How to Recruit for Onsite Health Clinics with Employer Branding

A conversation with Lilianna Koopman and Kim Nealt

I had the opportunity to interview Lilianna Koopman, VP of Human Resources for Activate Healthcare, and Kim Nealt, On-boarding Director for Activate Healthcare. With 35 plus years combined experience in healthcare and HR, they shared their insights specifically on recruiting for onsite health clinics.

Chad Harrington
11 February 2016

With only a handful of other organizations in the United States, Activate Healthcare’s onsite, employer-based clinics are transforming healthcare with a unique model of care.

My interview with both Lilianna Koopman and Kim Nealt centered on how to recruit for such clinics. 

It came down to their story. 

In other words, employer branding is what Koopman, VP of HR for Activate Healthcare, says is the most effective tool for recruitment. That is, the best way to recruit is by telling their company story.

By reading this blog, healthcare professionals will gain a better understanding of how to tell an employer's story, as well as other recruitment tips to recruit for employer-based and similar clinics.


On telling the Activate story for employer branding

Lilianna Koopman, Image credit: John Wright

Lilianna Koopman, Image credit: John Wright

Relode: “If you were recruiting me, what story would you tell?” 

Lilianna Koopman: “How our co-founders came together is very important. Debra Geihsler, our Principal and co-founder, was in large physician practices and hospital leadership positions for the majority of her career. She wanted something better for them—to know there’s an opportunity that allows providers and practitioners to be able to take better care of patients and spend more time with patients.

“Combining that with the experience and organizational skills of Peter Dunn, our co-founder and Principal, who was able to do a wonderful job in supporting the business and recognizing that the role of the employees we have in our support center is really to help support our practitioners and all of our clinic staff. 

“That helps us to also create a much better team environment. We are working on associate engagement initiatives. Really from Peter’s experience in larger businesses, he recognizes that need. Associates feel like they’re engaged in their work at a high level, because that’s going to only help us retain them as employees.” 

SEE also, “11 Years Recruiting in Nashville, Bush Learns How to Retain New Nurses”


What attracts physicians to Activate in recruitment?

Koopman added that the job profile of a physician working at an employer-based clinic is very attractive, because they are able to set goals and meet them in a unique way. Since they have more time with patients, that latitude for growth and investment with patients, which are almost impossible to imagine, are now possible for physicians. 


On the challenges of the recruitment of physicians and clinicians into onsite clinics

Kim Nealt, Image credit: John Wright

Kim Nealt, Image credit: John Wright

Kim Nealt: “There are a few key things when we initially start on-boarding. It’s not always logical, which kind of makes the learning curve a little bit challenging when you first start at Activate. A lot of times what we find with our sales people when they’re finalizing the contract with an employer and need to be already recruiting for the provider and identifying the clinic location, meeting with the architects, and getting a space plan in place. Those thing take a lot of time. 

“Especially when recruiting a physician or a mid-level employee, a lot of these candidates have a 90 to 120-day notice in their contract with their current employer. We have to keep in mind that these candidates are not going to be available for 90 to 120 days. So we need to get a head start on recruitment.”



The profile of an ideal physician candidate for employer-based clinics

With over 12 years experience recruiting physicians in general, Nealt offers a profile for what to look for in physicians when recruiting for employer-based clinics:

  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to be flexible
  • A few years of experience
  • An interest or background in occupational medicine
  • A focus on preventive care
  • A focus on more proactive care

R: What are your top three pieces of advice for recruiters in employer-based healthcare?

LK: “It’s important to learn all you can about the business and the jobs you’re recruiting for. Maybe that’s obvious to some, but I think it still carries a lot of value. It’s very important in terms of being sure that you really understand and can relate to the person you’re talking to, your candidates. 

“Many times recruiters are primarily sourcing and screening to get to a hiring manager, who has the details of the job. It goes a long way in valuing the work the recruiters have if they have a better understanding. No better way than to shadow the position or talk to others in the company who are in the job so they can be able to extract or identify the positives or the attractive pieces of the job. It only goes further in helping the recruiting efforts.”


On doing something different in health care

LK: “It’s exciting for people in the healthcare industry to see us branch out and do something a little different from the norm to help people focus on how to get them healthier and to help them maintain an active lifestyle! For me personally it has been a great win from that perspective in joining Activate and knowing that it’s helped me focus on my own health and activity—we could all use that in our lives.

“I love the recruiting piece of what I do, because it definitely helps to be able to tell new people about our organization and that it is a great place to work.”

My reflections on onsite recruitment and employer branding

1. Learn by example how to tell your employer branding story. Read again, if you struggle with telling your employer's story, Koopman's story about Activate above.

2. Learn to attract physicians first. Your most important hires are your physicians, because they serve as your foundation and leadership for such clinics. Focus on the qualities you're looking for. Then, sell them on exactly and only what onsite clinics offer: a pace and practice that are closer to what physicians often want.

3. Continue to tell the story through difficulties, waiting, and on-boarding. The people will not tire of hearing the story that originally attracted them to try something different in health care. Keep telling it.

Then, you might notice they'll start telling it, too. That's a great employer brand for onsite clinics.  


Activate is “transforming health care and their families to take charge of their health and organizations to take charge of healthcare costs.”

Chad Harrington is the Content Director at Relode, the modern way to find great candidates. He writes on all things hiring. Contact him through email. Follow Relode on Twitter for all blogs and company updates.