Lori Schutte, MBA, is president of Cejka Search, a nationally recognized physician, allied health and healthcare executive search firm providing services exclusively to the healthcare industry for more than 30 years. She is a member of the management team of Cross Country Healthcare, the parent corporation of Cejka Search. Schutte brings extensive healthcare and operational experience to the Cejka Search Division, including the development and implementation of strategic plans, team building, and client relationship management and program development. Schutte joined Cejka Search in 2004 as vice president of client services. In this role, she was responsible for defining and executing initiatives that were vital to successful service delivery by providing strategic direction, guaranteeing internal performance and quality standards, and exceeding client expectations. Schutte was presented with the Cejka Search Leadership Award in February 2010 in recognition of her outstanding service to the organization during 2009. As an industry leader, Schutte has been a featured speaker at the American Medical Group Association annual conference. She is a member of the Medical Group Management Association and is quoted widely on recruitment and retention topics. Prior to joining Cejka Search, Schutte was vice president of Mid-America Transplant Services in St. Louis. During her 15-year tenure, she managed the development and implementation of organ and tissue donation systems within a hospital setting and is a recognized leader in the organ procurement community. Schutte earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the John M. Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Louis University.
Despite popular belief, compensation isn’t everything to today’s physicians. As more physicians move from private practice to an employed model, health care organizations will be challenged to integrate new physicians with different expectations related to cultural attributes such as accountability, autonomy, work environment and communication styles.
How important do you think culture is to the physicians in your organization? Do you think there are any gaps in how you and your physicians view the culture in your organization? Do you believe it is necessary to invest in assessing and developing cultural fit?
You might be surprised by what we learned in our recent survey conducted in partnership with Physician Wellness Services. The survey examined the influence of 14 cultural attributes on physicians’ overall satisfaction, and their perceptions about their organization’s performance related to those cultural attributes.
We discovered gaps between physician satisfaction and their organization’s performance. Many of the attributes that physicians ranked as most important to their overall satisfaction (rated 8 or above on a scale of 1 to 10) were ranked relatively low in terms of organizational performance with the attribute; the most substantial gaps occur with:
- Transparent communication
- Collaborative leadership style
- Organizational adaptation to change
We were particularly concerned to learn that administrators underestimate the frequency with which physician respondents said that lack of cultural fit has prompted them to leave or decline a position. Since the cost of turnover and prolonged vacancy can cost a practice as much as $100,000 per month, it is vital to understand the influence of organizational culture and its impact on a physician’s decision to join – and stay – with your practice. This is especially critical in the first three years of joining a practice, when recruits are highly vulnerable to turnover.
Physicians want to know that their organization is progressive, particularly in today’s evolving health care landscape. The survey makes it clear that a significant number of physicians are not satisfied with their organization’s ability to communicate effectively and transparently, provide collaborative leadership, and adapt to changes.
Organizations can help fill these gaps by more objectively assessing cultural fit of physician candidates with these simple steps:
- Define the attributes that make physicians successful in your organization.
- Screen effectively for those traits and beware of red flags that might indicate a poor fit with your culture.
- Conduct behavioral interviewing to evaluate teamwork and team leadership qualities.
- Onboard effectively to educate new recruits on your organization’s day-to-day culture.
- Assign a mentor and create a formalized program.
- Offer flexibility and work/life balance.
- Identify your organization’s physician leaders to champion transformation and promote positive cultural changes.
For more information on workplace culture and its influence on physician recruitment and retention – or to request a full copy of the survey report – click here or contact Emily Velders at (800) 296-2698 ext. 64508 or email@example.com.
It’s no surprise that debt is one of the largest issues facing medical school students after graduation. It’s even less surprising that with an average debt of $162,000, these grads seek some sort of loan repayment program as part of their recruitment package.
World-renowned Princeton University economics professor Uwe Reinhart evaluates the subject in a recent post with the New York Times Economix blog and references a Cejka Search survey. In Dr. Reinhart’s article, he discusses the range of physician compensation and whether or not medical education should be government subsidized as a public good.
According to our annual Resident and Fellow Survey, recent graduates are looking for loan repayment in their starting compensation packages. In fact, 48% of respondents ranked educational loan repayment as important or very important when deciding upon a practice opportunity.
According to the 2011 Cejka Search and AMGA Physician Retention Survey, about 60% of medical groups offer loan repayment, a majority of who believe this incentive acts as a differentiator.
But size matters. For many medical groups, this is not a practical incentive to offer. Midsize groups were much more likely to offer this incentive as a part of their compensation package. Half of respondents from both small groups and large groups reported that loan payment isn’t applicable within their organization.
This mirrors the trends our search consultants are seeing in the field. We’ve found that small group clients often don’t have the resources to offer loan repayment. Large groups, on the other hand, don’t have to offer loan repayment because they are either in a desirable location or they are the primary employer in the area, so their job openings aren’t as difficult to fill.
Medical education debt load can thus be seen as a contributing factor to the demise of the small, independent medical practice. It’s apparent that the cost of medical education deters students and exacerbates the growing physician shortage.
Part of the current debate in the medical community revolves around the size of the role the government should play in subsidizing medical education. This debate will surely continue as the industry and government formulate solutions to offset the high cost of medical care.
Should America continue to let the private sector address the high cost of medical education in this way or follow the lead of other countries that make medical education affordable or free? In essence, who should pay for medical training?