How Improving Physician Relocation Can Alleviate Staffing Shortages

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that your hospital has a physician shortage.

That’s not surprising. Actually, it would be more surprising if you didn’t. For example, last time we checked, one single physicians’ job board was advertising nearly 22,000 positions. There’s some big-time competition among healthcare recruiters!

And the physician shortage hurts everyone. It compromises patient care. It creates longer wait times. And as remaining staff struggles to fill the breech, they’re at greater risk of burning out, too. It’s a vicious, downward spiral.

So, how do you break it? Ironically, in order to keep the doctors you have, you need to bring more on board. The question is: where do you find them?


Healthcare Recruiter Must Cast a Wider Net      

There’s numerous ways to fire up your recruiting process, but one of the easiest ways is to more actively court long-distance candidates.

We know that many physicians, particularly younger ones, are open to relocating. In fact, the AAMC reports that nearly 45% of newly-minted physicians take out-of-state positions.

We also know that physicians aren’t solely motivated by compensation. Post-pandemic, a growing number of healthcare professionals are seeking better work/life balance, a healthier workplace and, most importantly, a caring employer.

To that end, one of the best—and easiest—ways to show you’re that employer is by improving your relocation program.


Most Physician Relocation Offers Fall Short

No matter how you advertise open positions—via recruiters, direct mail, social media, etc.—make sure you’re reaching the largest possible applicant pool. It’s unlikely that your top candidates live around the corner, especially medical specialists.

In order to attract long-distant talent, highlight the advantages that your area has to offer, whether it’s a more leisurely pace of life or the excitement of the big city.

Either way, make sure you’re offering competitive relocation benefits. While nearly 80% of healthcare employers offer a relocation allowance, many lack supporting services. Offering a comprehensive relocation package is a great way to differentiate and show that you care. And with modern relocation technology, you can do so very affordably.


How to Build Wow-Worthy Relocation Benefits…on a Budget    

Most hospitals offer a relocation allowance—but that’s all it is: an allowance. Doctors are given a lump sum of money to relocate, but no help managing this complicated, stressful process.

“The relocation management industry has advanced lightyears, but the healthcare industry is stuck in the past,” says John Leech, who as Director of Talent Acquisition, reinvented the relocation program at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Modern, tech-based relocation companies lift the burden off employers and employees—yet many hospitals are still throwing money at new hires and hoping for the best.”  

Enhancing your relocation benefits now is such a smart move. It will give incoming physicians the tools and services to ease their move, while demonstrating how you look after your people. That’s a great edge to give your recruiters when the candidates you want are weighing multiple offers.

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Easy-to-Use Online Relocation Software 

Physicians are trained to use some of the most advanced technologies available—and they expect their employers to as well. But surprisingly, a good chunk of the relocation industry consists of old-school providers that still conduct business manually.

Instead, choose a modern, tech-based relocation provider that gives your new docs access to a cutting-edge, relocation portal—one that lets them plan their move online, from booking suppliers and tracking expenses in real-time to exploring their new city and workplace virtually.

Bonus: because technology is more cost-effective than pushing paper, you’ll reap big savings just by giving your people what they want anyway.

Access to Live Relocation Specialists

Physicians, of all people, appreciate the expertise that specialists bring to the table—and that’s no different when it comes to relocation.

The best relocation solutions complement their technology with the services of professional relocation specialists, which physicians can rely on as much or as little as they like, whether the issue is moving an antique car collection or weighing short-term housing options.

A Network of Prescreened Vendors 

Obviously, you want your physicians to enjoy a positive, low-stress relocation experience, so they show up rested and ready to work. One of the best ways to ensure this is to connect them with top-performing movers, realtors, mortgage brokers, etc. that earn high satisfaction ratings.

So, insist on a relocation provider that not only has developed a network of such suppliers, but requires them to maintain good reviews from clientele to preserve their in-network status.

The icing on the cake: some savvy relocation providers negotiate discounts from their vendors in return for a volume of business, so this keeps your costs down, too.

A relocation program with these three characteristics will give your recruiters an immediate hiring edge. And while alleviating your physician staffing shortage will take time and effort, enhancing your relocation benefits is a fast, foolproof way to get started. At UrbanBound, we know your world, and we’d love to help you get started.


Human Resources Today