81,000 PT ads were posted on Indeed in October 2021. How do you set yourself apart? During this time of “The Great Resignation” PT owners are having a hard time finding PTs as well as the other admin team members. Finding the right people to work with is hard but possible. Will Humphreys, PT of Rockstar Recruiter shares with us what it takes to create the most compelling ad and job offer to attract people who are aligned and looking to work with your clinic specifically. It’s time to explore the possibilities. Tune in so you could discover what could be the best for your organization and be a great team leader.
Listen to the podcast here:
The Great Resignation And How To Combat It With Will Humphreys, PT Of Rockstar Recruiter
I’ve got Will Humphreys back. Will, thanks for joining us again.
Thanks for having me again.
We’ve had you on plenty of times. Please listen to Will’s previous episode where he shares all kinds of great nuggets of wisdom and his personal story. We want to talk about other things and things that you can specifically do to help PT owners during the great resignation. If you’re reading this towards the end of 2021, you know that word gets thrown about because many people are leaving the workplace. It has made it hard, not only for PTs.
We’ve discussed this in the past about how to hire PTs and bring them on, but I’m hearing this from other owners about how it’s extending to having difficulty finding front desk personnel, billers and texts, for those who use texts. It’s been hard to find people in general. I wanted to bring you in because you’re working in that space quite a bit. Talk through what we can do to help owners in this situation. Where do you start with someone who says, “I’m having a hard time even finding front desk personnel?”
Recruiting is like marketing in the sense that the way we do it as PT practice owners is in a cyclical manner where things are pretty good, we don’t put attention on it and then someone resigns. The crap hits the fan. We freak out and throw ads out. The first thing I try to do is we look at it in two parts. When I’m helping clients overcome any recruiting issue, whether it’s PT, front desk or billing, we have to triage the existing situation while we’re building more of a long-term solution.
Markets like this with the great resignation exposed people’s weaknesses around recruiting in general. Someone who can recruit well and does it consistently is going to feel it but they’re not going to be impacted dramatically by it because they already have these systems that can withstand almost any change. The very first thing I do is look at the offering. There’s no job ad cool enough to make up for a crappy job offer. That’s hard for people. We don’t get training on this.
How do we develop a robust offering that then it’s a matter of getting it in front of people? I always look at triaging the situation. Why did they leave? Is there a C player on the team? Are they talking trash? I don’t want to bring new people on if the culture stinks. If everything looks good, immediately put some ads out and then we start looking at the offering being like, “What is the end in mind with this position? Is there a leadership potential?” All that stuff needs to be at least thought about before we create a job offer. That’s usually where I begin with people.
Let’s talk a little bit for people’s support here. This is someone that is leaving and you had the opportunity to say, “Give me some feedback. Why are you leaving?” They were able to provide you some constructive criticism or if they said, “Screw you. I hate everything you do. You did this and that. I don’t want to be a part of this.”If you don’t know the team, it’s best to start with a team assessment. Click To Tweet
You talked about triaging the situation. You don’t want to bring a new person into a toxic environment because you don’t want them to get poisoned. You want them to feel successful and safe in this new job that they have. How do you triage a situation like that? It’s someone maybe that hasn’t left on the best terms and is saying, “Maybe there’s something wrong with your company.”
The answer briefly is to do a team assessment. That’s something that I teach on my YouTube channel. It’s free. You can go get it. That is the way I start. If I don’t know the team, I’ll start with a team assessment. It’s a simple tool. It helps people. Verne Harnish is the one who created it. It’s a way of determining who’s an A, B, C and D player on the team.
That’s important because if the only person who left and it’s negative is an identifiably C player, then we take their resignation or departure as an opportunity to touch base with all the other team players in a way that’s not desperate. There’s a way to do this. Do a basic evaluation of the company through the employee’s eyes. The triage begins with a team assessment. From there, I coach my clients like, “This is what you would do with a B, C or A player.” When that person leaves, it determines whether or not how aggressively we’re going to go put ads out.
Do you recall the title of that YouTube episode?
The Team Assessment Tool on Healthcare Business Academy, the Will Humphreys channel, if you go to that, it’s the very first video I ever did. It has a free downloadable PDF that you can use. I will walk you through the video on how to do it. It’s cool. I’ve had a lot of positive feedback outside of physical therapy on that video as well.
You’ve done the team assessment, watched your videos and assessed the A, B, C, D players. You talked about creating a compelling offer. If you look at most of us, we will write down the job description. “Do you have a license? Can you treat patients? Can you type or do Word documents?” That’s not compelling. How does someone go about writing a compelling ad?
I did a masterclass on that. I had 60 or so business owners across the country who attended it. I talked about in-depth how to do it. I’ll hit the highlights of that here. The job offer isn’t the job ad. The job ad is the advertisement on Indeed or LinkedIn. The job offer is what comprises of what you’re offering somebody to come to join your team.
There are five main components to it. The first one is compensation and that’s anything that relates to money or time off. We combine those because those are the first things that people look at. The second component that we want to put out there is anything that’s insurance-based. When it comes to insurance, we look at health insurance, long-term or short-term disability. I even wrap up my retirement plan into that because it’s insurance against the future and it helps me keep my head straight as to how it gets looked at by the potential recruiting.
The third component is anything regarding education. That could be Con Ed, mentorship or residency programs. The fourth item would be specialized offerings. This is where it starts to get more personalized. A specialized offering is a thing that we create for our ideal hire. If it’s a physical therapist that we’re hiring in a remote area, so we want someone new grad or in that younger stage of life, then we better have some pretty robust programs around mentorship, going above the educational component. I’m talking about new PT mentorship programs.
Let’s say that you want to open locations where we need to develop some leadership training modules. It doesn’t have to be complicated but putting some organization around it is great. The fifth and last component are unique offerings. These are things that are found inherently within our companies that we don’t even realize that we should be advertising.
For example, if you treat patients one-on-one, it’s not unique but it is something that would speak to the right person if you put it out there. Sturdy McKee does this on his website for his PT company in San Francisco. One of the first ones is one-on-one treatments for 45 minutes. That’s one of the first things you see if you go to the recruiting page. If you’re in Alaska, you could promote some regional things that are unique to your company. Maybe you offer electrodiagnostic and you’re working with a company like Hands-On Diagnostics. That would be where you put that in.
Creating the offer and making that robust is the first thing. You go to the job ad. My masterclass, if you’re interested, your people could watch it in detail. I’ve had positive feedback from it. This is stuff I’ve been coaching on for years that has gotten tremendous results with people who were hitting brick walls on recruiting.
You’re starting at the offer first, then going back and developing the ad. We would think, “I need somebody, so I need to write an ad.” Whereas you’re saying, “No, let’s get the most that we can out of this position in our company, how we can make it the most exciting thing in the world.” Then work backward at least one step.
It’s beginning with the end in mind. Instead of the job offer as attractive as possible, we want to make it as attractive as possible for the right physical therapist. Honestly, this is where most PT owners don’t see it. It’s simple and obvious but they’re desperate, which is that we don’t want to hire another owner’s problem. We want to be specific in the avatar or the ideal hire.
This is the third thing I do. I create my clients avatars. We give them a name and age. This person, what do they dream about? What are they afraid of? We get into this fake person’s head. When we start thinking about them when we create the offering and then messaging, those people start answering because they hear it like, “This was written specifically for me.”We get to a place where we're just constantly in fear. We need to overcome those. Click To Tweet
The wording for that ad speaks for itself because you’re speaking to that person’s problems, concerns and what they want from their next job. As you developed this specific job offer and the exact avatar, the ad makes itself very easy to create.
If we do the work in advance and get that clarity, then when we go create the ad. Immediately, it’s going to follow my first rule of recruiting, which is to be different. There’s a time where 81,000 job ads were posted on LinkedIn for physical therapists specifically and the vast majority look identical. Ninety-nine of most people is more of a job description online. They’re not treating it like a sales page. Here’s the caveat. We don’t want to treat it like a job ad. There’s a balance between professional and casual. It’s comfortable and is a little bit more of enrollment than a sales pitch.
For people who are like, “Physical therapists wanted. We want someone who wants to be part of a great team that’s growing fast.” When they hear growing fast, they’re going to be super busy and overworked. “Must have the following requirements. Here are some basic benefits you should be aware of.” They look identical and wonder why no one answers. They’re being bombarded with those types of messages that don’t stand out. Being different by curtailing the offering and messaging for that individual is key to the success of the whole thing.
I do not know if you’ve done this before but I would think that would differentiate, even if it wasn’t PT. Have you tried this with other positions in the company?
All the time. One of our shared clients, we worked on a front desk position. We had a front desk person resign who’s a good front desk person. It was one of those companies where there was one front desk and there’s a part-time second but the main front desk person was truly amazing. When that person resigned, the person came to them before they even started looking for another job. The reason was they wanted to get to a different industry.
If you ever have somebody do that on your team, take that as a huge compliment because you’ve built a culture where, in his case, people feel safe. They want you to succeed, come to an advanced and say, “I want to get out of physical therapy. Some openings are coming up. Before I even look, I want to tell you about it.” He had some time to pivot around it.
When we coached together, we came to the realization that was not what he needed but what he was going to need in five years. We created an avatar around it. Not with as much detail as I described but you created this idea of, “Let’s advertise for that person. Let’s not pay them that future leadership salary but let’s tell them, ‘We’re looking to hire at this level but we want someone who wants this in the next three years.’”
We never divulge more than we honestly can talk about but we do want to be clear on what we want long-term because the right leader is going to go, “I’ve been looking for a chance to go in there.” This principle is universal. It’s not even universal to just recruit, doctor relationships, patients. That concept of avatar and long-term best fit gets lost on us in physical therapy.
I had that conversation with a client where she’s at that stage where they need a second front desk person. She says, “Do you think it’s about time? Can I afford that?” The thing I had to remind her is that she’s progressing and moving. As you’re going into this second phase of front desk growth, what you’re projecting here is you want to start creating what an ideal scene looks like with that second person. What are their responsibilities going to be? What could they be a couple of years down the road?
In her case, that second person needs to be completely capable if and when the first-person leaves so that there’s no hiccup in performance at the front desk. It’s going to maybe be a little bit more of a strain financially but having that second person in her situation is going to allow for more growth, improved arrival rates, maybe some more social media marketing.
Make sure over-the-counter collections are at 100%, not dropped off and unauthorized visits are zero all the time. That will then allow her to grow into that second phase and see more patients with an expanded front desk. Having that in mind makes it easier to create an ad that can stand out and get traction.
One of the biggest things that I struggle too is the mindset of growth with people. It’s not because they’re not thinking growth-minded. They don’t see growth for what it is. Growth costs time and money. In that scenario where someone’s concerned about spending the money, how are you with them so that they can open their mind and be like, “I’m going to take that chance and hire that second person.” What do you say to them? What do you help them understand for them to be willing?
The thing that clicked for me during that conversation and I had the same thing from the client was boiling it down to the data. I’m going to use some examples. The breakeven point for her clinic at her size is 100 visits with a 10% profit margin built-in. She figured that out with her CPA. Her arrival rate was is at 80%, which sucks but it should be closer to 90%. She attributed it a little bit to some of the training that has to go with the front desk but maybe that front desk is missing calls. Maybe they’re missing people as they’re walking out the door. Maybe some unauthorized visits are getting billed and denied because of that.
Adding that other person at an appropriate salary for front desk person, that breakeven point becomes 103 visits a week. To go from 100 to 103, considering an 80% arrival rate, increase your arrival rate with that added person. Immediately, you’ve covered their costs and it’s not a big deal. You can even give them some marketing responsibilities and get an even greater ROI on their presence.
It comes back down to the numbers and I did this with another client who was questioning, whether he should let a physical therapist go because he was going to let go of insurance altogether, which accounted for 25% of his business. It only accounted for 10% or 12% of his gross revenues. He said, “With that cut, I’m not going to see as many patients. Maybe I should let go of this therapist.”Learning how to recruit is the single most important function of a CEO. Click To Tweet
As we looked at the numbers, we were like, “What’s your breakeven going to be as you let go of that insurance? Are you going to go negative?” He said, “With these people being let go, there’s going to be a chance for the higher payer insurance patients to come in and be seen 3 times a week instead of 1 or 2 times a week.” You can fill that backup. As we broke it down, it was pretty simple to see that there was no reason to let her go.
He needed to get pulled out of treatment and patient care altogether. This was the opportunity. Keep that therapist on because she was aligned and wasn’t one that he wanted to get rid of. The numbers told him the story that he would be fine financially if he did so. I went long on that one but boiling it down to the numbers helped that mindset or gave them comfort, at least, that adding another person didn’t significantly change the numbers all that much such that it didn’t affect them too much financially.
I like how you do that because when you have people basing their decisions on emotion without data, they don’t know. That’s what happens to most of our PT owners. We get to a place where we’re constantly in fear. “What happens if I don’t hire?” The one clear thing is if we hire too much, that’s money being spent. It becomes clear, “I’m going to blow it if I do.” I will tell you, with my experience hands down, people make the biggest mistake when they don’t think of recruiting as a constant function in their business. Meaning, they’re always hiring. I don’t care how fully staffed they think they are.
There is careless hiring where you’re bringing people on because you’re there. That happens very rarely compared to people who are like, “I don’t know if I can afford it.” They don’t realize that without the right people or redundancies in place, they’ll never progress. They’re in a constant state of having one person leave away from being sucked back into their business or their life being flipped upside down.
One of our coaches told me, “You got to think of hiring as a never-ending function. You’re always hiring.” You tell your team that when you hire. “We’re always here because we’re growing.” Even if you’re not planning on opening locations, “We’re constantly growing in different ways. I’m always interviewing.” That tells the team I could lose my job and I am not everything to him or her. That’s important that people appreciate the temporary nature of any position because anyone can be fired, including the owner.
Sometimes the owner needs to be fired from certain positions, if not maybe running the show depending on who they are. The constant hiring creates a culture of appreciation, acceptance and accountability. When we have PTs or front desk people lined up ready to go, we can say no with a lot more firmness and kindness than we could if we’re constantly in fear about that person leaving.
That’s the beauty of that dynamic and I was sharing this with a client. She was concerned about a particular physical therapist leaving because that therapist is good. It has great results with the patients coming in and building a better culture in their clinic. You never want to be in a position where you say, “Please don’t leave.”
You might be saying that in your head. You might have to come out and say it if you’re in total fear when they do put in their resignation, but you never want to be in that position because working out of fear is not powerful. You make poor decisions when it’s fear-based. You’ll eventually turn around and either decide to start working yourself, seeing patients again or hire somebody that’s not a value fit because I’ve got patients waiting to be seen. That’s going to create even more headaches, whichever path you take.
The coaching moment of that time was to make sure you’re close to that person and develop a relationship with your employee. “If you’re having thoughts about leaving, let me know. Let’s talk about it, so it’s a win-win for both of us. I can make changes if I needed to. If you still decided to leave, that’s fine. God bless. Let’s move on.”
This entire time on the backend, while you’re creating that good relationship, you’ve got the recruiting cycle being pushed a little bit each week to have resumes, go to coffee with someone who’s a potential fit and maybe go through an interview process here and there to keep it going so that you’re never in that fear-based dynamic at all times. The fear of him being gone makes us make poor decisions. You can alleviate that by doing that small little effort of recruiting at all times.
In the masterclass, one of the things I said is I began the webinar by talking about how important is the recruiting part of our business relative to the other parts. If you compared recruiting against marketing or quality assurance, how does it stack? My answer is and still is, is it’s the single most important part of the entire business. We don’t treat it like that. We were so worried about new patients. I can always treat more patients is the attitude, which is why people are burning out.
The truth is if we made recruiting the number one focus and became a company that is the best at recruiting, you can solve for everything else like marketing and leadership. Maybe we’re not great leaders. If we know how to find and retain them, who cares if you don’t know how to lead? It’s funny because this has been eye-opening for me when I’ve been home.
One of the things that I’ve realized was my wife and I during COVID, homeschooled our kids because we were in Europe together when I sold the company and took a break. When I came back, it was the month before COVID hit. My wife is this amazing teacher but she’s also entrepreneurial. I was talking to her one day because she was teaching the kids for a full year. I’m like, “What do you want to do next semester?” She goes, “It’s hard because I have other things I want to do in addition to teaching but teaching takes all my time.” I said, “Let’s go hire someone.” Instead of putting the kids back into the school systems, which in our area aren’t the greatest, to be honest, or my wife sacrificing, we went through the same avatar process.
We created this avatar. We found a school teacher. It’s 3 days a week for 3 hours each time who has tons of experience and a little bit older because they don’t need the money but they want it. We found our version of Mary Poppins. She’s this English woman who lives in our neighborhood, who’s a master teacher but she doesn’t need to work full-time. She’s not going to put up with the school districts.
We pay her well. Our offer is pretty sweet but it’s also incredibly flexible. If someone wants full benefits, that’s not the job. Our kids were doing eighth-grade material because we have this teacher. Honestly, she’s even better than my wife. My wife went from being the teacher to principal. As a principal, she’s got the freedom to create other things.
Learning how to recruit is the single most important function of a CEO. We only talk about it when we’re desperate. People are desperate for PTs or the Great Resignation is causing front desk people to get paid more by not coming in at all versus starting to do what we would consider being a thankless job at the front desk. It’s important.Every time we fire, culture improves, every single time. Click To Tweet
Looking at typical organization charts, if you could master the hiring process and get good at recruiting good people that are aligned with you, how many headaches that would solve across the entire company? The HR headaches were minimized. If they’re good people and aligned with you, they’re going to treat your patients well and implement the programs that you implement. Statistics should improve.
Marketing is going to be much easier. Every new patient that comes in is going to get retained so much better because you’re going to teach retention programs to people who want to, that will listen and recognize that it’s not about the money but it’s in the best interest of the patients to retain them and not let them fall off. I can see what you’re saying. The efforts that you’ve put in recruiting and finding A-players that are aligned with you can do so much for your business. When you can start finding those people on regularly and you get good at it towards the end of our ownership, growth becomes easy.
I love how you described the benefits of learning how to recruit. The biggest thing is the HR piece. The headache and ickiness of having someone say, “Do you have a few minutes?” Having them dump an emotional problem on you or like, “I don’t feel accepted here.” You’re managing by expectation versus agreement. “What do they expect?” Everyone has their piece of it. For people who are reading, I would want to ask a question. This is something I asked in my world with my billing company. Our employees are in their mid-twenties. We’re getting close to that 30-employee count. I do this monthly. I go, “Would I emphatically rehire each person?”
It’s not like, “Yes but.” It’s a strong yes or a no. If it’s anything other than a strong yes, then there’s some work to do to coach people up or out of our company. It might be a lot for people to hear when they’re feeling stuck but that’s important because it’s going to prevent them from hiring out of desperation. When I coach, I want people to know that their primary customer isn’t the patient. It’s the team.
I used to get frustrated with my team because you’re getting in the way of the experience that I can do so well with my patients but when I realized finding and taking care of the right people is what made my business grow and gave me freedom, it was very selfish. I was like, “Let’s go help them have an incredible experience at our company.” That’s when growth became a lot more organic and recruiting became easier. What it’s about is the fun of it. If it’s not fun, it’s time to fire someone.
It’s fulfilling when you find those people and give them growth opportunities. You’re teaching them. They’re learning and thankful. There’s a lot of fun that happens. It becomes engaging in those fulfillments as well.
If we’re not having a good time, we have to remember that a fun company requires constant time and effort but there’s turnover. In a good company, the owner is usually the one directing it. Meaning, “I love all of you. If you don’t hit this standard, we’re going to upgrade performance because we’re always about being the best we can be.” A mindset from a team from that perspective with the right A players, they don’t only like it but they prefer that culture because they know they’re rock stars.
Most rock star PTs know that they’ve worked in clinics where they are the rock star but they don’t get treated like that because of the tolerance of the B and C players. It’s not the owners intentionally slamming them. They are smart. They see that it’s unintentional but they also see it’s because the owner is too weak and fearful to have the kahunas and those hard conversations with their team members and maybe fire some people.
Maybe this was a Sean Kirk quote or Scott Fritz. “The best way to lose your A players is to tolerate the performance of C players.” I saw that many times where I would let someone go and the other employees were like, “Finally, why didn’t you do that months ago?”
We always think when we fire someone that other people are going to quit because that person’s going to talk crap about us. Every time we fire, culture improves every single time.
It makes it much easier to fire after that.
I’ve gotten to the point where I thought one point that I could do it without any fear but I still get scared. I’ve tolerated things in my company, not for a long time but longer than I should have because of my denial. “Maybe they’ll get better. Maybe I should need to train them more.”
Maybe there is a part of that. You want to give them the benefit of the doubt but at the end of the day, they show their true colors. Bringing it back around, that’s where recruiting makes it much easier to let them go. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t work here.”
I love this discussion because a lot of people who are reading are probably in a mindset of, “How do I bring people in?” It’s an important question but the bigger question is, “How do we maximize performance? How do we get the best people we can?” It starts with the mindset and attitude of where we are. We can create the job offer, ad and then all these cool techniques we can talk about like group interviews for front desk protect positions. All these different things can be done on the regular to make sure that there’s a constant inflow of people looking at our company to join in. There’s always room for an A-player. People are afraid of, “What if I find an amazing PT or a front desk and there’s no space?” Find space. It’s easy.
They will make themselves productive too. They will say, “I’ll do whatever you want to do. I want to be a part of your business.” It’s easy to say, “You’re so much better than this other person.”
Gratefully, I’ve never been in a position ever, not with my clients or with myself. I’ve hired people multiple times where I don’t think there’s space for them but they’re amazing and I’m not going to let them go. I’ve never been in the position thus far where after they’ve joined the team where it’s like, “I don’t have room for both of you.” I’m letting the person who was already there go.There's turnover in a good company. Click To Tweet
Normally what happens is that person shows up, they start killing it and the other person who’s a B player starts becoming an A player because they don’t want to lose their job. It grows the company. Maybe the percentage of a rival goes to 98% because you have not 1 but 2 amazing front desks that increase. Without any marketing, all these new patients start flowing in and filling up people’s schedules on and on.
If people wanted to find you, especially regarding the recruiting type of training that you’re doing, how do they do it?
I have a new program called Rockstar Recruiter, which I’m excited about. This is one of my legacy pieces in life. The other way to get recruiting help is to work with me through my billing company. We have eleven partners. We’re going to twenty in total. We are accepting people who are interested in joining our billing company.
If you want recruiting help and you’re not totally in love with your billing company, 2 birds, 1 stone. Those are 2 of the 3 spaces that I live in. It’s billing, recruiting and then this third thing that we can talk about another time. All three of those things go together because if I can help people find PTs and then I can coach them on how to work with them on a billing level, then there’s this magic spark that turns into a flame of growth.
It makes it easy to recruit people and bring them on when your revenues are greater and profit margins larger.
Almost everyone I coached at first is like, “It’s hard for me to recruit.” I keep telling them that it’s easy. It’s easier than it’s ever been to recruit because everyone else is saying, “It’s hard.” Here’s a true story. I have a client who told me, “It’s hard and here’s why.” After that, I showed him some techniques that he took and spun into his own. He’s gotten one hire. He’s got two more people whole’s looking at doing. This was after years of not feeling confident in the recruiting space.
If you want to get ahold of me, check out the course and the free masterclass. If you are looking for billing, that’s the easiest way. If you’re in the billing company, you get access to me more personally and to the online program at no cost. You get all that bundled up into a very powerful offering on the billing side.
How did they get in touch with you regarding the billing stuff?Finding and taking care of the right people is what made way more of my business grow and gave me freedom. Click To Tweet
I could leave my cell number. I prefer you to text me. Email is fine but text means you’re serious about it. I only want to work with serious people.
What is that?
(480) 248-5119. Text me anytime except for evenings and on weekends.
Thanks for sharing. We’re going to have you on here soon again. Someday, you’re going to overtake Eric Miller as the most frequent guest on here but it’s going to take a few more episodes.
I have a goal to become the most frequent guest and our next episode is going to be fun. It’s going to be the top mistake that we made.
Thanks for joining me. I appreciate it, Will.
- Will Humphreys – LinkedIn
- Adversity Will Shape Your Life with Will Humphreys – YouTube
- YouTube – Will Humphreys
- Team Assessment Tool – YouTube
- Hire Better Physical Therapists Now: Ad Creation Masterclass
- Rockstar Recruiter
About Will Humphreys
I am a father of 4 boys, married 20 years and am passionate about healthcare entrepreneurship.
Teaching entrepreneurs how to maximize their income, profits, and net margin is what I do, but helping them change how they think, reclaim their freedom, and discover what is possible is who I am.
I teach the value of this key phrase: Profitability unlocks possibility.