Strategic Recruitment Plan for Healthcare Practice Growth

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The single most important asset in your business that will determine its success or failure is not your equipment, your IT or your IP. It is your people.

It is your people who will interact with your customers, put into action your strategies for future engagement and it’s your people on whom you rely to run your business day to day. Yet recruitment is often something that is not approached strategically, with many businesses approaching it on a ‘need-to’ basis.

The problem with this approach is that you’re always caught on the back foot when you do need to hire new staff. If you don’t know the kind of people you’re looking for, how will you know when the right ones come along?

Recruit with purpose and you always have an idea of who you want to hire, the sort of qualifications they should have and the sort of personality that works best with everyone else in your business. Poor recruitment decisions can not only prove detrimental to your business, but can cost you a lot of money as well.

Costs of bad recruitment

An obvious example of a bad recruit is someone who quickly starts missing days or who consistently makes mistakes. Both of these scenarios create more work than the person being paid is undertaking and impact others in the business who are forced to pick up the slack.

Yet these costs can be just the tip of the iceberg.

  • Advertising a job means paying money. You might post ads on job boards and recruitment portals, then you have to spend time on interviews that you’d usually spend with clients. If you recruit badly and are quickly forced to dismiss the new recruit, all this time and money has been wasted.
  • A bad recruit can damage your relationship with your clients. Leaving your best clients in the hands of an incompetent employee could cause frustrations and even the loss of that client, due to subpar service. It’s well documented that it costs ten times more to win a new client than it does to retain an existing one. Jeopardising strong relationships for the sake of a hasty recruitment is never a good idea.
  • A negative attitude can ripple through a whole business. A recruit with a negative attitude towards work and the business itself can trigger motivational issues and performance problems with other staff members, resulting in lowered productivity across your entire business. In a small business, with perhaps only five staff members, a bad recruit accounts for 20% of the workforce. In this scenario, the impact of one negative person can be profound.
  • Costs associated with managing a bad recruit out of the business. Dismissing a troublesome employee can take months of complex procedures and even include time in court, if the dismissal is problematic enough. You might have to engage a solicitor and other advisers, all the while paying the staff member until the details of the dismissal are settled.

Getting it right with a recruitment plan

So, what does a good recruitment plan for a private healthcare practice look like?

Firstly, you need to define a capacity requirement in the business and where new staffing should fill a gap.  Secondly, a clear profile of an ideal recruit and their tasks will need to be formulated, both in the context of the values and objectives of the business and the type of client journey that you wish to develop.  If you’re building a practice based on clinical excellence and wish to be seen as an expert, it’s likely that you’ll build a client journey based on a lot of clinical interrogation, a potential series of complimentary services and the like.  Subsequently, you’ll need physiotherapists who not only have those deep skills, but who also have an appetite to grow their knowledge. They should be able to operate independently and thrive in a clinically advanced environment.

When choosing a new hire, consider that there may be some key personality traits that are applicable. These include characteristics such as accountability or going the extra mile.  It’s about identifying what these traits are and then considering how you go about pinpointing them amongst the potential recruits. Ultimately, the individual characteristics of the new recruit need to be aligned with the values and objectives of the business, as well as each client journey.

Then you need to define your timeline for recruiting.  For example, your plan might be to increase your revenue from £100,000 to £200,000 over a period of 48 months.  As a result, it would be advisable to gradually increase your staff complement every six months, instead of all at once.

This will mean that staff onboarding goes hand in hand with company growth and without the extra cost in wages putting a strain on resources.  It also gives the recruit a chance to settle in, and the rest of the company to get used to them, before the next hire arrives.

Another important consideration is when the right time would be to start looking for a new recruit.  Once you’ve set your employment milestones in line with your growth plan, you will be able to start the recruitment process a few months ahead of each target hire date.

Make your recruitment plan specific to your scenario     

The rules regarding the format of a recruitment plan are not set in stone.  Your current circumstances play an important part regarding the direction your talent acquisition strategy will take. For the most consistent results, however, it should form a part of your overall business identity, considering your location and USPs.

For example, if your practice is based in a very close-knit town with a strong community feel where everyone tends to know each other and share similar interests, you might want to extend these values into your business culture. This allows your business to feel at one with the community you’ll be recruiting from. It will allow you to be perceived as a community practitioner and a “team player”, which helps build trust with your clients as well.

Another critical factor to look for in a new recruit is a balance of emotional and business intelligence.  Does your new employee possess the ability to empathise with the needs and problems of each patient and assist them with the remedy? Or are they thinking too much about their own professional agenda or making a profit?

Displaying self-interest is the quickest way to erode trust in your clients. You need people in your business who want to succeed by providing a great service; not by being so greedy for profit or recognition that they forget who’s paying the bills.

Also, make sure you bring the rest of your staff onboard when it comes to deciding who their next colleague might be.  A recruit might be great at performing the task at hand, but they aren’t a good fit if they cannot relate to the company culture.

Reducing recruitment risks

It’s impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of hiring a bad recruit, but there are a few ways you can mitigate the risk:

  • Recruit with purpose, knowing the part recruitment plays in your business growth
  • Be clear on the type of individuals that you want to work in your business
  • Plan out your recruitment process from job spec, to ad placement to interview and hire
  • Involve the rest of the business in the recruitment drive
  • Keep your recruitment plan consistent

Ultimately, the best employees need very little management time and oversight.  They function autonomously and contribute to the running of the business, while providing a motivational drive for other employees to achieve solid results.  To accomplish this oiled clockwork effect, careful attention needs to be afforded to the way you recruit your staff.  All it takes is one difficult employee to put a spanner in your works.

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