Human nature makes it so we gravitate to people and things who most remind us of ourselves. However, in hiring that practice can result in poor recruiting results. The data shows that more diverse teams produce better results and are better for the bottom line. Despite this information, it can be difficult to overcome our candidate bias when hiring for healthcare. Many professional or practitioner roles in healthcare are experiencing shortages, so the companies who can overcome their bias and hire more diverse teams will do better to beat these challenges. A big misconception when it comes to hiring is that diversity hiring hurts productivity. One of the perpetrators of this line of thinking is the idea of cultural fit. One recent survey found that more than 80 percent of employers worldwide named cultural fit as a top hiring priority. But cultural fit has changed from an effort to create more employee engagement into a way to marginalize those who the manager does not get along with.
“Subliminal tendencies often discard the right candidates and bring in the ones that hiring managers have some type of affinity for. Leaning toward preconceived notions of what the ideal recruit should be spells trouble.” – Thomas Tracy
Here are three common myths about different cohorts among physicians and how you can overcome your candidate bias to hire better:
Myth: Female physicians can’t treat patients as well as their male counterparts.
While paid less, patients treated by female physicians are less likely to die. In 2016, Harvard researchers found that female doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients get better results. Previous research has shown that female doctors are more likely to follow recommendations about prevention counseling and to order preventive tests like Pap smears and mammograms. The study’s authors estimate “that approximately 32,000 fewer patients would die if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes as female physicians every year.”
Myth: Older physicians are a liability.
The age of a physician does not always negatively impact patient care outcomes. In a study comparing cognitive functioning of surgeons age 60 and older with younger surgeons, 78% of practicing surgeons aged 60-64 performed within the range of younger surgeons on computerized cognitive tasks measuring visual sustained attention, reaction time and visual learning and memory.
Myth: Millennial physicians will not work as hard as previous generations.
The definition of hard work has really evolved, and nothing magnetizes this more than when you compare older generations and millennials’ ways of working. Millennial physicians are actually most different in their approach to collaborative care. A 2016 report, Millennial Mindset: The Collaborative Clinician, released by health agencies GSW, inVentiv Health PR Group, shows that millennial physicians understand pharma ads are out there to educate patients, but rely less than their older counterparts to use pharma marketing to inform their decisions, and they rely mostly on their peers, online resources for advice. To build a truly great patient care team in healthcare, it requires bringing together a diverse group of people who can each bring their own empathy and experiences to the care model.
The next time you are hiring for a healthcare professional or practitioner, think to the future of medicine and the next decade of challenges facing your patients’ ability for a healthy life. Then, you must realize that the best way to provide for that healthy life is to offer a care team that can treat a broader population of patients through their own collective experience and collaboration.