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
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
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.