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Insights: Why culture is king in medical practice staff management

Podcast - May 9, 2019

Recruitment & Hiring

Professional Development

Culture & Engagement

In a recent MGMA stat poll, we polled more than 4,000 healthcare leaders, asking them, "What is most important when hiring staff?"

Nearly 70% of the respondents said cultural fit is the most important factor. This gives a quantitative foundation to the often-quoted point, "Culture is King."

In this MGMA Insights podcast, we explore the idea of why culture is king and how it impacts the hiring, onboarding and even firing process in medical practices.

Experts interviewed include:
  • Jacob Simon, Executive Vice President, The Medicus Firm
  • Stefan Jarmusz, Project Analyst, MGMA
  • Dr. Susan Murphy, author, keynote speaker and business consultant
  • Molly Ramsay, Principal, Corporate Operations Director, Medical Management, Inc. (‘MedMan’)
  • Amber Pedersen, Administrator, Medical Management, Inc. (‘MedMan’)

The Cost of Bad Hires

According to Simon, culture impacts every part of an organization, but you have to actually live it every day. "You can have your core values written on your walls, but if your employees aren't embodying those values," then your culture will not stick.
Citing a Zappos case study, Simon explains that bad hires and employee turnover has caused Zappos more than $100 million over its lifetime. The U.S. Department of Labor has also weighed in on the cost of a "bad hire" with turnover costing a typical company up to 70% of an employee's annual salary.
The biggest issue, though, is not financial, it's the problems caused within the organizational culture. Simon suggests that healthcare leaders should all read The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni. This book, Simon says, offers a blueprint to build core competencies for your organization.

The Competitive Landscape

With the unemployment rate dropping to a record-low 3.6% in April, a level not seen in 50 years, it’s created an extremely competitive marketplace.
To help practices identify candidates and close the deal, Dr. Murphy says, "The salary and benefits packages for your new hires have got to be competitive." But she adds, "Since there's no such thing as a confidential salary," practices have to be careful in offering a candidate too much compensation because the amount will reach the ears of current staff and could cause discord, even additional turnover.
Dr. Murphy suggests practices can offer a differentiator: "The more training you can do, the more coaching, the more shadowing, the better it is because training and development is one thing you can do that will not take too much out of your compensation and benefits package." Dr. Murphy explains that there's also a hunger from younger generations to learn, and they can gain information quickly and efficiently from mentors and established training programs.


The low unemployment rate is also changing the hiring process, according to Ramsay and Pedersen, causing many practices to change their recruitment and onboarding strategies.
"I remember five years ago I would post a reception job and get over 70 resumes in the first day of posting," says Ramsay. "This last year, when I posted a reception job, I got probably 30 resumes."
Not only are there fewer resumes coming in, but candidates are receiving multiple offers, which has caused additional problems.
"We are experiencing applicants not showing up for the interview or accepting our position, but then resigning before they start because they got a better offer," says Pedersen.
That's why Ramsay and Pedersen say it's important to "Stay engaged with the candidate all the way through the hiring process to make a connection that your organization is invested in them before they even start day one. We send a welcome email with all the paperwork that needs to be filled out so that on their first actual day we are prepared and they can login to all the systems."

Further Education

If you want to grow as a leader in your organization and help develop a stronger culture in your practice. MGMA’s online seminar, "Transformational Leadership: From the Front Office to the C-Suite" will help you embrace change management and strategic vision planning to expand your leadership toolbox. You can find out more information and register for the event here

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