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From Hired to Long-Term Employee

By: Keith Newport, SVP Corporate Administration

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It’s a scary world for anyone working in human resources. I wouldn’t blame anyone that is jolted awake in the middle of the night hoping that what we’ve experienced over the past two years was just a nightmare. The statistics speak for themselves. Last year, 47.8 million workers quit their jobs. In March of this year, 4.53 million workers quit, beating the previous record high of 4.51 million in November 2021. So what are we to do?

It’s something I’ve spent a lot of time working on over the past few years, but the work we’ve done to boost retention and recruitment efforts at LocumTenens.com didn’t start with COVID or the Great Resignation. We’ve actually been developing dynamic strategies for years now. Those efforts are coming to fruition as we’ve been able to buck recent hiring and retention trends. We’ve hired hundreds of associates over the last year and have one of the highest retention rates in the industry.

We don’t want to just hire people. We want to keep them. It’s obviously not a unique desire in corporate America, but it is something we’ve learned a lot about and have created successful strategies to enhance our workforce.

Burnout is Real and Avoidable

Over the past two years, no other industry has faced burnout like healthcare. LocumTenens.com was no exception. For a year and a half, we were almost exclusively focused on COVID-related staffing. Our teams were working 12-hour days and weekends to ensure our clients were able to meet their staffing needs, clinicians were looked after, and patients received the best care possible.

Burnout is real. But it also avoidable with a plan.

On the corporate side of the business, we look for opportunities to reward our teams and build a sense of community. No one is in this alone. We are all marching toward the same goal. This year, we instituted summer hours that gave all associates a shortened day on Friday. By giving our associates back a few hours, we are able to increase morale and make a tangible impact on the mental wellness of our teams who have done so much for us over the past year.

For clinicians, we need to remove barriers to practicing medicine. Most clinicians got into healthcare because they want to care for patients, not to deal with credentialling or reimbursements. Just look at our partnership with Axuall, which creates a seamless and easy credentialing process for locum tenens physicians. As a company, we are focused on providing a hassle-free experience so clinicians can stay focused on patients. That will lead to less burnout and better outcomes.

Invest in Culture

Culture is not built over night. It is something that is built brick by brick over years and countless interactions. It’s about doing the right thing for your teams. It’s about creating principals that guide your business and then sticking to those principals, even when it’s not easy.

At LocumTenens.com, we have invested in our culture over the years by creating a mission focused business that delivers results for our clients—and our associates. That takes the shape of DE&I initiatives, corporate wellness programs and projects focused on increasing engagement, to name a few.

It doesn’t come easy and there is no exact blueprint, but by making conscious investments in culture, organizations can grow and support their employees.

Never Stop Listening

It would be easy to rest of your laurels when everything is going well, but that is a recipe for disaster. As an employer, it is critical to always listen to your teams. People are changing. The world around us is changing. That’s why we need to be listening, so we can adapt to that change and better serve the needs of our employees.

Recently, we implemented an associate listening strategy. Previously, we had a yearly employee survey that dictated our strategy for the next 12 months. That wasn’t doing enough. By creating a continuous listening strategy, we are more nimble and service oriented. As part of this effort, we formalized a process of continuous checkpoints through various outlets, including skip level meetings, pulse surveys and advisory committees used to capture feedback. More importantly, we get the information we receive to leadership as quickly as possible, which allows us to respond to our associates in real-time. Something as simple as “We hear you, and here’s what we are doing about it” goes a long way.

The results have been staggering. It has already led to increased engagement and has become a cornerstone of our retention strategy.

We are in the same boat as most companies, working hard to recruit and retain top talent. Our efforts around culture and listening have made a tangible impact on our business and our employees. And it is getting recognized by others. LocumTenens.com was ranked as a Top 5 Workplace by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and has received numerous national awards for workplace flexibility, leadership and creating a purpose driven work environment. Awards are not the goal, but they are an indication of the success of our retention efforts, meaning more people are staying and growing—from new hires into long-term employees.

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About the author

Keith Newport

SVP Corporate Administration

Keith has over 20 years of combined experience in the healthcare staffing industry. He began his career with LocumTenens.com in 2003 as an Account Executive. He took over management of the Account Representative team in 2006 and quickly moved up the management ranks, becoming Vice President in 2010 and partner in 2011. In 2014, Keith returned to the production side of the business as Vice President of Surgery and then Vice President of Primary Care. His unique combination of experience in all aspects of the business - production, operations, management, training and development led him to become Senior Vice President of Corporate Administration in 2021. His responsibilities include overseeing strategic business initiatives, driving associate engagement and overseeing the company talent strategy, all while focusing on interdepartmental collaboration. Keith is also a founding member of the company’s Inclusion Advisory Council (IAC), and serves on the Charitable Giving Committee. Keith has also been named LocumTenens.com's Manager of the Year three times in 2009, 2013 and 2021.