5 Recruitment Strategies in Healthcare to Address Long-Term Challenges
Over the last two years, healthcare organizations have faced unprecedented challenges. Hospital employment declined by nearly 94,000 jobs since February 2020, and an analysis of Emsi data forecasts a critical shortage of 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026.
In healthcare, recruiting and hiring isn’t a minor pain point; it’s crucial to organizational success. Even so, focusing only on how to recruit healthcare professionals misses the big picture: Organizations need to establish strong processes that draw in high-performing workers while reducing attrition and promoting engagement.
Below, we’ll address several effective methods for recruiting healthcare professionals who can make valuable contributions to your organization.
From recruiting to onboarding, Perceptyx’s platform provides the resources healthcare leaders need to make data-driven decisions about the candidate and new hire experiences. Learn more by scheduling a demo.
Recruitment Strategies In Healthcare: 5 Tactics To Adopt
One obvious solution for improving recruitment is to increase compensation and total rewards. If your organization offers a competitive total compensation package with excellent pay, benefits, and perks, that’s an important selling point. However, while total compensation might attract employees, it won’t necessarily retain them, and the increased compensation for traveler nurses has made it difficult for many healthcare systems to compete with these high wages. Therefore, organizations must find methods beyond total rewards to attract (and retain) talent.
1. Develop a strong Employee Value Proposition (EVP), then communicate it clearly.
In my article on healthcare employee retention, I noted the importance of having a comprehensive employee listening strategy to identify the factors that drive commitment. Those factors are closely aligned with the Employee Value Proposition (EVP): the benefits employees receive from their employers in exchange for their hard work and commitment. An enticing EVP is a competitive advantage during this talent war, communicating benefits in the employee experience that applicants won’t find elsewhere.
Communicating a strong EVP that aligns with peoples’ goals and desires not only helps improve recruiting of active applicants, but it can also help attract passive candidates to your organization, expanding your applicant pool. Key aspects of your organization’s EVP beyond total rewards (compensation, benefits) can include:
- Company culture and values and how collaboration, coworkers, and leaders support that culture
- Opportunities for development and advancement
- Opportunities for empowerment and well-being
- Feelings of accomplishment and contribution to meaningful work
- Trust in leaders and their vision for the future of the organization
- Diverse, equitable, and inclusive experiences where all can thrive
A strong EVP improves employee retention, and it’s also critically important when recruiting and hiring. What advantages does your organization offer nurses, doctors, and technicians that they can’t find elsewhere? What can it provide to maintenance workers, coders, and interpreters?
To find out, ask your engaged employees for insights into why they joined the organization, what they love about their experiences, and why they stay. It is important to keep asking these questions because Perceptyx research shows what is important to employees can change over time. Surveys can help revamp your EVP, which can make your organization more appealing to qualified candidates.
2. Create specific messages for different types of employees.
You’ll need to clearly communicate your EVP to every applicant in order to fill roles. Even so, each candidate has different priorities, and an effective recruiting process will take these differences into consideration.
Consider adopting a persona-based strategy to tailor your approach. Personas identify trends among current employees and applicants, allowing recruiters to tailor their strategies and messages by highlighting certain aspects of the organization’s EVP that are most important and appealing to different types of applicants.
For example, organizational culture is especially important for hiring younger talent; if an organization doesn’t empower diverse perspectives and offer opportunities to thrive, Gen Z workers will look elsewhere. A recent Tallo study found 99% of Gen Z (defined within the study as born after 1996) identified diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace as an important factor, and 87% defined it as “very important.”
When communicating with recent graduates, your organization might highlight its achievements in building an equitable, inclusive environment. You can demonstrate how your culture rewards workers and facilitates feelings of belonging, helping to attract and retain workers who share these same values.
3. Establish a priority to hire from within.
Employees won’t stay if they can’t grow within your organization. Although career growth does not only mean vertical advancement – continuous learning, special projects, training programs, and other stretch assignments can be similarly effective – hiring existing talent rather than external applicants to fill roles not only benefits the organization but also fulfills employees’ desires for career advancement.
By hiring from within, you’ll reward highly engaged, productive employees for their work. Additionally, the strategy shows other workers that career growth is possible. You’ll also maintain organizational knowledge and talent, which limits the costs of training and onboarding.
When promoting employees, performance review surveys and career development surveys can offer useful insights. You’ll need to determine whether employees remain engaged after promotions, whether engagement increases within their department, and whether your career development programs generate the intended benefits. For workers, these moments matter – and you’ll need to listen to ensure their expectations are aligned with your organization’s intentions.
4. Market your job opportunities to the emerging workforce.
Every healthcare organization should maintain a presence on job boards to draw experienced applicants. However, it’s also important to establish relationships with academic institutions; many talented candidates left the healthcare field entirely in 2021, but enrollment in medical schools and nursing programs increased substantially over the past year.
Unlike other industries, much of the healthcare workforce requires extensive training. By building relationships, healthcare organizations can facilitate excitement about the healthcare space.
In an American Medical Association webinar, Dr. Susan Turney of Marshfield Clinic Health System (WI) shared how talent recruitment is especially challenging for her organization’s rural health system. Marshfield partnered with University of Wisconsin’s school of nursing to provide onsite training, which has opened a pipeline of talent to help improve recruitment and retention of highly trained staff. Truney’s health system also partners with the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to provide clinical training with their academic programs.
Some organizations have taken additional steps to build their career pipelines. Norton Healthcare, a Kentucky-based health system, partnered with Jefferson County Public Schools to establish an academy for high school students. The academy provides job shadowing, internships, and volunteering opportunities with the long-term goal of addressing future employee retention challenges.
5. Make your hiring and recruitment processes as efficient as possible.
In healthcare, applicants are also customers: Each potential hire may have been your patient in the past, or they might be your patient in the future. With this in mind, organizations need to build modern, simplified hiring and onboarding processes that make applicants feel valued. Even if an applicant isn’t accepted, you’ll avoid negatively impacting their feelings about the organization.
Candidate experience surveys can be useful for identifying gaps between what the organization believes it does well and candidates’ expectations. Key aspects of an efficient hiring and recruitment process include:
- Quick, user-friendly applications
- Clear communication regarding job expectations
- Clear communication of total compensation and EVP
- Responsive recruiters with clear expectations of next steps
Remember, realistic job previews are also critical to ensure applicants understand the role. Don’t oversell a particular position. When worker expectations are misaligned with reality, early employee turnover is virtually inevitable. Accurately describing a role might reduce the number of applicants in the front end, but it’s a more cost-effective approach in the long run.
Onboarding surveys provide an opportunity to ask questions about the transition to the workplace and the accuracy of job descriptions. By understanding the candidate and new hire experiences, you can refine your messaging and processes when needed.
Address Challenges in Recruiting and Hiring with Perceptyx
Perceptyx is an employee listening platform that connects data from different listening channels – including lifecycle surveys, engagement surveys, and crowdsourcing – to empower better decisions. In healthcare, leaders need to demonstrate they’re willing to take action based on feedback.
If you’re not engaging in an active dialogue with your employees and applicants, you’re missing opportunities to promote engagement, reduce turnover, and improve recruitment. Contact Perceptyx today to see how the platform can help your organization hire more effectively.