To determine if your physician candidate is a viable prospect for a long-term fit, engage the spouse early in the recruitment process. This will help you better understand the family dynamics, and the professional and personal needs of both parties. Once you realize you’re recruiting the couple and not just the physician, you will be able to address the needs that each individual feels are most important.
The importance of family and spouse in recruiting and retaining physicians is reinforced by findings of a physician retention survey of group practice administrators. The survey, conducted by Cejka Search and American Medical Group Association (AMGA), was completed by 92 members of the AMGA who collectively employ more than 16,833 physicians.
According to the survey results, relocating to be “closer to family” or “for spouse’s job” were among the four most frequently mentioned reasons why a physician leaves a practice voluntarily.
The effectiveness of early engagement with a candidate’s spouse was also reinforced in the retention survey (What retention survey?). Group practice administrators noted the following as being effective strategies:
▪ Providing dedicated relocation assistance
▪ Including the spouse during the interview
▪ Providing career assistance or professional networking for the spouse
▪ Creating social events for the family
If the practice opportunity you are offering is especially unique due to location or the nature of the position, you may want to consider offering a one-week locum tenens as a trial.
If you remember that employing a physician is often a “package deal,” and work to make both partners happy, you’re more likely to employ a physician who will be with you for the long-term.