help medical groups stand out as employers of choice.
But for the majority of medical group leaders polled this week, staffing is still their top priority (as noted in a Sept. 26 poll), and it’s taking a toll on reaching productivity goals (per an Oct. 10 poll). And the few practice leaders who said they are spending less time on recruitment and interviewing aren’t always finding best practices to set them apart: Some provider organizations are hiring less due to financial pressures they have faced in the current inflation-burdened economy.
New MGMA resources
Having the right information about practice performance isn't limited to your EHR or practice management (PM) system. It's often about how to handle interviews with prospective workers, gauging satisfaction among existing workers, and surfacing insights from exit interviews.
- The Medical Group Interviewing Toolkit includes sample questions for interviewing candidates for clinical and front office positions, sample exit interview questions for departing employees and an employee satisfaction survey template to assess your organization and determine opportunities for improvement.
- Hear more on this topic in the recent Ask MGMA podcast episode, “Best Practices for Addressing Staffing Shortages and Employee Turnover.”
The struggle continues
Even for organizations that have boosted pay to be competitive, many practice leaders report an “ever-rotating door” of turnover. “Staff turnover is horrible,” one respondent told MGMA. “On average we are paying 20% more, still people are leaving left and right.”
Many practice leaders in this week’s poll and previous MGMA Stat polls have noted that their best strategy has been bringing in more candidates than needed in anticipation of rapid turnover. “I actually over-hired, expecting some won’t stay,” one respondent told MGMA, noting that they were “tired of the hamster wheel of stress over being short-staffed.”
Some of the increased time spent on recruitment still involves candidates “ghosting” the hiring manager or interviewer, never showing up after scheduling a time to talk. When candidates do show up, interviewers need to be prepared to make a persuasive case to candidates who still benefit from a very competitive labor market where other industries have continued to attract talent through lucrative sign-on bonuses or expanded benefits. “I spend far more of my day trying to sell the culture of our practice to potential employees,” one respondent told MGMA.
Administrative staff and medical assistants (MAs) were the most common roles noted as part of practice leaders’ time commitments to recruit and interview among respondents who reported their time investments increased or stayed the same this past year. While most of the focus was on front office and customer service workers, several practice leaders noted that they continue to struggle with finding qualified candidates for medical coders, A/R staff and various back-office roles.
While many practice leaders noted they still spend ample time on physician and advanced practice provider (APP) recruitment, the area of clinical support remains especially difficult. One practice leader in a cardiology office noted that echo tech recruitment has been a tall order: “Traveling techs are now more expensive than traveling RNs and in shorter supply.”
- The ACMPE Human Resources Management Certificate Program is an on-demand offering totaling seven credit hours, aligned with the Body of Knowledge and providing healthcare leaders with a mastery of human resources management concepts, including: staffing plans, recruitment and compensation/benefits; employee engagement and talent management; and labor relations and employment law.
- Watch the MGMA Insights newsletter and MGMA podcasts in the coming weeks for insights from the upcoming 2023 Leaders Conference.
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