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How to find your dream team: staff attraction and retention

allied health dental general gp Aug 26, 2021
Session 5

If you’re like most practice owners, you’ll know that attracting and retaining good staff can be one big headache. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, by following the KISS principle (keeping it simple), you’ll be on your way to forming a dream team for your new start-up healthcare practice.

Sally Stuart, healthcare Business Broker at LINK, says the number 1 and most limiting factor practice owners have is finding good quality people to work for them.

“Without good clinicians and admin staff, you can’t scale your practice, so it’s really important for practices to know their vision and create a related culture that a great practice manager can deliver like a waterfall, flowing right through to doctors, staff, and patients alike,” says Sally.

Why is vision and culture important for recruitment?

Through your feasibility study you will have defined your unique vision and values; these are why patients will be drawn to you. You’ve used them in your marketing strategy and now it’s time to put them into action.

Ami Assigal, Director at Practice Partners, says you need to know how you want your practice to look to recruit the right clinicians and staff.

“What skillsets do you want your doctors to have? What do you want your practice environment to look like? Your vision and values affect everything,” says Ami.

“When looking for new clinicians, make sure they align with your vision and values. Then they’ll bring along their own, value-adding to your practice,” she says.

6 common healthcare start-up mistakes:

  1. Having no clear vision or values. Misalignment of these amongst clinicians and staff causes confusion
  2. Non-communication of values. Use them often: in your marketing, in your practice, and in your official documents
  3. Not recruiting people who match your values, resulting in ineffective teamwork
  4. Not recognising the value and potential profit of a comfortable ‘together’ space for staff. Giving no space to the team sends them a message that they don’t matter
  5. Siloed and self-interested clinicians. Taking time to teach other team members is an investment in your practice’s future
  6. Offering a dingy, unattractive work environment.

Healthcare workplace designs which attract and retain staff – at no extra cost

You want a highly functioning and collaborating team, right? With great patient and practice outcomes?

Jerry Kennard, CEO at Evoke Projects, says just as plants won’t survive in an unhealthy environment, neither will your staff; before long, they’ll leave.

“Healthcare spaces have traditionally been cold and clinical; and with wellbeing a big focus today, health has been the last industry to get up to speed with promoting team health and wellbeing,” says Jerry.

“For this, teams need spaces conducive to thriving, so use biophilic design for your healthcare fit-out. And it doesn’t need to be expensive. If you design through this lens, then it can be at no extra cost. For example, using the “Light” section on our Well Practice Checklist, you can take steps to maximise access to natural light, with glare control, and promote outdoor breaks. It doesn’t take much to put a bit of thought into plants, flow and finishes to enhance the wellbeing within your space. Look after your people, keep them happy and they’ll stay,” he says.

Marketing for team attraction and retention

Good marketing is an all-encompassing element of your practice, and values are your DNA. Does your website and social media reflect your practice values?  Are they professional, up-to-date, and engaging? Will it attract or deter prospective staff?

Michelle Taylor, Founder & Director at Marketing Practices, says when practice owners step out from the crowd into the light and help people, that is where the magic happens.

“Instead of sitting behind closed doors expecting patients to come to them, clever practices will be using relationship marketing via all avenues open to them,” says Michelle.

“Recruit doctors on identified serviceability gaps; doctors who provide services that no other doctor in town does and then market those gaps,” she says.

Recruiting for a country practice

The difficulties of recruiting for rural, regional and remote Australia are well known. Although the current exodus of city dwellers to some country areas may provide recruitment opportunities, it is wise to present your country practice opportunity as a family package to appeal more broadly to this smaller pool of candidates.

Thinking “family” promotes your position and location as a package to not only your potential candidate but also their spouse and children. Tell them about availability of schools, sports, hobbies, places of worship and work (including remote). Include local accountants, lawyers, and real estate agents. The more informed they are, the better prepared they’ll be to make the right decision.

How to recruit a GP fast

Recruitment can be a challenge and lack of staff can mean the end of a business. Doing something for the first time can be tough, so surround yourself with a team of experts to help you overcome the inevitable roadblocks.

A recruitment agency removes the struggle of recruitment, saving you time, effort, sleepless nights and ultimately money. While professional recruitment costs around $26,400, considering the cost of not using an agency is a must.

You can advertise through your own website, LinkedIn, your local PHN, Seek, and the RACGP.

Look for candidates who:

  • will work as a team player
  • will bring their own values to compliment yours
  • are willing to help you improve the business
  • have a good reputation in their field and are willing to build their profile with marketing.

First impressions do count

Candidates will be attracted by your advertisement and website. When they visit for the first time, there will be an almost instantaneous first impression, starting outside with the ‘kerb appeal’. The feeling they get when walking into your practice will be the deciding factor.

What’s more, when you show them your plans and strategy, they’ll be impressed by seeing a business with structure in place. Show them your data and marketing strategy. Talk about your plans and how you’ll support them. And soon you’ll be signing up your newest team member.

So, set up your new practice, with an eye to a future sale, with:

  • fully utilised rooms
  • a stable workforce
  • a knowledgeable and efficient Practice Manager, support staff, and up-to-date IT systems
  • strong referral relationships with local allied health and specialists
  • doctor succession – use doctor training and student placement opportunities
  • professional branding and practice marketing
  • a modern, professional clinic with patient car parking.

Make your new dream team feel welcomed, promote your values and collaborative culture. Look after your people, keep them happy and they will stay.

For more information or advice, please contact the presenters below.

Sally Stuart

Business Sales Specialist

Health Business Sales supporting LINK business

0437 082 045

[email protected]

For more information visit: 

Jerry Kennard 


Evoke Projects

0438 005 236

[email protected]

Michelle Tayler

Founder and Director

Marketing Practices

0425 448 888

[email protected]

For a complimentary marketing discussion CLICK HERE

Download the Patient Journey Map which contains all the common touchpoints to analyse the patient journey for your specific practice.

Ami Assigal


Practice Partners

0401 825 105

[email protected]