According to a recent survey by the Pharmacy Defence Association (PDA) more than half of the pharmacists working in England are considering changing role in the next 12-18 months due to work related issues. This survey had more than 2,500 pharmacists from both permanent roles and locum staff. To combat these staggering statistics we’ve put together advice on how you can encourage direct locums to work with your pharmacy to help eliminate gaps in the rota.

1. Identify your unique selling points and emphasise them

Back in 2021, we conducted a survey with the permanent staff we placed in pharmacies during the first six months of the year. The survey asked participants what attractive features they looked for in job advertisements.

It may be of surprise that one of the main findings was parking availability. Having a suitable parking location was at the front of many participants' minds as they wanted ease of access to their workplace without having to rely on public transport links that are often unreliable.

Another result from the survey was that employees considered team longevity as a contributing factor in their decision-making process. If you have employed staff for a number of years, highlight this within your recruitment strategy, as this shows a highly positive company culture. In contrast, if you have a very high staff turnover, conduct exit interviews to find out why they are leaving and get to the root of the problem to minimise staff departures.

Respondents also sought employment with companies that offered store profitability bonuses. If you don’t already offer this, it could be worth investigating the scheme as it promotes a productive culture where both staff and management are working towards a common goal that is a win/win if exceptional service is provided.

2. Develop an effective recruitment strategy

We understand that it is important for candidates to do their research and prepare for their interview with a potential company. However, it is also vital for employers to have a recruitment strategy in place to ensure that candidates are treated fairly within the recruiting process.

To begin with, it is important to create a good impression for candidates and this begins with crafting the ideal job description. We recommend creating an information-rich job description that clearly explains the role, duties that will be carried out, and experience required from applicants. As previously mentioned, we would include mention of staff longevity (if applicable), parking availability, and any bonus schemes you have in place.

Often candidates will have prepared questions to ask you to get to know more about the role and the company. Generally, these tend to be similar for all applicants so it’s useful to have set answers to respond with. Having these responses prepared saves you time in the long term and also allows all hiring staff to respond in a consistent manner.

In the hiring process, and especially within a competitive market, speed is crucial when making decisions. It is likely that candidates will be interviewing for other positions so it is best not to let them hang around too long waiting for an answer.

After the interview is over and you’ve made your decision, provide feedback to your candidates both successful and unsuccessful. Offering constructive feedback is beneficial for unsuccessful candidates and provides them with something to work on for other roles. For unsuccessful applicants that are still strong candidates, use the opportunity to offer them locum shifts for your company as this will begin to build your direct pool.

3. Create a strong digital presence

Many of you may already have active social media channels for your business on Facebook and Instagram and these provide a great opportunity to reach potential candidates. However, we would recommend, if you aren’t already, to join the LinkedIn platform to access highly targeted information on candidates.

In comparison to Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is also cheaper to advertise on without losing valuable analytics in return. Users’ profiles are typically set up to be digital CVs showcasing their work experience, educational background, and accreditations. With all this information you can easily screen potential candidates and reach out to them to promote job opportunities.

If candidates are interested in working with your company it’s important to have a professional website and landing page for them to register their applications. With our workforce management system, we can provide your company with a branded landing page for applicants to sign up.

We have seen that healthcare professionals are actively looking for employment with companies that have a strong digital infrastructure in place to support their needs. Whilst our software is advanced, our platform and app have been created with you and your staff in mind, to ensure a user-friendly experience.

4. Offer referrals

Referrals are a very effective way to reach potential employees. Our research has shown that employees who have been referred have a 37% higher retention rate than their non-referred counterparts. They are also 4 times more likely to work shifts with your pharmacy. A major benefit of referrals is that there is no cost per acquisition however you can incentivise referrals to yield better results and this has proved very successful in the locum side of our business.

5. Rate determination and managing your workforce

Our industry-leading market rate study analyses booked/worked each quarter and determine the “sweet spot” of market rates for each nation. This allows you to make data-driven decisions when setting rates to ensure you attract locums to your area and similarly aren’t overpaying.

Our latest study was published in November 2022. We analysed over 56,610 locum pharmacist shifts booked on the Locate a Locum platform between the 1st of July and the 30th of September 2022. With this data, we could analyse the average locum pharmacist rate of booked/worked shifts. These findings were sorted by region and city (Top 50 cities in the UK based on population). In the interest of complete accuracy, rates were taken from booked/worked shifts by locum pharmacists for one year.

Using this data gives a clear picture of supply and demand by region and city. We also compare the rates in the latest sample to the regional data from Q2 in 2022, in which we used the same methodology, this allows us to accurately gauge the rates rise by region. You can request a copy of our study here.

How can Locate a Locum help?

By incorporating our platform into your company, we will be able to share regular access to these insights along with guidance on setting hourly rates and how to manage your workforce with our software. The Rota and Leave modules of our management system to ensure that gaps are filled within your rota through our push notifications that alert your staff on shift vacancies. We offer a seamless approach to management that has been said to solve “workforce problems that have existed for decades”.

Want to find out more?

If you are interested in finding out more about our locum management system contact and a member of our team will be happy to assist you and provide bespoke advice and solutions to needs unique to your business.

Thanks for reading, have a great day!
Locate a Locum Team