employer branding

Failproof employer branding tactics for doctors

Have you noticed that your competitor seems to have better staff? Do you witness more-than-ideal staff turnover in your own practice? Time to sit down and go over these essentials of employer branding. Chances are your employer branding and your recruitment systems are a mismatch. 

employer branding

Failproof employer branding tactics for doctors

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice

Kris Borgraeve

July 15, 2022

The big question: How do I attract the right staff?

recruitment for doctors

The magic of employer branding happens when you find and retain the perfect staff. I know, there is no such thing as perfection. Yet, I meet doctors who are raving about this amazing team member who has been with them since the internet was created. And more importantly, I meet these amazing practice managers, receptionists and allied health professionals who tell me that working with their surgeon is the best. 

So it’s possible. But how do you do it?

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"Some doctors take the easy way and offer their team members more money. Others create a better work-life balance for their team members by offering attractive working hours. And there are whole seminars on how to offer your staff other benefits to make them stay."

You could go as far as paint your rooms in their favourite colour, give them a spectacular title or the latest smartphone. 

That’s up to you. Let’s go over the really sustainable long-term aspects of recruitment for doctors as well as staff retention and employer branding.
We help you communicate in a way that is about the patient. Not just about you and your practice. Our data shows that this keeps patients on your website for longer and it helps you increase your conversions, in other words, your patient numbers.

Your secret weapon is clarity

medical recruitment

That’s right. Clarity is an amazing force in the workplace. When things are unclear, toddlers can get a tiny bit more boisterous. When a working situation is incoherent, team members get demotivated and cynical. 

So what is it you want to be clear about in your medical recruitment and every second after that?

The roles: Who is responsible for what? When it’s a shared responsibility, how do you know who will take ownership? Is there a culture of blame or one of genuinely shared care for everything that happens in the practice? If you have created the practice and you are the boss, do not expect anyone in your business (not even your practice manager) to create that clarity for you.

The services: Is it clear that you deliver babies, replace hips or perform prostate surgery? Or is the services overview like the menu at your local coffee place, subject to change at any time depending on the business realities of the practice? If you have a practice that navigates change because you can afford to shift the focus and the type of referrals you target, make sure your entire team is absolutely clear about that. Unless you want cynical conversations behind your back and heaps of chaos.

The brand: The way your brand shows up when patients find you online is actually the promise you make to your patients and your referring GPs. You outline not just the types of treatment options you offer, but also your approach, your attitude and your team culture. If you portray your team as genuinely caring and I get treated like **it during my first consultation, guess what just happened to your beautiful brand? It’s ruined and so is your reputation as a doctor, which you would see reflected in your Google Reviews.

Clarity is an effort. It’s not a given. That is why so many practices see people come and go. This brings us to the buzzword of staff retention. It’s tech speak for being a good boss.

The Holy Grail: staff retention in healthcare

staff retention

Why do we want people to stay? Well, you pick your main reason to value staff retention: 

  • It saves you money: Not just the admin costs to replace a team member, but also the time lost in training. Not to mention errors happening when a new team member is finding their way around your software, your internal systems of simple things as the alarm system or the coffee machine.
  • It supports your reputation: Patients who had a good connection with your receptionist may refer to your practice partly because of that practice culture. In case of recurring treatments such as physiotherapy, chiropractic, dentistry or cosmetic surgery, you may want to invest in team members who are in it for the long run.
  • It reduces stress: Other team members have to jump in when someone leaves. You have to make additional decisions or supervise parts of your process when a team member resigns.

When a team is stable, people who stay build their expertise and are able to pass it on to each other, creating a capital of expertise that improves your practice as a business.

Kris Borgraeve - Co-founder Digital Practice
Kris Borgraeve | Co-founder Digital Practice

"When a team is subject to constant changes, knowledge is not accumulated, and much of the energy is spent transferring protocols and systems to new team members. On top of the friction and lost time, this may create a culture of panic among those who actually want to stay with you."

In a climate with more job availabilities than available team members, you may want to think about employer branding differently and sell the job to candidates, not just on the day they sign a contract, but every single day, if we want that team member to help you develop your practice. 

The elephant in the doctor’s room: toxicity

toxic workplace

A toxic workplace often remains unidentified for a very long time. As the owner, you are the last person who will detect it.  

In your presence, people will be at their best. Nodding. Promising. Performing.

In your absence, comments will be made. Body language will speak for itself. Other colleagues and patients will be exposed to something that can’t be clearly isolated or inspected. But it’s there.

In other situations, the toxicity may come from a lack of clarity or a lack of presence from the practice owner or managers.

As communication experts, we don’t have a lot to say about toxicity, except that you want to be aware of it and replace it with something more constructive. It starts with attracting great staff!

employer branding

The digital side of employer branding

attracting great staff

This is probably the right time to bring it back to the type of strategic work we do with our customers at the start of a journey. This could be the launch or creation of a private practice, or a revamp that involves creating a new brand or a new online presence. 

What’s the connection between your online presence and your capacity to attract amazing staff? Well, in essence, your online story is the first gatekeeper when potential new team members are finding out about your practice.

What do potential team members look at when they check you out?

  • Is it clear what the overall brand values are? Is there a contemporary visual representation of the surgeons/specialists/doctors? Is the brand fresh and compelling or is the image outdated?
  • Is the online story consistent across social media profiles, hospital profile pages and your own website?
  • Is the brand promise authentic and can you guarantee that this is how the new team member will look at your practice after having joined you and worked for you for at least 12 months?

The reconnaissance processes we include in our digital strategies for doctors touch on these often sensitive areas.

Not all doctors in private practice are willing to inspect the deeper layers of their employment branding because it relates to the core of who they are. The ones who do have that courage are obviously thriving in private practice because their marketing content, their team retention track records and patient reviews all tell the same story!

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Get your foundation right

HR advice for doctors

I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we offer HR advice for doctors. Yet, many elements of our discovery process when we create your business strategy are related to your HR as a surgeon or a specialist doctor. That’s why I vividly recommend you book a free 1:1 Strategy Session to inspect how we can assist with your employer branding. 

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