Wrapping it up: End of Year Recruitment Program Assessment

By Allison McCarthy, MBA, Principal

OK, you’ve done it all. Over the past year, you have:

  • Managed all search components for a significant number of recruitments
  • Streamlined the on-boarding process for new recruits joining the organization
  • Revamped prospecting materials including direct mail, web site integration and exhibit materials
  • Worked through tough political searches with lukewarm medical staff support
  • Enhanced internal communications to keep everyone informed and current

The time feels right to take a breather and enjoy the holidays. But it’s also the perfect time for a year end review. Reflecting on both your successes and challenges, the goal is to build upon specific accomplishments so as to achieve even more going forward. A few areas of reflection might include:

Planned vs. Unplanned

  • How many searches were originally planned? Listed as a priority from the medical staff development plan, an existing practice that wanted to add a colleague or the organization’s need for a super specialist to advance a strategically critical service.
  • How many recruitment assignments were unplanned and added as the year progressed? An opportunity was unexpectedly presented or there was a physician departure that needed replacement.

Is one greater than the other? Planning and preparation always diminishes a crisis work environment. The unplanned will never go away – but it should represent unforeseeable situations such as:

  • An opportunity to recruit a dual physician couple from one targeted search, or
  • The need to replace a physician with an unexpected health challenge. Small shifts from the unplanned to the planned can make a significant difference in the intensity of your recruitment work.

Closed vs. Open

How many of the 2010 searches were completed versus those that remain open. Some incompletes may have recently been added so there has not been ample time to bring them to closure. But are there searches that have been open for some time? Why? Is it a lack of leads? Are you working with a group that has unrealistic selection criteria? Look for themes or trends. If there is commonality across multiple searches, then there maybe something worth addressing to improve results.

Process Review

Tracking mechanisms help to review specific elements of the recruitment process. Looking at the numbers, ratios and time frames provides useful insights for potential improvements. Here are some things to consider as you review:

  • Realistic perspective on candidate criteria. Those desired may not match what the organization can attract. Adjusting the search criteria to better align with market realities may be necessary.
  • Significant delays in one or more stages of your recruitment process. Your physicians may not be as responsive to prospects as they need to be competitive. This could be just a symptom of their buy-in and commitment to the search. Open dialogue with a core group of physician stakeholders may be in order
  • Longer time frames/costs associated with specific searches. Certain specialists are just hard to recruit, i.e. Internal Medicine. So these outcomes may just reflect the tight demand/supply of a specific specialty. But unnecessary use of external resources, barriers in the internal recruitment process, or the inability to “close the deal” is insight that demonstrates an outlier situation that needs to be managed differently.

Internal Input

Having one-on-one conversations with new recruits will help assess the process from their perspective. How did it feel? Is there anything they would change to make it more positive?

Input from hospital leadership, group practice administrators and others – those you worked with to recruit – can offer insights from those key stakeholders relying on implementation success. Taking the time to ask for their perspectives on recruitment successes and challenges also offers an opportunity for you to share your assessment and recommendations as well.

2011 Goals

With the assessment complete and insights gathered, the next step is to establish improvement goals for the coming year. If you find this to be a lengthy list with a number of things needing change, prioritize and select the top two or three. Too many goals often translate into too many “irons in the fire.” Time and energy is then spread too thin. Balance between workload and focus is key.