Building a Stronger Workplace Culture: 10 Tips for Fostering Employee Advocacy

Building a Stronger Workplace Culture: 10 Tips for Fostering Employee Advocacy

In today’s competitive job market, where we are still seeing an unemployment rate lower than 4%, attracting and retaining top talent is becoming a top concern for organizations looking to thrive and grow.

The research is in, and employee advocacy is more important than ever. Both Millennials and Gen Z have a significant distrust of advertising, but they trust and appreciate reviews. As organizations strive for future hiring success, one key aspect that can set yours apart is a workplace culture that employees are so proud to be part of they naturally want to spread the word. A positive and inclusive culture not only boosts employee morale but also fosters employee advocacy. When your team is proud to be a part of your organization, they become powerful advocates, helping attract new talent and enhancing your brand. Sounds great, right? But how do you get there?

Start by taking a closer look at your culture and focus on providing the resources that will help strengthen employee advocacy. Here are 10 tips to guide you:

Tip 1 – Define Your Core Values:

Clearly articulate and communicate your organization’s core values. Make sure employees understand how these values guide decision-making and shape the company’s identity. More importantly, help your team members understand exactly how they, and the work they do, align with these values. When there’s alignment, your team is more likely to become passionate advocates for your brand.

Tip 2 – Invest in Employee Development:

Today, employees want to know there are professional development and growth opportunities. They want to know their employers see value in their professional growth and are offering continuous learning opportunities and professional development programs. When employees feel an organization is invested in their growth they are more likely to be engaged, and engaged employees 2.5x more likely to advocate for their company. While a LOT of companies provide these options for their team, this is an opportunity to put a spotlight on how your offerings differ, just as importantly, celebrate our team members’ success when they achieve their development goals.

Tip 3 – Ask Hard Questions:

We all know some of the things that help to create a positive work environment: encouraging open communication, celebrating achievements, and addressing concerns promptly. But do we understand where we stand honestly in these critical areas of importance? Sometimes getting to the truth of a situation requires asking team members the hard questions, like “Where are we falling short of your expectations?” or “Have you ever referred a friend or colleague for employment?” Asking the right questions, being honest about what was heard, and communicating how the organization is willing to change will build loyalty and a sense of being heard, leading to advocacy.

Tip 4 – Recognition and Rewards Programs:

We know the importance and value associated with employees who feel valued at work. Employees who are recognized for their achievements are significantly more engaged and are motivated to do their best. As we take the time to congratulate and thank our teams and to acknowledge their contributions, they will take the time to advocate on behalf of the team that sees their value. The amazing thing? It doesn’t always have to be a financial reward or a big announcement. For example, here at Aloysius Butler & Clark, one of our most popular Zoom channels is the “Kudos” chat. It’s where we celebrate and recognize one another, letting our fellow team members know their contributions are seen and appreciated. A culture of appreciation is a culture that team members are willing to advocate for.

Tip 5 – Encourage Employee Feedback:

Providing opportunities for employees to provide suggestions and insights is an important factor in them feeling heard. Establish channels for regular feedback from employees. Gen Z and Millennials have grown up receiving real-time feedback on their activities, such as video games that provide immediate rewards for specific activities or sharing information on their social platforms and receiving comments or likes. Actively listen to their suggestions and concerns and demonstrate a commitment to improvement. When employees see their input making a difference, they become more invested in the success of the organization.

Tip 6 – Promote Work-Life Balance:

If we want team members to value the organization, then the organization needs to value the things that are important to them. It is becoming clear that a top priority for employees is work-life balance. It’s critically important that we support work-life balance initiatives to ensure employees can maintain a healthy equilibrium between professional and personal life. It’s not enough to just approve vacation requests. We need to monitor our teams and address issues of people pushing too hard and potentially burning out. We need to encourage turning off email and telling team members you won’t be available when you are on vacation or after hours. This demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being, fostering a positive culture.

Tip 7 – Provide Opportunities for Social Interaction:

Foster social interactions within the organization through team-building activities, events, and community service projects. Positive relationships among employees contribute to a strong sense of camaraderie and community. Did your team gather and work on a community benefit project? Great! Thank team members for being involved and share the photos and/or videos! Encourage them to share their thoughts on why the event was so important to them through their own social channels. If we want team members to advocate on our behalf and to share our great work culture, be sure to provide them with the support to do it.

Tip 8 – Flexible Work Options:

Offer flexible work arrangements when possible. This could include remote work options or flexible hours. Sometimes it’s as easy as allowing a team member to start their day an hour earlier so they can leave to watch their child’s recital or sporting event. It may be allowing a team member to use sick time to take a parent or loved one to a doctor’s appointment. Providing flexibility shows trust in your employees and demonstrates you value their contributions enough to work around the things in their life that are important to them. When employees feel valued, they in turn see value in the organization.

Tip 9 – Transparent Communication:

Honesty and transparency matter. No one likes to feel like information is being withheld or that they can’t trust the leadership of an organization. Maintaining transparency about company goals, challenges, and successes is critical. When employees are informed and feel connected to the company’s vision, they are more likely to push to help resolve challenges and to understand when difficult decisions are having to be made. According to Bill Higgs, “All problems are communication problems.” While sometimes news is harder to provide and may require more perspective on what it means, having a culture where employees can trust what is being communicated is a big win.

Tip 10 – Support Employee Well-being:

Prioritize employee well-being by offering wellness programs, mental health resources, and other initiatives that promote a healthy work-life balance. We’ve all been through a lot over the past several years—COVID-19, heightened political tensions, terror threats, rising tensions associated with social injustice, etc. It’s never been more important for team members to feel supported through these and future challenges.

I get it, that’s a LOT to focus on and all these elements are critically important to building a culture that employees would want to advocate on behalf of. But the most important thing is the first step. What are the quick wins that you and your team can influence and get started on right away? Take the first step … and communicate it. Hold yourself accountable to your team and start down the path. Employee advocacy is a powerful tool in attracting and retaining top talent, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of the business. It’s worth the investment.

Employee Advocacy Could Be Your Top Recruitment Marketing Strategy in 2024. Here’s Why.

Employee Advocacy Could Be Your Top Recruitment Marketing Strategy in 2024. Here’s Why.

Millennials and Gen Z are at the forefront of a remarkable shift in consumer behavior. The traditional landscape of recruitment marketing now faces an unprecedented challenge from these generations, who exhibit a marked reluctance to blindly trust a job posting. 

These cohorts, born into a world saturated with marketing messages, have developed a keen eye for discerning authenticity from manipulation. They are embracing a new paradigm—one driven not by flashy ads but by the collective voice of reviews and user-generated content. 

Studies indicate that nearly 70% of Millennials and an even more staggering 85% of Gen Z distrust traditional advertising. They’re wary of glossy campaigns that seem more focused on selling than informing. 

This disillusionment stems from a desire for authenticity and transparency, qualities often found in peer-reviewed content rather than scripted promotions. It’s a generation that craves real experiences and values the opinions of their peers, seeking guidance from those who have tested and experienced an organization’s employment culture firsthand. 

What does all this mean? Your most powerful talent attraction messages just might come from your own employees … not your marketing department. 

Understanding Brand Ambassadors vs. Natural Advocates 

Brand ambassadors are typically organization-designated individuals whose role involves promoting and defending their company. They’re guided, prompted, and usually trained by marketing to “speak the language” of the organization. In the past, this was sufficient and was received positively. But, today, as Millennials and Gen Z become more aware, these “organizational mouthpieces” are quickly losing their influence and becoming less relevant.  

However, natural employment advocates are organic supporters who genuinely believe in their organization and willingly advocate on its behalf—without training, without prompting, and using their own voice. They come to their organization’s defense when they read a comment that is false or misrepresents what they know to be true. Employment brand advocates see the mission and vision of the organization as something that personally aligns with their values. And, to this end, when the company is criticized or spoken about unfairly, they stand up for their truth.  

Understanding this distinction is pivotal in recognizing the value of a naturally positive work culture. 

It’s getting harder to recruit, and advertising can’t be your only answer.  

With unemployment rates reaching 50+-year lows, the battle for talent is a top priority for leaders across all industries. According to DDIworld.com, “Rising to the top of the list of CEO concerns, retaining talent was the #1 concern identified by 59% of CEOs this year.”  

It’s never been more critical to identify and leverage every possible benefit when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. It’s time to focus on building an employment culture that encourages and empowers employee advocacy. 

What are the outcomes?

  • Retention Rates and Employee Satisfaction
    Research consistently demonstrates that organizations with a positive culture enjoy higher retention rates and increased employee satisfaction. A welcoming environment fosters loyalty and dedication, reducing turnover and associated recruitment costs.
  • Enhanced Productivity and Innovation
    A culture that nurtures positivity encourages creativity, collaboration, and innovation among employees. They feel more engaged, leading to higher productivity and a dynamic work atmosphere that fuels growth.
  • Cost Savings in Recruitment and Training
    Reducing turnover through a positive culture not only provides savings on recruitment expenses, but also minimizes the need for extensive training for new hires. This translates into substantial cost savings for the organization.
  • Impact on Revenue and Business Growth
    Studies indicate that companies with happy employees tend to outperform competitors. A positive culture correlates with increased customer satisfaction, thus boosting revenue and fostering sustainable growth. Need an example? In 2023, FastCompany.com reported, “A study by Alex Edmans found that companies with high levels of employee satisfaction tend to outperform their competitors in the long run. In fact, a portfolio of companies ranked in the top 10% by employee satisfaction outperformed those ranked in the bottom 10% by 2.3% to 3.8% per year in stock returns.” Simplified, happy employees equate to better financials.  
  • Creating a Culture that Fosters Natural Advocacy
    Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping an organization’s culture. Encouraging open communication, recognizing achievements, and prioritizing work-life balance are strategies that cultivate a culture where employees willingly advocate for their workplace. Additionally, it’s important for organizations to ask questions and to listen actively to their team members. In today’s work environment, it’s more important than ever to understand the values and purpose with which your team aligns. Explore opportunities for them to give back to the communities where they work. Provide options for them to contribute in meaningful ways. For example, taking part in pride celebrations, coaching a youth sports program, participating in volunteer days to celebrate Martin Luther King Day, etc. All of this adds up to a culture where employees feel valued, heard, and, most importantly, appreciated. 

How do you build an employee advocacy program from scratch? 

Strengthening an employment culture and building natural advocates doesn’t happen overnight. It takes planning, a willingness to listen and change, and time. But there has never been a better time to start developing this essential tool for recruitment and retention success. Are you ready to take the leap? In my next blog, I will share my top 10 tips for getting an advocacy program off the ground. 

We’re here to help guide you into a better recruitment future. Let’s talk.  

5 Tips for Navigating Healthcare Recruitment in 2024: Top Trends and Strategies

5 Tips for Navigating Healthcare Recruitment in 2024: Top Trends and Strategies

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, the recruitment of talent stands as a pivotal challenge for hospitals and health systems. Understanding and aligning with Millennial and Generation Z preferences and priorities and the evolving trends within these demographics becomes critical for healthcare providers’ financial and recruitment/retention success.

1. Embracing Technology and Telehealth

Millennials and Gen Z have grown up in a digital era. They are accustomed to seamless technology integration in all aspects of life, including healthcare. Remember, these generations hate the expression “We’ve always done it that way.” Change, especially increased efficiency, through technology is sought after, not feared. Telehealth and digital health solutions have surged in popularity, not only as a response to global events but also due to their convenience and accessibility. Indeed reported a 392% increase in remote nursing jobs in 2023. Five years ago, this would have been considered impossible. Hospitals and health systems need to highlight their technological advancements, promoting the integration of telehealth services and innovative technologies within their facilities to attract tech-savvy talent, but also to show their willingness to innovate and look to the future.

2. Focus on Work-Life Balance and Flexibility

Both Millennials and Gen Z prioritize work-life balance and flexibility more than any previous generation. In November of 2023, I had the privilege of attending the Northeast Physician Recruiter Association’s annual conference. One conference highlight was Matt Clancy of the NEJM/NEJM CareerCenter’s presentation on “Understanding Millennial Physician Job Seekers.” The research results came with a big reveal. In all the years the NEJM/NEJM CareerCenter has produced this research, the number one incentive for physicians was, you guessed it, compensation. Today, physicians are telling us, “Balance is the new compensation.” Flexible work hours, remote work options, initiatives allowing employees to work at the top of their license, and a focus on employee wellness are critical for attracting and retaining Millennial and Gen Z healthcare professionals. Make no mistake, it’s still critical for organizations to be competitive financially, but health systems that promote their robust wellness programs gain a competitive edge in recruitment efforts.

3. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)

Millennials and Gen Z are considered “social justice” generations. They are known for, and passionate about, their commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Transparent and proactive efforts to create a diverse and inclusive environment resonate strongly with these generations. You may be thinking, “We put our EOE statement on all our jobs, we post our jobs to the minority-focused websites, we make sure we show photos of diverse groups of employees working for us,” but that’s just a start. A true and genuine commitment to DEIB is evident in everything you share with candidates and patients. It’s included in every job posting, not as a footer but weaved throughout the description and responsibilities/requirements. It’s included in your website content and even more importantly is truthful and resonates throughout the hiring and employment experience. This isn’t something that can be faked. It’s something that needs to be lived, from a candidate first learning about your organization through the hiring process and through the entire employment experience. Don’t say it, live it.

4. Career Development and Continuous Learning

The desire for continuous learning and career advancement opportunities is high among Millennials and Gen Z. While their battles with older generations’ priorities and workstyle have been discussed and debated for years, health systems that push for more experienced generations to invest in their more youthful counterparts’ professional development are more likely to attract and retain this talent. Both Millennials and Gen Z seek mentorship programs and educational assistance. They WANT to be great at what they are doing, and they are seeking someone who is willing to come alongside them and to guide them. Emphasizing internal mobility and offering opportunities for skill development are crucial.

5. Purpose-Driven Work

Purpose. We all seek it, but these generations have an innate drive to make their work about more than financial compensation. In addition to a competitive compensation package, Millennials and Gen Z are drawn to organizations that align with their values and contribute positively to society. They want to be excited about what they are doing and the difference they are making. They want positive stories to share with their family and friends. They want to wake up in the morning and know the long hours and frustrations they are about to face are making a positive change in their community. Hospitals and health systems emphasizing their mission, community engagement, and social impact resonate deeply with Millennial and Gen Z professionals.

As we move into 2024, you should be focusing your efforts on:

  • Enhanced Digital Presence: Utilize social media, employer branding, and digital recruitment platforms to reach and engage talent.
  • Personalized Recruitment Approach: Tailor messaging and recruitment strategies to align with the values and preferences of Millennials and Gen Z.
  • Highlight Technological Advancements: Emphasize the integration of cutting-edge technology and telehealth solutions. Don’t be afraid to show how you are innovating.
  • Promote Work-Life Balance: Showcase flexible work options, wellness initiatives, and a supportive work environment.
  • Embrace DEIB Initiatives: Highlight a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across all facets of the organization.
  • Invest in Career Development: Emphasize opportunities for growth, mentorship, training, and continuous learning.
  • Emphasize Purpose: Showcase the organization’s mission, community involvement, and societal impact. Share stories that candidates will want to share with their friends and family.

2024’s healthcare landscape is unlike anything we’ve experienced in the past. It necessitates a deep understanding of the preferences and values of Millennials and Gen Z. Health systems that can adapt and flex their recruitment strategies to align with these trends and priorities will be better positioned to attract, engage, and retain the talented workforce needed to drive the future of healthcare.

Are you unsure where to start? We are passionate about helping our client partners recruit and retain great talent. It all starts with a conversation. Let’s talk.

The Financial Toll of Physician Vacancies in Healthcare

A person writing.

Physician vacancies pose a significant financial threat to healthcare organizations, affecting both short-term revenue and long-term sustainability. As healthcare institutions grapple with the challenges of physician shortages, the financial implications of these vacancies become increasingly pronounced and will determine who leads the industry into the future and who falls to the side along the way. 

At the forefront of the issue is the immediate impact on revenue generation. Unfilled physician positions translate to missed patient consultations, diagnostic procedures, and treatments, directly affecting billable services. The revenue potential associated with these unrealized services can quickly accumulate, creating a considerable dent in the financial performance. For example, did you know the national average revenue generated by a physician is $2.4 million per year? It’s easy to understand how vacancies can quickly add up to financial crisis.

MissingPhysician.com emerges as a valuable resource for healthcare recruiters and administrators seeking to quantify the financial risk posed by physician vacancies. This platform provides insights into at-risk revenue, allowing organizations to calculate the potential income lost due to unfilled positions. By leveraging such tools, healthcare leaders can make informed decisions about resource allocation and recruitment strategies — all with a focus on decreasing the time it takes to fill these needed roles.

Beyond the immediate financial setback, physician vacancies contribute to increased operational costs. When roles go unfilled, existing staff members bear the burden of additional responsibilities, leading to burnout and decreased productivity. Overtime pay, temporary staffing solutions, and recruitment expenses further escalate the financial toll associated with physician shortages.

Moreover, the reputation of the healthcare provider is at stake because extended physician vacancies can hinder patient trust and satisfaction. Negative patient experiences resulting from longer wait times and reduced access to care can lead to patient migration to competitors, affecting the overall patient volume and consequently the organization’s revenue stream. 

As healthcare providers are struggling with all the challenges associated with providing services in today’s challenging environment, their top priority should be attracting the individuals their patients are paying to see: their doctors. As the shortage worsens, it’s critical that organizations take a proactive stance in addressing these challenges to mitigate the immediate and long-term financial risks. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, addressing physician shortages becomes not only a clinical imperative but a crucial financial strategy for the sustainability of healthcare institutions.

Need to Innovate? Diversify.

It’s one thing to claim a diverse workforce or patient population. It’s another thing to nurture a genuine culture of inclusion — one in which everyone feels welcomed and valued, one in which everyone can contribute to his or her fullest potential to achieve organizational objectives. This is where the rubber meets the road. Organizations that understand and address the unique perspectives held by their entire patient and employee population can gain significant ground.

Read full post...

Help! Millennials are Taking Over the Workforce

That’s it. The world is ending. These millennials are going to ruin what is great about our businesses. You know, they’re lazy. They don’t communicate well. They’re completely self-absorbed. They’re… they’re… going to do amazing things if we allow them to!

I’ve been helping national leaders recruit talent for more than 15 years, and I’ve never seen a time when the generational gap has been more obvious. Today, most leaders and managers within an organization are baby boomers or Gen Xers. The boomers are all about value and mission. They are brilliant communicators and message crafters, and are driven nuts by millennials who appear to not subscribe to their value system. Generation X is similar; they look for contributors and seek feedback. They look for autonomy and expect others to do the same. Millennials? Well, not so much.

Read full post...

4 Marketing Topics Physician Recruiters Should Pay Attention To

15 tips 2As a staff recruiter, you have to target physicians precisely, and then differentiate yourself from your competition — and do it all on time and on budget. That budget may be tight. You may be a team of one. And the physician shortage sure doesn’t help. But you press on.

Because your bottom line relies on the income physicians bring into your organization.

In AB&C’s 10 + years of helping physician recruiters, we’ve seen the challenges you face. And we’ve helped healthcare organizations find and bring in the physicians they need to keep the bottom line in the black.

But even if you can’t hire an agency just yet, we can still help with your recruitment strategy. Here are four areas you should focus on:Read full post...

Heightening your brand versus hiring locum tenens

BayState Health physician portal website

It’s smarter and less expensive to invest in your own employment brand identity, rather than depend on outsiders to fill your pipeline.

The best physicians deliver better care. But what’s the best way to find those physicians?

Investing in locum tenens to fill vacancies can certainly deliver the physicians your patients need, and there will always be a need for them. But at what cost? The physicians’ longevity and loyalty are uncertain, and they’re only a short-term solution.Read full post...

Read more in

And we wonder why there is a physician shortage?

23 percent plan to leave medicine or are at least considering doing so.

23 percent plan to leave medicine or are at least considering doing so.

In August, I’m headed to sunny Tucson, AZ, for the annual Association of Physician Recruiters (ASPR) Conference. Along with my friend and colleague Emerson Moses of One Medical Group, I’ll present on how technology is changing recruitment. Thanks to our partnership with MDLinx.com, we’ll have great data from our 2013 market research survey on physicians and how they seek employment.

We’ll take an in-depth look at our research study details during our August 13 presentation, but here are some other fascinating statistics to hold you over until then (cardiologist turnover rates are really high!).

Read full post...

Read more in

Generational differences? More like generational frustration!

This is a generation that didn’t learn to use computers in college or in late high school, they learned from their parents as soon as they could pick up a mouse.

This is a generation that didn’t learn to use computers in college or in late high school, they learned from their parents as soon as they could pick up a mouse.

Shari Short, president of Short Answer Consulting, and I were privileged to present at the recent 2013 National Association of Physician Recruiters Annual Conference. We spoke about communicating with different generations and what it means to physician and advanced practitioner recruiters.

Our observations on the differences between communicating with the silent generation (66+), Baby Boomers (49–66), Gen Xers (28–48) and Millennials (7–27) elicited a unanimous response: “We’re all doomed!” But not so! Do Millennials have a different perspective on the value of work/life balance than their older counterparts? Absolutely. Do they frustrate us with their dogged addiction to mobile and digital technology? Sure. Do they strive to do something great in their lives? Absolutely. Maybe they don’t value 12- to 14-hour workdays like their older counterparts. But they do understand that the technology they embrace may help them to accomplish more, faster. What’s wrong with that?Read full post...

What do football teams and hospitals have in common? More than you think.

Think about your physician leaders as your hospital’s quarterback.

Like most American men, I’m a huge football fan. Specifically, my allegiance is to the Philadelphia Eagles (you can now officially feel sorry for me). This year has been rough, as we’ve seen draft picks underperform, free agents take large contracts and contribute very little and, after all was said and done, our coach get fired and shown the door. This got me thinking: Hospitals and health systems are not that different than a professional football team. Let me explain how.Read full post...

Read more in