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Therapybc Employer Recruitment and Retention Guidelines

1. Ensure ongoing formalized support and mentoring

All therapists, particularly those in a rural setting and those who are new to the paediatric practice area, value the support of their colleagues. Utilize provincial resources such as Sunny Hill Health Centre and regional resources such as larger child development centres to link and foster mentoring relationships for your employees. Be aware of mentorship programs available through professional associations and other agencies. Ensure adequate time is available within the therapist’s workload for this relationship to be effective.

2. Offer a competitive wage and benefits package

Make sure your wage and benefit package is competitive across the province (the current standard in BC is the HEABC Paramedical contract). Therapists also desire a workplace with a budget that allows for adequate equipment and materials, and the ability to purchase new resources to keep up with innovations and changes in paediatric rehabilitation. Continuing education is a high priority for paediatric therapists, thus you should ensure this is reflected in your staff education budget. Financial incentives such as a sign-on bonus and/or assistance with moving expenses can also have a very positive effect on recruitment. Partial FTE positions are often more difficult to recruit, so consider partnering with other agencies in your community with partial FTE positions to post a larger FTE position.

3. Promote a healthy work environment

Explore flexible work schedules such as every 2nd Friday off, or a portion of some days working from home. Another option is the ability for an employee to purchase an extended leave (e.g. – earn 80% of their salary per year for 4 years in order to ‘purchase’ a one year leave on the fifth year). Keep your therapists working in job share and/or part-time positions when their personal circumstances dictate they aren’t able to work in a full-time role (e.g. – young children at home, medical/health issues).

Recognize the potential of burnout, and be willing to collaborate and develop a plan to address it. Provide an environment where therapists:

- have control over their work
- receive recognition and rewards for good work
- have clear job expectations
- perform work that is challenging and not monotonous
- have opportunity for change

Provide adequate administrative support and technology so that therapists are able to perform optimally. One of the recommendations produced by the Promoting Manageable Workloads for BC’s Paediatric Therapists Final Report published in November 2006 (http://www.therapybc.ca/promoting_manageable.php) is that agencies should review current therapy tasks and consider which could be done more effectively by another employee (e.g. – filing, printing/copying, appointment scheduling, etc.).

Promote health and wellness within your own agency. Investigate the availability of group membership rates at local fitness facilities. Your current employees are your best potential referral source, so help make sure they are happy and healthy.

4. Provide open and collaborative communication

Engage in open dialogue about pressures and challenges of day-to-day work and be open to suggestions for creative management of caseloads. Utilize the Promoting Manageable Workloads Preferred Practice Guidelines document as a resource (http://www.therapybc.ca/promoting_manageable.php).

Respect professional judgment about variation in service delivery. Follow principles of transformational leadership, and encourage a workplace that is transparent and collaborative. Hold regular meetings with therapists to discuss needs, hopes, and professional aspirations, and be clear regarding what is and what isn’t viable at your facility.

5. Facilitate ongoing, stimulating professional development and networking opportunities

A recent survey of paediatric therapists who attended PPTRRC sponsored continuing education events within the last two years demonstrated 90% felt the continuing education was very valuable to their clinical practice, and 80% indicated that receiving funds for continuing education strongly contributes to their job satisfaction. Remember that professional development can occur in many forms such as via attendance at a workshop, participation in a videoconference, journal review groups, and online learning opportunities.

Strongly consider supporting student fieldwork opportunities and inter-professional learning. A recent investigation by UBC OT demonstrated that 84% of 2006 and 2007 graduates obtained an entry level position in the same practice area (e.g. – paediatric therapy) in which they completed fieldwork, and 41% were working in the exact practice area and facility where they completed a placement. Clinical supervisors of students often find the experience very rewarding, and the UBC training programs provide good support. Encourage therapists to consider taking a student, and work with your therapists to ensure their workload when supervising a student remains manageable.

6. Have a targeted and focused recruitment strategy

Advertise positions in places they will be seen such as the free job posting service offered by www.therapybc.ca. Another good resource for both web and print ads are the therapy professional associations:

PT: Physiotherapy Association of BC – www.bcphysio.org
Canadian Physiotherapy Association – www.physiotherapy.ca

OT: BC Society of Occupational Therapists – www.bcsot.org
Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists – www.caot.ca

SLP: BC Association of Speech-Language Pathologists – www.bcaslpa.ca
Canadian Association of SLP – www.caslpa.ca

New graduates can also be accessed through job posting boards on campus. The therapy national association websites have links to therapist training programs across Canada.

Ensure that your job posting title makes it clear that the position you are advertising is a paediatric therapy opportunity. Also make sure that you indicate what region of the province your agency is located.

Write job descriptions that accurately reflect the work and expectations. Have the description reviewed by a therapist in the same discipline. If your agency is sole-charge and you don’t have access to a therapist to review the description, have it reviewed by a therapist from an agency in a neighboring community.

Consider what your community has to offer that may be attractive to a candidate and advertise accordingly. Your local tourist bureau or chamber of commerce will likely have resources available to assist you in this regard.

If you have a well developed website, be sure to include a link to it in your posting.

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