The Role of Effective Recruitment & Onboarding on Physician Retention

The Role of Effective Recruitment & Onboarding on Physician Retention

17Aug, 2015

The Role of Effective Recruitment & Onboarding on Physician Retention


When the topic of competition for top physician talent comes up, the vast majority of recruiters lay the blame on the physician shortage. But the physician shortage isn’t the only aspect causing turmoil in the physician recruitment sphere. For the past six years, the physician turnover rate has been steadily increasing (from 5.9% in 2009 to 6.8% in 2013) , and is expected to get worse as the aging physician population begins to retire.

But with the turnover rate so high, what can an organization do to stem the flow? The key lies in physician recruitment and onboarding. When done right, both factors can greatly reduce the turnover rate among providers. 


Recruiting for Retention

When recruiting a physician, it is important to look at more than just their CV. Multiple factors can affect whether or not a physician stays in a position long term, many of which have to do with fit and the community itself.


  • Culture: Recruiting for cultural fit is about more than just making sure that a physician understands an organization’s mission and values. Cultural fit actually plays a large role in determining if a physician will stay with an organization long term.


  • Ties: Most people would prefer to settle down in a community where they have family and/or friends. The same goes for physicians. When screening and recruiting a physician to join your team, knowing that they have family and friends in the area will increase the likelihood that they will stay long term. Without the pull of a strong personal network elsewhere, they are less likely to choose to relocate.


  • Lifestyle: Over 42% of physicians list quality of life and opportunities for their family as motivating factors when choosing an opportunity. When recruiting a physician, it is important to take their lifestyle needs – and that of their family – into consideration. Failing to do so will likely result in the physician taking an opportunity elsewhere down the road that will better need his or her needs, and that of their family.



The Effect of Onboarding


A thorough onboarding process and physician mentorship program can go a long way in increasing retention. Surveyed groups report that a longer onboarding process that assigned new physicians a mentor decreased turnover in the first three years. But although a thorough onboarding process has been shown to improve physician retention, only 33% of respondents indicated that they had a formal onboarding taskforce. Additionally, with the turnover rate highest in the early and late years of practice, a strong onboarding practice becomes crucial in decreasing the turnover rate of new hires.


Key Take Aways:

  • Effective and thorough onboarding processes can greatly reduce turnover among physicians in the early years of practice
  • Recruitment plays a critical role in determining the likelihood a physician will stay on long term
  • Candidates with community ties and who are a good cultural fit are more likely to stay on long term, so screening for these qualities early in the recruitment process is beneficial