Seven Ways to Recruit and Retain a Rock Star Team

By Michelle Collie, PT, DPT

The most obvious marketing goal of your physical therapy practice is to bring in new patients, but it’s vital you keep in mind an equally as important goal: recruitment and retention of your clinical and administrative staff. The team of people who schedule, greet, work with, and bill your patients are the heart of your practice, and keeping that team healthy and growing will ensure your practice succeeds.

As you work to retain and recruit a rock star team, keep in mind the following seven marketing and public relations strategies:

Define and promote your culture. Retaining staff starts with recruiting the right fit in the first place. Determining if a candidate is a “cultural fit” for your practice is extremely important for recruiting and retaining candidates who are best suited to your practice. Promote your culture on social media: Post photos and videos that show what your practice is like and that truly represent the kind of people you want to attract. Choose what represents your culture: dress down days, company sports teams and clubs, celebrations and parties—and post about it on social media. Staff will organically begin sharing posts, and word about your practice’s culture will spread.

Target your audience on social media. Speaking of social media, make sure you’re using it to target the right audience. While patient recruitment and engagement is strongest via Facebook and Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn tend toward a more professional audience and should be used as well. When posting, think about both what the prospective patient and the prospective employee would relate to and try to appeal to both audiences. For example, if you’re posting a patient success story about a knee injury that improved with a physical therapist, feature both the patient and the therapist.

Seek opportunities to promote that your practice is a great place to work. Local awards celebrating and promoting the best places to work in your community can lend credibility to your practice and show that it is a fun and rewarding working environment. Even better, the application process for many of these kinds of awards requires that you engage your staff with surveys and feedback and getting testimonials. When you win an award, the entire staff can feel a part of the win, and can celebrate your and their success!

Reward your staff’s effort to market your practice. Many practices encourage and reward patients for referring their friends and family. Similarly, you should encourage and reward your staff for recommending your practice as a place to work! Rewarding staff with a gift card, bonus, or public acknowledgment will reinforce this positive behavior and further deepen his or her personal connection to your practice.

Market your current staff. Show your current staff that they are valued by publishing staff bios on your website, posting social media stories including staff, and creating press releases announcing staff accomplishments. This simultaneously announces to prospective employees the kind of clinical opportunities that exist in your practice and the type of clinicians you employ.

Foster relationships and partnerships. Marketing is about developing relationships. LinkedIn, your local American Physical Therapy Association chapter, physical therapy programs, and other community-based organizations and boards can provide endless opportunities to develop relationships with potential employees and those who may recommend your practice as a place to work. These kinds of relational activities can be time intensive but worthwhile: Unless the effort is made, the practice of recruiting will be limited to more passive methodologies.

Market your practice when posting job opportunities. When you are advertising an open position, remember that you’re also marketing your practice. Carefully consider the wording of the job description and what information you include about your practice. Steer clear of standard descriptions and boilerplate language. Just as a standard description of your physical therapy practice will likely not entice a patient to choose you, a standard description of a position you have available may not entice someone to apply. Focus on what makes your practice different or unique and make your job postings stand out.

If you clearly define your workplace culture and reach out to the community using these tips, you are likely to get the right people in your practice to begin with, and to keep them satisfied once they’re there. It’s important to remember that these goals build on each other: retaining and recruiting talented staff can help to bring in new patients as well, and vice versa. A satisfied workforce leads to satisfied patients. It’s a win-win!

Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, is the chair of the PPS PR and Marketing Committee and chief operating officer of Performance Physical Therapy in Rhode Island. She can be reached at

Copyright © 2017, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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