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How To Convince Staff to Take Up Work in Rural Areas

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The relative shortage of healthcare staff in rural areas has always been a huge concern in the United States. While around 20% of the population stays in rural communities, only 9% of physicians practice in remote areas.

Rural residents who often live-in farmhouses, ranches, and reservations travel long hours to reach a healthcare provider. This means having to take long hours off work for an appointment. The problem is even more severe when it comes to accessing rural emergency medical services.

Several organizations have invested in career fairs and developed partnerships with medical schools to meet this shortage of healthcare professionals. And yet, there’s a huge deficit of health workers in rural areas.

How Do We Come into The Picture as Specialist Recruiters?

Rural markets don’t have a vast pool of candidates to choose from. It’s our job as specialist recruiters to ‘sell’ rural employment as a favorable opportunity. As your recruitment partner, we can highlight the benefits of working in rural areas and tell prospective candidates why a rural lifestyle would be more appealing.

But as employers, you will have to develop a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to bring out the unique benefits that an employee gets for choosing your company. Some of the ideas that I can suggest include:

A. Offer Residency Programs & Training

Conventionally residency programs are run in major urban centers. But if you could make the training program a thoroughly positive experience, there’s a better chance of prospective employees continuing to practicing in the same hospital after residency.

As humans, we tend to attach good times and good memories to certain places. You can replicate this idea to retain medical staff and convince them to stay where they are trained. Why would they consider moving to a place that’s outside their comfort zone? What are you willing to offer beyond a vacancy? It’s worth giving this some consideration.

B. What’s The Payoff?

The pandemic seems to have positively influenced our relationship with nature. Post-pandemic, people are rethinking their priorities and making work-life balance a priority. You could strategize your EVP around this idea and sell the rural experience where children can be closer to nature and with a little more freedom. You can research the needs and wants of your potential employees and see your role from their perspective.

C. Offer Ongoing Professional Development

Offer mentorship programs and provide career support to make sure medical staff feel there’s a clear career structure and that they’re not being left behind. This will help you break the myth that only urban landscapes can offer better research prospects. With good internet access and proper guidance, this shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

What Are the Things You Must Consider When Starting A Recruitment Process?

Working in a rural setting can be challenging. Before starting the recruitment process, here are a few things you must consider:

A. Family

Moving to a new place is a huge deal when you have a family. For one, there are others to consider and not just the person applying for the role. Will the location offer educational opportunities, entertainment opportunities, and work opportunities for other family members? Is the local population predominantly senior?

B. Support

Are you offering job prospects as a whole package that includes a favorable lifestyle? Empathize with potential applicants and offer answers even before they ask the questions.

C. Location

Rural locations aren’t just sparsely populated but far away from large cities as well. Some of the facilities that the urban population takes for granted will not be available in rural areas. Similarly, they could be distanced from their family.

How do you plan to make it easy for people to move? How much support are you willing to offer, and what is your post-hire strategy? Are you taking the stress from the decision-making process?

If you recognize any or all of these challenges, contact us for a confidential and absolutely no obligation conversation. We’ll use our experience and expertise to find the right people to drive your organization forward.

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Author: px3med