Location, Location, Location!
Why Location Matters in Recruitment
In my most recent blog, I wrote about attracting and keeping therapist in related services positions in schools. The key points discussed were location, compensation, flexibility, recognition, and burnout. As a follow-up to that article, I will be publishing a series of blogs expanding on these key areas. Let’s go a little deeper and see if shedding a little more light on these areas will give you added value to use as tools to recruit and retain awesome, qualified therapists.
The first area and the topic of this blog is location. But you think, we cannot change where we are located. How can we attract therapists to our area beyond what we are already doing? Let me ask you this, why do you live where you do? What attracted you to this district? Have you lived there your whole life? Did you want the excitement and cultural opportunities of the area? Did you want to put down roots and settle in a quiet area? What does your area have to offer that makes it unique or attractive to a new grad, a seasoned therapist looking for a change, or a retiree looking for a few hours? Our choices for relocating are as varied as the locations where we live and work.
When doing research on this topic, I discovered there are various “push and pull factors” that influence where people live. These factors are not only governed by their financial constraints, but also personal preferences related to their age and the attributes and amenities of the areas they are considering. Those who are younger than 34 years of age would consider the length of commute, cost of housing, and access to leisure and cultural activities as the most important areas to consider. Between 35-55 years of age value access to good schools, and housing availability. Those over 55 years of age prioritize access to space and are generally empty nesters so they no longer prioritize housing based on schools or activities they no longer consider important. Better hospitals and health care are also important at this stage for adults.
OK so now what? When you are looking to attract quality candidates, I think it is important to consider who you want to attract and how you are going to attract them to your position. As I mentioned in my previous article, therapists are first looking for flexibility to balance life and work, second compensation, and finally meaningfulness of their position. So, highlight how you can meet these needs for them but also put a spotlight on the areas they are attracted to as mentioned above. Give them a reason beyond the open position to want to work for your district. Do everything you can to find out what triggers their desire to move and show them how, by choosing to work for your district, they can have a great job and a great place to live. Unfortunately, this falls on you because candidates have lots of options and multiple choices based on the shortages of therapists nationwide.
Lastly, consider removing location factors from the equation altogether! Teletherapy has been shown to be an effective way to alleviate therapist shortages and eliminate geographical constraints. As a telepractioner, a therapist can see students in one state and in the next hour see students in two other states without leaving their home office. All that is required is the proper licensure and certification.
Nobody should have to experience therapist shortages. By choosing to add telepractice services you are eliminating these shortages for your district and reducing the risk of losing the great therapists you already have. Partner with Lighthouse Therapy to help you find the therapists you need. No more stress, no more worry, no more special education due process risks from lack of therapy services.