In a 2021 survey from the American College of Healthcare Executives, CEOs for the first time ranked staffing challenges as their top strategic priority. And for good reason. From PPE shortages, to acute burnout, and now shortages in many roles, our workforce has endured a lot under Covid-19.
But this problem goes beyond the pandemic for doctors. For the past 10 years, about half of physicians consistently have considered a career change, such as retiring early, switching employers, or leaving medicine. There is long-standing, deep-rooted discontent in our physician workforce.
While the pandemic didn’t create this challenge, it did draw attention to it and force executives to double down on retention. Employers have relied on traditional tactics to date, like increasing compensation, offering extra benefits, and creating wellness programs. Many organizations focused on these areas for good reason. These approaches are tangible, quicker to implement, and can be marketed in a job description. And, like employees in any industry, doctors care about them, too.
But these tactics are now table stakes. Employers will certainly lose physicians without competitive compensation and benefits, but they won’t retain doctors with these tactics alone. In 2021, 69% of physicians reported feeling actively disengaged from their employers, even as salaries rose by 3.8% on average.
We have 10 years of data (below) proving that we need a new approach.