There is a temptation to believe that workplace culture does not matter in the locum tenens marketplace. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, workplace culture is as important to locum staffing as it is to permanent placement. You could make the case that it is even more important.
The key to remember is that locum staff who come on board are temporary contractors. While this may seem like an advantage to the employer, it is not. Experienced locums who manage to build a reputation for themselves quickly find they do not need to work for employers with whom they have had bad experiences. They don’t have to accept assignments at facilities with workplace cultures that do not fit who they are.
Whether you represent a recruiter or employer, here are three reasons workplace culture matters to locum tenens staffing:
1. Workplace Culture Affects Turnover Rates
Employers are fully aware that workplace culture affects turnover rates among their permanent staff. The same is true for temporary staff. A locum doctor may be under contract to work at a particular hospital for example, but he’s also a smart locum if he’s written certain terms for termination into his contract. That doctor will not be afraid to exercise the terms if necessary.
Also note that a good locum physician is asked back by the same facilities time and again. Facilities with negative workplace cultures will find it more difficult to get doctors to come back. Employers with a constant influx of new locums are those that may have workplace cultures in need of improvement.
2. Workplace Culture Affects Retention
Healthcare facilities routinely make use of locum tenens staffing as a way to find those doctors who will end up being brought on as full-time employees. In order for them to successfully do so however, they have to present their locums with a positive contract experience. Workplace culture is a big part of that.
If workplace culture is a good fit for a particular locum, that doctor will be more amenable to an invitation of full-time employment. The opposite is also true. And in cases where a workplace environment is considered toxic, you can forget about converting those contract workers into full-time employees.
3. Workplace Culture Affects Quality of Care
Lastly but most importantly, workplace culture absolutely affects the quality of care doctors provide. It is no different in medicine than any other industry. A locum physician who loathes going to work every day will do just enough to get by so that he or she can punch the clock and go home. He/she is not likely to go above and beyond.
On the other hand, that locum physician who truly enjoys his/her current assignment and the workplace culture he/she is part of will be more willing to go the extra mile. That translates into a higher quality of care for patients. A higher quality of care improves both patient satisfaction and eventual outcomes.
Make Sure It Fits
The reality is that workplace culture is important to locum tenens staffing. As such, it is incumbent upon both recruiters and employers to make sure those locums they bring on are a good fit for the facility’s workplace culture. A facility can have an excellent workplace culture and still not be a good fit for a given doctor, so that must be considered as well.
In cases in which an employer’s workplace culture is so negative as to be a poor fit for every potential recruit, systemic changes are necessary. Otherwise, that facility will be facing constant turnover, poor retention rates, and compromised quality of care.