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Health Clinics: Hiring New Staff Medical During Record Low Unemployment

hiring medical staff
New Zealand’s record low unemployment rate of 3.1% is seeing a range of industries struggle with dire staffing shortages – and the medical industry is no exception. In fact, a survey published last month of 900 doctors by the Women in Medicine Charitable Trust found that 93.5% of clinicians agreed that we are in a healthcare workforce crisis. The Trust also made it clear that innovative solutions to retention, recruitment, and equity in all areas of healthcare were needed to help the country work through this crisis.

While the last five years has seen 5500 doctors and nurses added to the public health system by the government with record budget investments, the burden of improving recruitment in the private sector falls in the hands of clinic owners – many who are struggling to catch a break between covering for staff sick leave and trying attract talent when competition is at an all-time high. 

To help, here are four innovative ways to help your clinic attract and retain new staff in today’s competitive market.

 

1. Increase your annual leave

According to the key findings of Hays 2022-203 salary guide, additional annual leave benefits (offering above the mandatory 20 days of annual leave) represented one of the largest discrepancies between what employers were offering and what employees wanted. Specifically, only 23% of employers were offering over 20 days of annual leave, with 55% of employees stating that they want this benefit in order to encourage them to join a workplace.

As such, consider raising your annual leave policy to be greater than 20 days to give your offer an immediate, tangible and in-demand advantage – and often one that is much-needed in a profession that works directly with people to care for their health, which can involve tense and stressful situations. Also, remember that most employers find it easier to make plans around annual leave that is planned ahead of time, compared to having an unfilled position that brings with it levels of uncertainty and stress.

 

2. Publicise your workplace culture

When spending over half of our waking hours in one place, employees want that place to be somewhere that they belong, has a good supportive environment, and that they can have a great daily experience in. Social belonging is hardwired into our DNA as a fundamental human need, yet 40% of people say they feel isolated at work. 

One way that you can show prospective employees that you may be the right fit for them is by making your workplace culture more transparent and visible. Instead of introducing your culture with words on your online job ad or at an interview, be more transparent on your website or social media platforms. Enable your prospective employee to get to know and feel what it would be like to work together before they’ve even met you – if they enter the interview having visualised what it could be like and have pictured themselves happily as part of your team, then you already have a competitive advantage.

 

3. Build relationships early, stay in it for the long-term

A sizable portion of new graduates entering allied health roles have had some form of interaction or experience with their employer – whether that’s through a placement opportunity, a networking event, or hearing them present at a university event. As such, evaluate your current pipelines of prospective employees and identify areas where you can build long-term funnels to introduce your clinic to new prospective candidates. Maintain a long-term approach, create additional shadowing or placement opportunities, and build your relationships and reputation.

 

4. Offer better, more flexible health and wellness support

Greater benefits in the form of mental and physical health support and wellbeing programs were found to be more greatly desired than a company car, car allowance or onsite parking, budget for a home office, financial support for professional study, share incentives, paying professional membership fees – even paid leave for study.

While many companies are quick to interpret that as a contribution to a private health insurance plan, this approach fails to recognise that the health and wellness needs of a given person are multifaceted, complex, go far outside the tick boxes and prerequisites of standard insurance plans, and often extend beyond the employee to their immediate family members, too.

As such, more New Zealand health clinics are choosing to give employees greater control of how the money allocated for their health benefits is used via a dedicated digital health wallet that can be used for a wide range of health services for themselves or their families. The health services are selected entirely by the employee within the parameters set by the employer, and without the funds ever expiring or going unacknowledged or forgotten, as can happen with unclaimed insurance plans.

To an employee, it looks like a regular bank account that shows the funds they have available – except that it can only be used to improve their health or that of their family members. To a clinic, it looks like payment at a rate and frequency set by the clinic that is contributed to the employees’ digital health wallet, at absolutely no extra cost to the clinic for this service. Having these funds available can also encourage employees to take a proactive approach to their health – which can lead to other benefits like reduced absenteeism and presenteeism.

 

Learn more about the benefits of employer aid payments and how you can become an employer of choice, including how you can easily start offering it via HealthNow’s international platform (and adding it to the benefits section of your job advertisement) here.