Recruiting and retaining talent is a challenge in every industry. Talented employees are retiring, potential new employees have more choice than ever, and the methods industries have used to recruit in the past don’t necessarily work anymore.
Employees are more willing to change jobs, locations, and careers.
In the healthcare industry, those are all factors that make recruiting a challenge. Add to that some unique challenges in the industry, such as:
The healthcare industry is facing one of the toughest challenges in recent memory with the talent shortage.
Now more than ever, hospitals and healthcare facilities are competing amongst each other to find qualified talent for vacant positions.
The current demand for healthcare professionals exceeds supply and it appears that gap is continuing to widen.
All of this means recruiters in the healthcare sector need to adapt and address these challenges with some new and innovative strategies.
If recruiters, employers, or hiring managers don't quickly adapt to some of the changing trends within the healthcare industry — there is a chance that they will fall behind and their recruitment struggles will compound.
As the labor market continues to become more competitive and the economy continues to turn around, the unemployment rate for healthcare professionals continues to decrease.
This means that qualified talent are finding jobs with ease, and hospitals and healthcare facilities have a shorter talent pool to review when a new position becomes available.
Let’s look at five trends in healthcare recruiting that will help recruitment and retention efforts.
The new workforce is more selective than in the past and will be researching the brand of the organization before they apply for a job or take a position.
This means every single hospital brand, healthcare brand, or healthcare facility brand need to go above and beyond to attract the best talent.
The only way to attract the best talent through the brand is to make sure that it's competitive in the ever-increasing competitive marketplace.
With the explosion of social media, Internet reviews and employer rating sites, there is much more access to information about your organization than ever before.
Not only is it easier to find more information on your organization than ever before, but every single job seeker can more efficiently find information on brands better than before.
In the past, if there was a bad article or bad press release about the company — it could be buried over time as new news was released.
Today, job seekers can dig up brand information on plenty of useful sites to learn more about the individual company.
This means it's more important than ever to maintain a positive brand image, and ensure that steps are taken to actively monitor how the brand is being viewed.
In addition, tools are required to clean up the bad elements that could potentially tarnish a hospital brand or healthcare facility brand.
Quality healthcare job seeking candidates have more tools than ever to control the fate of their job search.
Previously, healthcare job seekers or hospital job seekers didn't have much choice. Hospitals and healthcare facilities held all the cards. Healthcare job seekers needed a job, and hospitals or healthcare facilities had a job for them — end of story.
Nowadays, the talent shortage is so significant, that the cards are all in the hands of job seekers.
Healthcare job seekers no longer have to take the first offer they come across, because there are other facilities or hospitals that are competing for that same talent, and might offer better benefits or more favorable terms.
In particular, quality candidates will have even more ability to choose where they want to work. People want to join organizations with a great brand and great reputation as an employer.
It’s important, then, to pay attention to your brand.
If you don't pay attention to your brand and make it a priority, you can easily fall behind in your healthcare recruiting efforts.
This is not just about a logo, a website, or social media accounts.
While those are important for your brand and your healthcare recruiting efforts, it doesn't stop there.
It’s also about monitoring your brand and making improvements when needed.
This means that healthcare facilities and hospitals need to take a more well-rounded approach.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities cannot just look at how their brand is being perceived outside the hospital or healthcare facility from outside actors — it also needs to be aware of how inside actors, meaning employees, view their brand.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities increasingly need to pay attention to the way their brand and facility is viewed by employees because it directly affects their ability to retain existing talent.
If hospitals and healthcare facilities can reduce the amount of staff they have to replace with new talent, then they are already off to a great start in improving their brand.
Which looks better from a brand's perspective, a hospital that continually has high turnover or one that retains a large majority of its staff?
The answer is simple from a brand perspective, and that's why it is so important to maintain a positive brand image from an employee perception as well.
The last thing you want to do is make a bigger headache for your brand than needed.
It’s about responding to questions or criticisms. And it’s about paying attention to the climate of your organization through your current employees.
Research has shown that a positive brand image can help reduce the average cost to hire a new employee.
Employee brand advocacy is a powerful asset.
It’s important to maintain communication and transparency with your existing employees, to ensure they are and remain brand advocates for your organization.
Focusing on your brand for the next phase of your healthcare recruiting efforts is critical in every aspect.
Having a solid brand also helps individual hospitals or healthcare facilities gain a competitive advantage over their talent sourcing competition.
If your brand stands out more than some of the competitors, then you will ultimately have an easier time sourcing and hiring candidate that wants to work for you.
When you have qualified talent that wants to work for you it's much easier than being forced to go find talent — and it all starts with a strong brand.
Potential employees are more likely to be interested in a position that comes to them via a more personalized approach than has been the case in the past.
Healthcare organizations need to connect with candidates on the cultural and lifestyle aspects of any job, and not just the technical and skills requirements.
Increasingly, job seekers are looking for more than just the details of the job or the benefits offered — they want more.
Job seekers increasingly want to find employment opportunities where they truly feel valued.
In addition, job seekers want to find a place of employment that makes an impact on not only the employee's life, but the community as well.
In order to stay on the cutting edge of healthcare recruiting moving forward, hospitals and healthcare facilities need to use more data to effectively recruit.
Big data continues to make a large impact in every decision we make, especially hospitals and healthcare facilities.
As a result, a blanket job alert or a traditional job description template will not necessarily accomplish what you need.
A personalized approach will also help ensure employees have a better fit with your organization.
Data can support a personal connection to recruits.
When you use data to gather information about current trends in the healthcare recruitment industry, you can effectively highlight the things that matter to qualified talent.
Data gathered from employees, for instance, can help recruiters customize a strategy based on a specific job, a location and a target candidate profile.
Such insight can tell you what is appealing about your organization based on a specific candidate, such as an ER nurse or a primary care physician, or various locations, from within a city or across the country.
Mining data properly can provide you with such insight to help target the right recruits and keep them once you get them.
As well, using data to analyze your recruitment activities will provide insight into what has worked and what isn’t working.
This will allow you to focus resources on what’s important and not bother investing in what doesn’t work in your healthcare recruitment efforts.
We all know that modern healthcare recruiting costs a fortune, and the last thing you want to do is spend even more money because you're not investing in things that are worth it.
Don’t wait for open positions to begin recruiting efforts. Well before you need talent, build a pipeline so you are prepared for what’s to come.
This is also where making consistent brand building efforts plays in as well. Healthcare recruiting is more than just waiting for a position to be open before you start your recruiting efforts.
You have to be prepared at all times before you begin your healthcare recruiting efforts to ensure that they are successful in the long run.
Create a tracking system and build it by:
Now that we've covered how you can build a talent tracking system, we're going to detail why each of those steps is important in your healthcare recruiting efforts based on the current trends.
• 1.) Create a list of potential candidates — One great way to keep a list of potential candidates for future positions is to save every resume or cover letter that is sent to you when you aren't currently accepting applications for any available positions.
When you do have positions available, you may be able to convert the candidates in your talent pipeline into hires based on the resumes or cover letters you have collected during your hiring downtime.
• 2.) Ask employees for candidates among friends — this is another fantastic method for you to create a talent tracking system, and then add to it with a list of potential candidates that could make the hospital or healthcare facility great in the future.
Above we mentioned how important a hospital or healthcare facility's brand is, and communication is key to maintaining a hospital brand and improving upon it.
If you demonstrate that you want to improve the quality of talent in the facility and want recommendations on where potential talent could come from — the hospital or healthcare facility employees will appreciate those efforts and provide you with some solid talent recommendations.
• 3.) Look at existing employees — it's much easier for you to train an existing employee on how to do a new role within the same organization, than to hire an outside candidate.
The reason for this is because when you hire a new employee, you are forced to train them on how to do the role within the hospital or healthcare facility and also educate them about the culture or atmosphere.
It's much easier to look at your existing employees and cut those problems in half by asking them to slightly change their role or responsibilities.
In many cases currently employed individuals will be happy to transition their role for new and exciting challenges in their daily routine.
• 4.) Keep track of strong candidates who didn't cross the finish line — one trend in healthcare recruiting for keeping an up to date talent tracking system is keeping a list of all those candidates who just fell short of the finish line.
Many hospitals or healthcare facilities simply remove the list of candidates who didn't cross the finish line and secure that job offer because they see no need in keeping them around.
On the contrary, if you keep a list of candidates who were almost the selected job candidate, then you can reach back out to them to see if they are still interested in working at the facility in a similar role to the one they applied, or to see if they have potentially expanded upon their skill set — which would make them a more attractive candidate for future positions that you are considering.
Implementing a talent tracking system is one of the most important trends in healthcare recruiting that you can use to ensure that you stay on the cutting edge of sourcing qualified talent.
The pace of change in the healthcare industry is as rapid as in many other industries.
Medical innovations and evolving technologies mean changes to the way healthcare is delivered.
That's why it is so important to stay on top of the top trends in healthcare recruiting.
As a result of staying on top of all the trends in healthcare recruiting, there will be new talents required now and in the future, including the ability to rapidly learn, unlearn, relearn, and access new knowledge.
It will continue to be a challenge to stay up-to-date with the skills and learning curves that such innovations bring.
Recruiters and human resources departments will need to support and empower a culture of adaptability under rapid change, and ensure the workforce has continual training to adjust to such changes.
It’s an important skill set for which to recruit and support once on the payroll.
In healthcare, there is an added trend to specialization due to the complexity of service delivery.
While it is important to recruit specialized talent, it is important that the training and career development within the hospital or healthcare facility is a priority to educate the staff on some of the rapid changes that might occur in the healthcare industry.
There is also a need in healthcare to be sure to recruit for fit to your organization’s culture.
A nursing facility needs staff that has a passion for serving the elderly.
Homecare staff must be compassionate to elderly patients but also well rounded, adaptable and able to deliver service in a variety of settings.
Recruiting tools such as behavioral assessments and interview questions will help identify candidates that fit with your culture.
It’s important to have employees with hard and soft skills who will excel in your organization.
Too often, recruiters focus on finding good candidates and retaining great employees.
But in between that is the process that potential employees go through when they are in the candidate process.
You can identify the best employees and then lose them through a poor process.
A poor process might be making them wait, asking them questions that they have already answered in the rigorous candidate selection process, having them wait for the interview, etc.
With the continued competition for quality candidates in healthcare, it’s important to keep candidates happy, engaged, and interested in your organization throughout the candidate consideration and selection experience.
Be sure you consider the candidates and make sure they are treated with respect. Provide consistent and credible information, and paint a clear picture of the culture of the organization and the expectations of the job.
A quality candidate will probably have more than one potential job offer, and their first glimpse of your organization will be through the recruitment process.
Be sure they have a positive experience.
In the event that the candidate chooses to go elsewhere, the word of mouth about your recruiting experience will still be vitally important.
As we mentioned above, your recruiting and selection process experience is a part of the brand that you are trying to develop and improve, and the word of mouth from your selection process is a great way to improve the positive outlook on the hospital brand or healthcare brand.
The pace of change in many industries is rapid, and the healthcare sector is no exception.
With the change, healthcare recruiters must also adapt to ensure they recruit and retain the best employees to deliver services now and into the future.
Using the top trends we've mentioned above, you can stay on the cutting edge of healthcare recruiting moving forward — and ultimately source the best candidates.
About the Author: Daniel Ross is part of the marketing team at Roubler — a scheduling and payroll software platform founded in Australia. Their mission is to change the way the world manages its workforces.