Physician retention is a growing concern for healthcare organizations. Establishing formal retention strategies results in fewer turnover rates and saves you time and money in your recruiting efforts.
According to a the Cejka Search and AMGA 2006 Physician Retention Survey, which was completed by 92 members of the American Medical Group Association who collectively employ more than 16,833 physicians, organizations with designated retention programs experience lower turnover rates (6%) than organizations without retention initiatives (7.1%).
The survey found the following retention initiatives to be the most effective:
§ Regular feedback and performance reviews
§ Partnership/ownership opportunities
§ Flexible work hours or part-time options
The timing of such initiatives appears to make a difference. Between the time a new physician is hired, until his or her starting date, setting clear expectations about compensation was rated as the most effective strategy. And, in the first 90 days of employment, personal interaction with peers is rated most highly.
Assigning a mentor to newly recruited physicians is an effective retention strategy, according to the group leaders who responded to the survey. Of all respondents, 61% reported that they assign a mentor to new recruits. Most mentors work within the same department as the new physicians, and have been with the practice an average of 5.3 years. Among the groups that assign a mentor within the same department, the turnover rate was significantly lower, at 5.8%, compared with organizations with no mentoring – who reported a 7.2% turnover rate.
Every organization will find a different path for retention that is specific to its own situation, culture, and resources. However, there is value in establishing early groundwork for retention by setting clear expectations, offering a variety of career options, and engaging new physicians with their peers and mentors.