The Why and How


Make recruitment and retention part of your marketing plan.

By Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, OCS

If the first marketing goal for every physical therapy practice is to bring in new patients, the second goal should be focused on the recruitment and retention of both clinical and administrative staff. Each of these goals informs the other. Consider these six marketing and public relations tips to ensure your staff recruitment and retention strategy is successful.

1. Define and promote your culture. Determining if a candidate is a “cultural fit” is extremely important for recruiting and retaining candidates that are best suited to your practice. Social media provides the perfect opportunity to share the culture of your workplace. Post photos and videos that truly represent the kind of people you would like to attract. Dress-down days, company sports teams and clubs, celebrations—choose what represents your culture. Staff will organically begin sharing posts, and continuing to spread the word about your practice’s culture.

2. Seek opportunities to promote that your practice is a great place to work. Seek local awards that celebrate and promote the best places to work in your community. Receiving such awards provides credibility that your practice is in fact a fun and rewarding working environment. Preparing the application engages current staff—and hopefully provides you all with a reason to celebrate. Employee engagement promotes retention, and employees certainly love to celebrate together!

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3. Reward your staff’s effort to market your practice. We encourage and often reward our patients for telling their friends and family about our practices. 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 develop his or her personal connection to your practice.

4. Market your current staff. Staff bios on your website, social media posts, and press releases announcing staff accomplishments will not only help current staff feel valued but will also message the type of clinicians and the clinical opportunities that exist in your practice.

5. Develop relationships. Marketing is about developing relationships. LinkedIn, your local American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) chapter, physical therapy programs as well as other community-based organizations and boards provide endless opportunities to develop relationships with potential employees as well as those who may recommend your practice as a place to work. Practice leadership is often challenged by the amount of time required for relational activities but unless the effort is made, the practice of recruiting will be limited to more passive methodologies.

6. Advertising a position is marketing your practice. When the time comes to advertise a position, carefully consider the wording and information provided. Just as a standard description of your physical therapy practice will likely not entice a patient to choose your practice, a standard description of a position you have available may not entice a person to apply. What makes your practice different or unique?

If you clearly define your workplace culture using these tips offered, you are likely to have the right people on the bus—and a satisfied workforce leads to satisfied patients. It is a win-win!


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

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