Is your practice finding it hard to recruit and hire high-quality clinical and non-clinical employees? If so, you’re not alone; members of the College’s Practice Management Committee are facing the same issue. And in a recent Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) poll of health care leaders, 88% of respondents reported difficulty recruiting medical assistants (MAs). Poll participants cited multiple reasons, including experienced MAs leaving the profession due to the pandemic, MAs preferring unemployment (with extra financial relief provided by the government), and MAs refusing to comply with mask requirements and/or be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Finding and keeping great employees is one of the most important tasks for building a successful allergy practice – and it may require extra effort in the current environment. The following are tips to recruit and keep the best talent.
- Hire for attitude. You can always teach skills, but empathy, an ability to relate to patients, a positive attitude and a willingness to pitch in are difficult to teach. “I always believe if you surround yourself with good people, the rest works out,” said Melinda Rathkopf, MD, FACAAI, vice chair of the Practice Management Committee.
- Know your pitch. What do you have to offer prospective employees? You may need to get creative in the current environment. Flexible scheduling, part-time work and work from home options are all popular perks. Large practices may offer more competitive benefits packages, while small practices might tout their work-life balance or opportunities for cross-training and skill development. Plus, make sure you’re offering competitive compensation and benefits. Check salary.com for competitive pay in your area, but keep in mind pay rates are trending higher. And 26% of respondents in a recent MGMA Stat poll said their medical practice added or increased employee benefits in the past year.
- Know your need. What is the hole you need to fill? Craft a specific job posting to attract the most relevant candidates.
- Nail the interviews. A good interview strategy is just as important for employers as it is for job seekers. Establish a sound process for interviews that includes initial telephone screenings and post-interview evaluations. Make sure you are using your recruitment time efficiently and finding strong candidates who will thrive in your practice culture. Using the same mix of behavioral and job-related questions for every candidate will help make comparing potential employees more straightforward. Use these 10 questions for hiring allergy staff. “These questions are excellent,” noted Kevin McGrath, MD, FACAAI, chair of the Practice Management Committee. “They will help you identify employees with the right skills and a positive, empathetic attitude.”
Once you’ve hired a new team member, make sure they have everything they need to succeed. Start by integrating them into your practice with a thorough onboarding process. For information on employee onboarding, read our article New employee onboarding: the key to employee engagement and retention. For more details about how and where to recruit, how to identify the best candidates, how to keep it all legal, and how to successfully onboard new employees, view the College’s 15-minute educational module Hiring and Onboarding. This module is part of our Allergy Office Essentials package.
To find even more information, including a sample employee handbook, a sample Code of Conduct, how to motivate and retain employees, as well as how to conduct a performance review, check out the College’s Human Resources toolkit.