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Words of Wisdom Recruiting, Developing, and Retaining Great Faculty

 , June 08, 2017

Deborah Burnet, MD, MAPP 

Dr. Burnet is a professor of medicine at University of Chicago. She practices internal medicine and pediatrics and is the section chief of general internal medicine at University of Chicago.

When you recruit a new faculty member, how long do you expect them to stay? Generally, you’re hoping they’ll be successful and will work with you for many years. So, we are talking about a Long-term Relationship. Think about your own Long-term Relationships—marriage, perhaps, or a very good long-term friendship. What are the keys to its success?

  • Shared values
  • Fairness, Respect
  • Openness, Honesty
  • Communication—needs, interests
  • Alignment/Common purpose
  • Best interests
  • Growth and development
  • Empathy/Emotional intelligence
  • Appreciation, Validation 

These same characteristics are required mfor successful recruitment, development, and retention of faculty. Building relationships is a continual process that doesn’t start when you get a position approved or an ad posted. Use “pipeline” programs, professional meetings, mentoring (including SGIM mentoring programs!), visiting speaker opportunities, etc., to
build relationships with trainees and colleagues who could become your future faculty. 

As in other relationships, selfawareness is key—assess and articulate the strengths, needs, and opportunities in your own unit and institution and yours as a leader. Then, discover the special gifts, talents, and passions of a faculty candidate, and discern potential alignment with needs and opportunities in your division and institution. Once you have a position approved, use evidence-based strategies to broaden and diversify your search and minimize bias. In-service your institutional leaders and all search committees on these best practices. Negotiate with your finalists.  Candidates who ask for more show you what’s important to them  and how they value themselves. Be creative—if salary can’t be pushed further, find something else that’s  meaningful to your candidate to let her know you value her. Training opportunities? 

The same principles and relationship  characteristics that help you land a great candidate will help you develop and retain great faculty—communicate early and often, learn what’s important to your faculty personally and professionally, and work hard to help them pursue it.


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