Healthcare careers constitute a large percentage of today’s fastest-growing careers, and healthcare organizations need to do all they can to ensure every hire they make turns out to be a good one. Figures obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics point to an 18% growth in health sector jobs
between 2016 and 2026. This figure translates to more than 22 million jobs in 10 years. Even though the healthcare industry is set to explode with new growth over the next decade, healthcare organizations are still struggling to find quality candidates
to ensure that they make every hire a good hire.
Healthcare organizations cannot afford to place a new hire into a position and realize that it doesn't work out several months later; that's why they need to make it work the first time. We've outlined some of the key ways that healthcare organizations and recruiters can ensure that every hire they make turns out to be a good hire.
Identify Which Candidates Are Pursuing Healthcare Positions
One of the first things that healthcare organizations need to do to ensure they make every hire a good hire is to identify their target audience and evaluate which kind of candidates are pursuing healthcare positions. There's never been a better time to pursue a healthcare career, but that doesn't mean everyone should work in the industry. Similar to other industries, there are certain qualities and traits that make certain hires great hires. The first step in identifying those traits is to evaluate why a job seeker might consider a career in the healthcare industry
Students and professionals from other sectors are drawn to the sector because of the following factors:
Healthcare employees also have additional benefits that many job seekers are looking for, such as flexible working hours and community assistance programs. The growth of the healthcare sector can be directly attributed to the aging baby boomer generation and healthcare policy that allows more individuals to seek care than ever before.
Increasingly, job seekers are looking for a career where they can settle down for the long haul, and they find the healthcare industry to be an attractive proposition. Healthcare organizations are increasingly seeing candidates and job seekers who are looking for a position that gives them the opportunity to make a difference in their community and advance their careers.
Strategies For Attracting Great Hires
In spite of the positive job market reports, the talent gap in the health sector continues to widen. The situation is worsened by the high turnover rate due to baby boomer retirement, industry fatigue, and more. It is the desire of every employer to hire qualified and experienced staff, which means every healthcare organization needs to ensure that they're doing to hire and retain a great staff. Efficient staff recruitment strategies can bridge the talent divide and ensure all positions are adequately covered. According to People Scout
, employers in the vast sector can attract a good hire by:
- Incorporating technology in the healthcare recruitment process
- Improving branding strategies
- Developing effective candidate pipelines
- Improving staff benefits
The first strategy to use to identify and begin ensuring every hire is a good hire is to begin embracing new technology and improved recruitment efforts
. A growing number of healthcare organizations are embracing powerful talent acquisition technologies
to aid their recruitment efforts. The applicant tracking systems and software are largely cost-efficient with the ability to reduce agency spending while streamlining the hiring process. For instance, the incorporation of mobile devices into recruitment efforts has made it easier to target prospects and get the right hires.
The next strategy is to ensure that your healthcare organization has a strong branding and employer presence. Competing against other organizations for healthcare talent is already hard enough, don't set the bar higher by trying to fight against a negative branding presence will set you and your organization back deeply. Positive branding can help organizations attract the best job prospects with ease. One of the best ways to improve employer branding is to highlight the company culture and some of the work benefits that are given to their healthcare professionals.
Another way to improve the organization's presence is to highlight some of the great stories and employees in the organization already. For instance, plenty of healthcare organizations like to highlight some of their top performers or offer an inside look into some of their leadership to highlight who they might be working with. Putting out positive stories about employees and the workplace can help an organization generate the right buzz and in the process attract some of the industry's top talent. The other effective branding strategies include sending talent teams to local health fairs, college and university job fairs, in addition to medical and nursing schools during career days.
The next strategy employers and healthcare organizations can use to attract top talent is to provide competitive benefits. Providing competitive benefits can also help health institutions attract the best candidates in an increasingly competitive field where benefits play an important role in which jobs candidates consider. Although the benefits provided to health employees are fairly competitive, healthcare organizations need to be open to offering unique benefits that lie outside some of the more traditional benefits they've offered in the past.
Organizations can craft innovative strategies to assist them in making compensation and benefits more attractive. One way that healthcare organizations and employers can get this right is by asking employees, potential hires, and job seekers about the issues that matter to them the most. Identifying what matters to potential candidates ensures that you and your organization can develop thorough policies on additional benefits that could be offered to candidates. Ensuring your organization is successful in its recruiting efforts means having thought out benefits packages that include additional career benefits like flextime opportunities, telecommuting, career growth tracks, in addition to learning and development opportunities.
The next strategy that healthcare organizations should constantly strive to accomplish to ensure they're doing all they can to attract quality candidates is to ensure they craft appropriate candidate pipelines. Healthcare organizations can no longer sit on their hands and wait weeks to months before they evaluate and select a candidate. Quality talent will no longer wait weeks to months at a time in this highly competitive industry, and healthcare organizations need to perform significant audits on their candidate pipeline to identify ways in which it can improve. More than ever one of the leading issues that people care about is related to the time to hire in the organizations they're considering. Candidates and job seekers are looking for organizations that value their time and have a quick hiring process.
Healthcare organizations and employers need to prioritize and take a proactive approach in identifying what issues matter to candidates and job seekers so they can position themselves for success in this highly competitive industry. This proactive approach to issues can help build strategic and efficient talent streams for years to come by identifying what matters most to them and doing all you can to meet those needs.
Health institutions also need to learn to utilize innovative sourcing techniques and implement long term recruitment strategies to attract great hires. Healthcare employers no longer have tens of thousands of dollars to throw at the wall to waste time and money in recruitment methods that no longer work. As healthcare budgets and recruitment budgets continue to shrink, healthcare employers need to do all they can to attract quality talent with an efficient and affordable recruitment solution
The next strategy healthcare employers can utilize to increase their ability to attract qualified talent and make good hires is by increasing the scope of their candidate pool. The process entails expanding the talent pool to include underserved categories of workers like veterans with experience.
Lastly, health organizations need to think long term when recruiting candidates and employees. So much of the healthcare industry as it relates to individual positions is whether or not one candidate can fit the mold they're looking for. Unfortunately, it's all too commonplace for the organization to say that it's not working out and begin their candidate search anew. Instead, healthcare employers should evaluate whether or not an employee could be a better fit in a different position.
This is why healthcare employers need to become more knowledgeable about their employees and the skills they possess. Each employee can always provide value in one form or fashion, and it's up to healthcare employers to find ways to utilize employees in every way they can. In this case, if a good hire is not fit for an advertised position, he or she should still be considered in the future in a different role. In doing so, healthcare organizations and employers can ensure that they're constantly developing healthcare talent that can be molded into a position they need without having to worry about retraining someone in the proper company culture, training, and more.
Qualities of a Good Hire
Health organizations must strive to attract and retrain great hires in their midst in order to remain competitive in the industry. Too often good talent and good hires are hired away by competing organizations for more money or better benefits. Organizations need to ensure that they identify the qualities of a good hire in their employees and work diligently to retain them for continued success. The process of identifying the qualities of a great hire starts with recruitment. According to a report by Scranton University
eLearning portal, here are the top qualities to look for:
1. The Long Term Potential of the Employee
Recruiters must pay attention to the long term potential of the workers they intend to bring on board considering the high cost of training and employee turnover. It is in the employer’s best interest to employ workers who will stick around longer and provide value for the monetary investment they've made in the evaluation, selection, and training process. Desirable traits in good hires will often stand out shortly after they've begun to work for your organization. Desirable traits like commitment and longevity can easily be spotted in the applicant’s resume from their previous work history, education, achievements, and tenures.
For example, an applicant with a Master’s degree in nursing
or physiotherapy can use this as proof of passion. Ask critical questions like whether or not it seems like the employee sticks around for a considerable length of time throughout their career, or if they're looking for a quick paycheck. Does it seem like the individual is passionate about growing throughout their career from the advancement they've had, or does it seem like they're still trying to figure out their career?
Asking these critical questions when evaluating employees is a great way to identify some of the desirable traits and identify what the long term potential of an employee might be.
2. Ability To Translate Skills Into Action
Recruiters should be in a position to identify new job prospects that are self-motivated and excited to be in part of the organization. One way that potential hires can be tested on this is by asking them to complete a given assignment before they are evaluated on the same in their day-to-day routine. The best employees are the ones who not only understand the importance of developing skills over time, but also in putting them into action. Much of the healthcare industry requires that professionals learn new skills over time, and then implement them into the chaotic and fast-paced environment. Good hires will be able to learn new skills and immediately find ways that they can utilize the new skill to provide more value to the organization and employer.
3. Responsive and Respectful
These two traits are often seen as a mark of reverence and courtesy towards the employer and peers alike. A responsive hire will be well-adept at interacting with customers and patients once hired. Respect can be expressed thorough greetings and support for others, in addition to their actions throughout each day. Sometimes it's not about what individuals say to one another, but in what they do for their peers. Being responsive and respectful in the healthcare industry is critical to improving patient retention rates in an industry that is constantly fighting to increase revenue and provide patient value. Identifying whether or not a candidate and employee is respectful and responsive just takes time and interactions to get to know them. Often times, it's not something that can be seen from one interaction and takes repetitive behavior over a period of time.
4. Enthusiastic and Passionate
An employee taking up a position in a health organization needs to possess enthusiasm and passion for the job. This is important because people who love their work are likely to work harder and stay longer in their positions. In an industry that frequently asks their employees to go above and beyond, enthusiasm and passion helps carry the industry forward. Enthusiastic employees are also able to influence others positively and go out of their way to demonstrate the utmost proficiency in their areas of work.
5. Team Player
One of the most preferred qualities of working in the healthcare industry is teamwork. An early telltale sign of whether or not a candidate or recent hire is going to be a good hire is their ability to work with others in a collaborative environment like the healthcare industry. Recruiters often ask potential hires how well they usually gel or interact with other team members, but it can be difficult to identify what's candidate-speak and what's genuine based on their past experience. One way to identify whether or not a candidate is truly a team player is to potentially have them fill out a personality quizzes
or ask a host of scenario questions to identify whether or not they truly prefer collaborative environments or like to operate solo. Team players make great hires because of their ability to work towards a shared goal, and in the healthcare industry that shared goal is a patient's health.
An ambitious and self-confident employee is often motivated to scale greater heights throughout their career. If harnessed correctly, this vigor can increase workplace efficiency and productivity. Identifying an employee who has ambitious qualities can be a struggle, but there are a few ways that healthcare organizations and employers can do it. The first method is by opening up tasks to the employee. Are they willing to take on the new challenge, or do they avoid new challenges when they arrive? Employees who are ambitious will be ready to take up new challenges and opportunities without much upheaval.
7. Strong Work Ethic
Although it is not always easy to spot a candidate or job seeker with a strong work ethic. When one is found, every effort must be made to hire and keep them motivated. Employees with strong work ethics often focus their mind on achieving organizational objectives and goals. Employees who have a stronger work ethic can also be trusted to make independent and meaningful contributions without direct supervision all the time. This not only saves the organization time but also money because they don't have to constantly monitor the employee endlessly. Instead, supervisors can then direct their efforts elsewhere.
Identifying a candidate's work ethic is hard but it can be done. One fantastic way is to look at their prior work history and achievements and evaluate them from an outside perspective. In addition, an employee's work ethic can be tracked by their performance over a longer period of time. How do they do over a longer period of time and what does their performance look like? Employees who have a history of performing well over time often have fantastic work ethics.
8. Excellent Verbal and Written Communication
Communication ranks high among the most desirable skills in the workplace and it is often a telltale sign of a candidate or employee who will make a good hire. Besides excellent written and verbal communication, the ability to maintain good eye contact is a desirable trait when communicating with other people. Recruiters should focus on these traits when hiring staff in all open positions, from customer service to senior management positions.
Other Important Skills To Identify a Good HIre
The other desirable skillsets for attracting a great hire and identifying them include leadership skills, organizational skills, and active listening. Employees with leadership qualities can easily take up future leadership or management positions and provide additional value to the organization and employer like we mentioned above. This skill also places them at a vantage point to lead and train other team members which will prove vital to fostering more good hires down the line.
New hires and employees without leadership qualities can still help the company achieve its objectives using their organizational skills, which can always improve workplace efficiency. Prospects with active listening skills are able to learn quickly on the job and execute their assigned tasks seamlessly.
There are plenty of additional skills that can often make a candidate a good hire or prove to be a good hire in the long run, you just have to be open to identifying them when evaluating potential candidates.
Establish a Hiring Guide and Staff Development Policy
Every healthcare institution and organization that aspires to be the best in patient service needs to have a comprehensive guide that targets the best candidates for every position available. The hiring and training guide must effectively cover the hiring process and staff orientation. Staff orientation is important as it gives new job hire’s an impression of what to expect of the employer and vice versa. Once the applicant is hired a training and development program should kick in. Establishing a hiring guide and training process is essential to ensure that each employee receives all the tools of the trade that they need to be an efficient employee, otherwise the quality of employee will suffer from one to the other.
If a policy is not in place or needs to be reviewed, the organization can appoint senior staff to formulate a draft guideline for staff hiring, training, and development. From here the draft is sent to the top leadership for review and approval before it is finally adopted. The speed of implementation will depend on the approval process. According to the University of Kansas, Center for Community Development
the following questions should be considered when drafting the hiring guide:
- What kind of job hire are you looking for?
- What can you afford in terms of staff remuneration?
- How will the structure of the hiring process look like?
- How many stages of interview are you looking at?
- How do you pick and notify successful candidates?
- Will you alert the unsuccessful candidates?
- Will you provide a contract or other forms of agreement to successful candidates?
- How do you intend to evaluate the new hires?
Since these queries are broader they may apply to any organization, not just the healthcare industry. Outsourcing or appointing a senior staff member to review the hiring guide and training policies will also help to free up resources that might otherwise be taken up and ensure that clear guidance is given. When too many people are involved in the process, the message can become convoluted and send confusing messages. While articulating the expectations, the employer should not veer off the company's mission and philosophy. If these aspects are addressed adequately, the employer will have a complete working structure to hire the type of workers they want and shape the company culture to improve the rate at which they make every hire a good hire.
Offer Staff Training Sessions
Employed workers are expected to use their skills to fulfill the obligations assigned to them, but sometimes they lack the skills necessary to do it efficiently. Every organization should train staff in order to sharpen their skills or bring them up to speed with the desired changes. Since staff training is an ongoing process and requirement, all the things the organization believes in should also be incorporated in the training manual. Training can be carried out using formal and informal techniques. Formal training can be accomplished through direct instruction, a planned tour of facilities, direct supervision and organized meetings.
The informal methods of training include on-job learning, informal meetings and staff visitation. To make the training more responsive to the needs of the organization, the focus should be on long term professional development. Besides sharpening skills and teaching staff new skills, professional development can provide an audit on overall staff competence and innovation. Developmental training of staff can be conducted and encouraged through in-house service training and workshops. The employer can also sponsor workers for external courses and conferences in line with job hire guidelines and staff development policy.
When an open position becomes available in an organization, the HR office is tasked with finding the right candidates to fill the position in the shortest time possible. Before the best candidates are shortlisted, the HR office will scour over the applications to find the resumes and profiles that match the requirements. Although technical or hard skills are crucial in assessing the suitability of workers, it is also vital to look at the soft skills of the applicants to get a more complete picture and identify the best hire.
Ensuring that every hire is a good hire is a tall task, and it often takes time and practice to continually refine recruitment practices, training methodology, and candidate evaluations to ensure that each hire proves to be a long term asset. Organizations can set themselves up for success with a commitment to continually refine their hiring and employee evaluation process to ensure they support their staff in their commitment to foster employee success.