3 winning strategies to attract and retain top healthcare talent

Today’s healthcare industry is faced with a talent shortage. Demand for health-related services is rising at the same time that providers are looking for a desirable work-life balance or are retiring early.

The competition for these professionals is fierce. Hospital leaders are challenged to find and retain top healthcare talent. 

How do you attract highly skilled clinicians, who have many employment choices, to join and stay at your organization? How do you instill loyalty among your team and inspire them to be truly committed to growing their careers with you? Create a work environment bolstered by the right organizational culture and development programs, where your clinicians feel happy. Data shows that when your people are content, it is not only good for them, but it is good for business. Satisfied clinicians directly contribute to better patient outcomes.

When I started practicing as an anesthesiologist more than 30 years ago, physicians wanted to be left alone to do their job and see many as patients as possible. However, over the past two decades, the workplace has evolved. Clinicians today care about team culture, career advancement, diversity, and flexibility. If you want to be a destination of choice for all healthcare professionals, you need to offer ways where everyone can thrive.

Here are some proven strategies to help your organization recruit and retain the right talent:

1. Establish leaders at all levels

Leadership should not be restricted to your C-suite. Instead, establish leadership roles throughout the organization. We have had much success with regional and local leaders who instruct, coach, and mentor excellence for our clinicians during all stages of their career. At the local level, we have anesthesia chairs who coordinate and align surgical, nursing, and hospital assets. Our clinicians also partner with facility administrators and serve on committees and boards. They are supported by regional clinical and operations experts who cascade down national programs, processes, services, and standards, as well as Quality nurses who track progress and manage our robust Quality Improvement program. Encourage your clinicians to pursue pathways that will prepare them for leadership roles while also strengthening the stability of your organization. 

2. Invest in training and career development 

Your company should provide a range of training and development for everyone. Offer programs that address the wide interests and career paths your clinicians are following, such as advancing clinical skills or building competencies in research, public speaking, and talent management. For our anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, anesthetists, and functional team members, we offer tracks in leadership, finance, business development, and other areas. For students or clinicians early in their career, we build relationships with academic institutions and provide administrative fellowships and residency programs. These opportunities give clinicians the autonomy to self-direct their careers, while addressing their intellectual curiosity. Help your team grow professionally and expand their skills that are aligned to their ultimate goals—whether that is in their practice, the boardroom, the operating room, or the university classroom. 

3. Build a culture based on inclusion, social responsibility, and flexibility

In today’s workforce, employees want to be part of a team that puts people’s interests first. Where and when they work is important, as is desirable work-life flexibility. Clinicians want to be able to shift between hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, and office-based settings, and select shifts and locations that work for life, even as their needs change over time. They also want a mix of different types of cases and an opportunity to work with diverse patient populations. Demonstrate your organization is committed to the well-being of your employees as well as the populations you serve. Promote your corporate social responsibility programs and initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusion. People want to work where they see others like themselves. Support health equity in all the populations you serve, advancing opportunities in anesthesia for everyone. 

New challenges in hiring and in healthcare will arise, but the need for clinicians will remain. Stay ahead of technological, operational, and social trends, react quickly and address the realities as they develop. Sustain a culture where clinicians can innovate and thrive. Continue to treat your clinicians as your greatest asset. This not only leads to job satisfaction and industry-leading retention numbers, but also leads to cost reduction across the board and ultimately greater patient experience.

John Di Capua, MD serves as the Chief Executive Officer for North American Partners in Anesthesia (NAPA), the nation’s leading single-specialty anesthesia and pain management company. Board certified in anesthesia and pain management, Dr. Di Capua served as Chairman of Anesthesiology and Senior Vice President of Anesthesia within the Northwell Health System prior to joining NAPA. He has been a principal driver of NAPA’s growth, which is now a community of 6,000+ clinicians serving nearly 3 million patients annually at nearly 500 healthcare facilities in 20 states. Dr. Di Capua trained in anesthesiology at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by fellowships in pain management and cardiothoracic anesthesia. A strong proponent of medical education, he was the founding Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra University and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.

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