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2023 Recruiting for Retention Academy Summary

2023 Recruiting for Retention Academy Summary

What Makes Your Organization Unique? Using Candidate Motivations to Strategically Recruit

We wrapped up 2023 with our 6-part Recruiting for Retention Academy webinar series which highlighted the 3RNET’s Factors Guides, adapted from the Community Apgar Project developed by Dr. Dave Schmitz from the University of North Dakota SMHS and Dr. Ed Baker from Boise State University. These strategic tools are designed to help rural health clinics, health centers, and hospitals identify and communicate their unique strengths and help them overcome and invest in some of the challenges rural communities face.

While the previous 2022 Academy focused on the recruiting process from the first tier of the Recruiting for Retention Hierarchy modeled after Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, this year’s series concentrated on the next two tiers, candidate motivations and strategic marketing. Session 2, 3, and 4 explored the five groups of factors from the Factor Guides (Geographic, Economic, Scope of Opportunity, Team Support, Facility and Community Support). To better understand what motivates health professional candidates and how we can market to them, we invited several guest speakers to share their insights on motivational factors that influence their decisions to pursue a field in healthcare and live and work in rural settings.


Comparing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and 3RNET's Recruiting for Retention Hierarchy:


Session 1: Overview of the Recruiting for Retention Hierarchy

Along with an overview of each tier, we shared a number of tools and resources to complement each tier of the Recruiting for Retention Hierarchy:

  • Recruiting Process – Resource: Recruiting for Retention Guide Part One: Team Action Plan
  • Candidate Motivations – Resource: Employer’s Guide to Workforce Programs
  • Strategic Marketing – Examples to convey culture and Resource: Recruiting for Retention Guide Part Two - Free & Low-Cost Marketing Resources
  • Regeneration – Regeneration and retention strategies, rural sourcing tactics and best practice models
  • Culture – Identifying today’s job seeker priorities, culture is the top priority

Session 2: Geography’s Impact when Recruiting in Rural and Underserved Areas

During Session 2 we interviewed Dr. Ann Ruffo who was recently recruited to Coal Country Community Health Center in Beulah, North Dakota. Dr. Ruffo shared her motivations and important factors that contributed to her decision to relocate and join a rural practice.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Being knowledgeable about your geographic advantages and challenges is crucial when working with health professionals.
  • Recreational opportunities (hunting, fishing, etc…) are important, but there are other geographic factors that can help you be competitive.
  • Family/Spousal satisfaction, schooling, perception of community and access to services often play an important role in successful recruitment.
  • Health professionals have different needs and circumstances that need to be considered individually.
  • Identify and communicate your geographic factor strengths, invest in your challenges.

Session 3: Flexibility when Balancing Financial, Lifestyle, and cope of Practice Needs

Session 3 we enjoyed a passionate and inspiring interview with Olivia Dhaliwal, a fourth-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio who is eager to begin rural residency training out west in July 2024. Olivia graciously shared her experiences and interests and what has influenced her to pursue rural family medicine.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Compensation is a vital aspect of successful recruitment and retention.
  • However, it is not the only important factor. Quality of life, the ability to serve a mission, and scope of work are often as or more important to staff in rural/underserved areas.
  • Offering a full scope of practice, especially in primary care, is attractive to many providers in rural/underserved areas.
  • As workforce trends across all industries evolve, we must keep in mind external factors such as inflation, remote work, and political divisiveness.
  • Identify and communicate your economic and scope of practice factor strengths, invest in your challenges.

Session 4: Empowering Employees with a Team-Based Approach and Community Support

Haley Bruhn, BSN, RN and Public Health Nursing and Nutrition Manager at the Grand Forks Public Health Department, shared her insights with us during Session 4 from her experiences in both a hospital setting and a public health setting. We discussed motivators for recruiting and retaining nurses that she has seen in her leadership position.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Every organization has its own set of unique advantages and challenges.
    • Identify and communicate your team, facility, and community support factor strengths, invest in your challenges.
  • Successful recruitment and retention is possible in any community
    • Consider all benefits your organization offers, and work to identify candidates those benefits appeal to.
    • How do you know this? Talk to your current employers.
  • The work you do is extremely vital and appreciated.
    • Use the culture of your organization (summary of unique selling points) as your most powerful recruitment tool.

Session 5: Free and Low-Cost Resources to Market Your Unique Selling Points Across Workforce Generations

Session 5 highlighted marketing tips and helpful tools to help rural organizations craft compelling job postings, career pages and other marketing materials to attract job seekers from all generations.  We provided best practice examples, had some fun experimenting with online AI content creators, and shared how to perform a virtual assessment of an organization’s online presence from a candidate’s perspective.

Key Take-Aways:

  • Understand what candidates are looking for and identify your value proposition.
  • Create compelling messages that are candidate-focused.
  • Promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
  • Use your website and social media as recruitment tools and brand platforms.
  • Use stories to describe the mission and culture in your messaging across all marketing channels.
  • Utilize tools & resources to make marketing easier.

Session 6: Bringing it all Together with Insights from Dr. Dave Schmitz, Family Medicine Physician, Residency Director, and Co-Creator of the Apgar Factors

Dr. Schmitz shared his background in rural family medicine with us and how the Community Apgar project came to be. He also provided insights from his experience as residency director on the following key topics:

  • What candidates are looking for.
  • How residents/students are prepared for the workforce.
  • Advice on how to interact with training programs.
  • Trends on the timing of resident’s job search and the timing of accepting offers.
  • Handling scheduling flexibility with transparency and fairness.

2023 Academy Session Audience Poll Results and Responses

What type of organization are you with?

  • 28% FQHC
  • 6% CHC
  • 23% RHC
  • 36% CAH
  • 8% CMHC or SUD treatment facility
  • 15% Other

Where are you located?

  • 68% Rural area
  • 7% Urban-underserved area
  • 25% Multiple locations representing rural and urban-underserved

Agree/Disagree - Employees in rural and underserved areas are more isolated than their urban counterparts:

  • 20% Strongly Agree
  • 60% Agree
  • 12% Neutral
  • 9% Disagree
  • 1% Strongly Disagree

What's your biggest geographic advantage?

  • 48% Recreational opportunities
  • 23% Access to a larger community
  • 16% Perception of community
  • 10% Schools
  • 2% Shopping and other services
  • Other (posted in chat) – housing, broadband access, cost of living, affordable childcare

In your experience, what’s more important for the staff you recruit – compensation or quality of life?

  • 56% Compensation
  • 40% Quality of Life
  • 4% Other (shared in chat)- work/life balance, location, flexibility, compensation to attract them and quality to keep them

How knowledgeable are you about the loan repayment options available to your employees of your organization?

  • 20% Very knowledgeable
  • 75% Somewhat knowledgeable
  • 5% Know some, but could use more info

Do you include salary/compensation information in your job postings?

  • 15% Yes, full details
  • 27% Yes, but just ranges/estimates
  • 40% No
  • 20% Depends on the position

Does your organization actively seek to engage with students/residents/trainees or local schools to encourage networking and recruitment?

  • 85% Yes

Is perception of quality important when recruiting?

  • 80% Very Important
  • 18% Somewhat Important
  • 3% Unsure
  • 2% Not Important

Our community values the care our organization provides:

  • 90% Strongly Agree/Agree
  • 10% Neutral or Disagree

It is easy for me in my organization to create new marketing materials, add job postings to our website, and use social media:

  • 12% Strongly Agree
  • 31% Agree
  • 50% Neutral or Disagree

How are you using AI content generators in your marketing?

  • 10% job descriptions
  • 10% job postings/ads
  • 5% website content
  • 6% social media content
  • 3% email campaigns
  • 80% have not used AI content generators

How are you using social media in your recruitment process?

  • 81% job postings
  • 15% employee testimonials
  • 10% recruitment videos
  • 29% new employee announcements
  • 48% employee spotlights
  • All of the above
  • None

What is your organization’s greatest workforce need?

  • 21% Primary Care Physicians
  • 5% Specialty Physicians
  • 4% NP/PAs
  • 29% Nursing
  • 20% Mental/Behavioral Health
  • 7% Front Office Staff
  • Other (shared in chat) - Housekeeping, dental, pharmacy techs, MAs

Rank your Geographic Factors as an advantage or as a challenge:

  • Access to a Larger Community
    • 34% strong advantage
    • 22% minor advantage
    • 29% minor challenge
    • 15% major challenge
  • Spousal Satisfaction
    • 50% strong/minor advantage
    • 50% minor/major challenge
  • Housing
    • 25% strong/minor advantage
    • 25% minor challenge
    • 50% major challenge
  • Schools
    • 70% strong/minor advantage
    • 30% minor challenge
    • 3% major challenge
  • Perception of Community
    • 70% strong/minor advantage
    • 30% minor/major challenge

Describe the candidates you are looking for?  (Shared in the chat)

  • Prefer locale talent, rural lifestyle or experience, ability to wear multiple hats, someone who asks questions and takes involvement in their training, compassionate, creative ability to think outside the box, ready to embrace rural lifestyle, ability to communicate and be assertive, confidence but still moldable, interest in loan repayment and team-based environment, tech-savvy, 2yrs of real world experience, flexible, team player, mission-minded, soft skills

Does your community have adequate resources for behavioral health?

  • 7% Absolutely, we are rock solid
  • 28% Mostly, we do pretty well
  • 13% Almost, currently working on it
  • 52% No, this is a struggle for our community

As a reminder, the Academy powerpoint slides, recorded webinars, and session materials are made available to registered participants on the 3RNET Academy website. The 3RNET Recruiting for Retention Guidebooks and tools are available on the dashboard for registered employers under the R4R Resource Center at www.3RNET.org.

Thank you for participating in the 2023 Academy! We hope this webinar series has provided many beneficial insights, tips, tools, and resources to support your recruitment and retention processes and marketing strategies.

Our eighth annual Recruiting for Retention Academy was the biggest yet with 715 attendees from 36 participating states! Many of these participants were sponsored by the 23 3RNET members who paid to support Academy attendance for their employers.

We look forward to seeing you again for the 2024 Academy where we will focus on the top two tiers of the Recruiting for Retention Hierarchy pyramid - Regeneration and retention strategies that cultivate the culture today’s job seekers are looking for!