Hire faster and smarter with open networks

I recently read a piece on this site that laid out the hiring plans of several healthcare facilities, and how they’re working to find solutions to the ongoing issue of finding new talent while retaining their existing workforce.

Current hiring practices are still relying on the same practices, and in the rapidly changing healthcare landscape where employers are often competing for the same candidates, staying the same is tantamount to falling behind.

Healthcare facilities are moving toward new solutions to hiring challenges, although many display hesitations when it comes to fully embracing these ideas.

In order to thrive in this industry, hospitals and healthcare facilities need to rely on open networks for hiring, rather than closed ones.

The restrictiveness of a closed network

Whether they realize it or not, most healthcare facilities are stuck in a closed network when searching for talent.

One example of a closed network is a job fair. While job fairs can be good tactics for attracting talent, they’re limited in several ways. The first is the difficulty of publicizing the event. You can rely on social media, or local advertising, but there’s no guarantee that these channels will reach the people you want. Second, nurses and other healthcare professionals have demanding schedules, and they may either not have the day off, or they may be so tired that they don’t want to go to a job fair.

Another example might be a recruiter who has a finite amount of contacts, and is only able to reach out to a small group of candidates. They’re limited, not just by their contacts, but also by the hours they work. As a result, these recruiters end up recycling the same candidates over and over.

What’s required to solve this issue is not as simple as trying to hire more nurses and doctors — demand will simply continue to rise without the supply increasing.

One step toward more open networks

One solution to these tactics is an employee referral program. Your employees are your biggest champions, and are going to be the best resources you have for reaching other new candidates. The statistics around employee referral programs are encouraging — referred employees stay in their positions longer, have better productivity, and produce higher quality work.

However, even these networks are limited, since you’re still relying on a finite number of people to reach out to their connections. It’s still essentially a windowless room. There’s also the issue of conflicting priorities. If you offer your employees a bonus for referring new candidates, you may run into an issue where some employees spend more time chasing the bonuses than performing their actual jobs.

Enter the open network.

The true hallmark of an open network is the ability to find top candidates without being hampered by location or time. I’ve written here about the potential advantages of crowdsourcing for healthcare hiring, which is one of the best ways hospital systems can open their networks. These virtual platforms allow healthcare professionals to refer their networks, any time, anywhere.

Crowdsourcing as an extension of open networks

An open network relies on what author and journalist James Surowiecki refers to as The Wisdom of Crowds. In his book of the same name, Surowiecki details why a wise crowd can be relied on to make better decisions than a single person alone.

There are four characteristics of a wise crowd: diversity of opinion (every member of the crowd has his or her own opinion), independence (those opinions aren’t based on the other members of the crowd), decentralization (each member draws on his or her specialties and local knowledge), and aggregation (a mechanism exists to turn those individual opinions into a collective decision).

Crowdsourced hiring invokes these same principles. It brings together a diverse group of people who are able to form their own opinions about what makes a great candidate, and these referrers are specialized in their various niches and areas. They are able to use the referral portal as their method of aggregation, and as a result, help employers use technology to make faster, smarter hires.

To fully implement these open networks, leaders in the healthcare industry need to make the commitment to embrace new technologies and ideas. The longer we hold on to old hiring practices, the more the best talent will pass us by. We need to move toward the open networks provided by crowdsourced solutions in order to attract and retain better candidates, and to push the industry forward.

About the author:

Matthew Tant is a healthcare staffing industry veteran who has worked every facet of the business, from recruiter to CEO. In 2010 he founded a healthcare care technology staffing firm which became one of the fastest growing healthcare staffing firms in the U.S. In 2015, he launched Relode, a crowdsourced recruiting platform that is on a mission to create a new standard of value, service, and innovation.

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