V2V Founder, Debra Wiggs talks with Sheila Bixler & Heidi Johnson of Healthcare Recruitment Link
By Debra Wiggs, FACMPE, Founder
One of the building blocks of the organization is strategic planning. Deeply rooted within strategic planning is the sustainability that is generated through retention. And, retention starts with the right fit.
Inevitably, this line of reasoning begs the question, which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Meaning, do you get your strategic plan in place and hire good people or do you first embrace a philosophy that encourages the growth and longevity of your employees?
Well, the answer is, actually, both. You can (and should) do both, simultaneously.
Today, so many organizations are at a crossroads. Along with the transformation of our health care industry due to health care reform, so many tenured staff are leaving because the bell curve of the baby boom generation is poised at retirement age. After years of working with health care clients, our V2V team of advisors has learned that there are key outcomes of strategic planning and one of those is to ensure strategic succession planning and expansion. I always refer to this as having the right people in the right place, doing the right work at the right time. As part of that effort, many organizations discover that to implement the strategic vision, they need to address their recruitment needs.
Recently, we’ve been collaborating with Heidi Johnson and Sheila Bixler, of Healthcare Recruitment Link, a health care recruitment firm that specializes in physician, advanced practice provider and executive search work. So I asked them their thoughts about retention, recruitment, and strategic planning.
Deb Wiggs: What is the connection between recruitment, retention, and strategic planning?
Heidi Johnson: Retention is at the core of building a culture and ensuring that an organization thrives. It is the fuel that feeds the culture and it reflects a basic commitment to the sustainability of one’s organization.
Deb: Where does successful employee retention begin?
Sheila Bixler: From our perspective, at Healthcare Recruitment Link, it starts at recruitment. However, from a holistic perspective, it really starts during strategic planning. We’ve learned, in experiences with V2V and beyond, successful placements happen because an organization has a clearly defined job description and parameters for their “ideal” candidate for the position… For example, not only are they clear on needing a position filled, but also, what will the specific and additional responsibilities include and what type of person and skill set will work best. Beyond specific scope of work, these responsibilities and the person performing these job functions must complement organizational culture.
Deb: Absolutely. In my experience, I’ve found it’s vital to be crystal clear regarding not just what the person in this position will be doing, but how he or she will perform the work. That’s an important question to answer. And, when you begin working with an organization on recruitment, how do you discover culture? How do you identify it’s congruence with strategic plan?
Heidi. During the information-gathering stage, our team focuses, first, on the characteristics of people who are successful at the organization. And, we’ve found that those organizations with a positive, well-articulated strategic plan and vision are far more successful at recruitment and retention. It’s far easier to recognize a good fit for each position. Those organizations with tremendous disconnect between strategic plan and culture are also seeing a costly employee revolving door. It’s truly about an organization being in alignment with both its written and unwritten vision and values.
Deb: So, I’ve had the opportunity to work with you on several projects where we were able to successfully place physicians with an organization. From your perspective, what is the role you play with an organization who knows what they want? What is the mantle you assume as you search for the ideal candidate?
Heidi: Oh, that’s easy. We are matchmaking mavens! And we follow a thoughtful tried and true process. First, we ask about job skills, medical education, training, and work experience. When the organization is crystal clear on the role to be filled, this aspect of the screening process is much more straightforward. After that, it is about finding out what it will take for the candidate to thrive within the organizational culture. Again, when strategic plan and corporate culture are aligned, this second set of questions is also far more easily answered.
Sheila: We must have a solid understanding of the community culture. At this point, we want to get to know the candidate’s lifestyle and community preferences. Frequently, candidates have a significant other or spouse and family who will be involved in the decision. Is this a place where the family, along with the candidate, will thrive? As matchmakers, we want to know what is important for the family. Our goal is to ensure the community offers everything the candidate and his family will need to thrive and call the community “home.” And, when there is a solid strategic plan and vision at the organization, we are able to address other elements of successful placement and retention, such as community fit for the candidate and family.
Deb: Thanks to you, both, for joining me in this exploration of how strategic planning fuels retention-focused recruitment. Strategic planning is a core commitment to the sustainability of an organization. It’s not just about a job description, that’s just one aspect of retention-focused recruitment. It’s really about expediting the right fit for the right reason. And, a successfully-placed candidate creates another building block to fulfilling strategic vision and fostering organizational sustainability.
Heidi Johnson and Sheila Bixler founded Healthcare Recruitment Link, a boutique-style healthcare recruitment firm, with the philosophy of being intimately involved with each search and focusing on client needs and budget.