3 Tips for Hospitals to Improve Employee Recruitment

Although many hospitals and healthcare systems have recently instituted layoffs to stay afloat, some healthcare organizations are still having trouble filling their open positions. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 48 percent of nursing jobs and 39 percent of allied health jobs go unfilled on average for six weeks or longer.

Vacant positions in healthcare organizations can lead to a myriad of issues, including lower employee moral and higher voluntary turnover. So why are so many positions remaining vacant? According CareerBuilder, the most common reason is that organizations are getting applicants who do not have relevant or enough experience for the position.

Fortunately, there are several things hospitals and health systems can do to either build up or bring in candidates with more experience and improve their employee recruitment efforts as a whole. Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare, shares three tips here.

1. Develop pathways to build employee experience. One option for organizations is to accept employees who are new graduates or have less experience and build them into model employees. For nursing positions in particular, hospitals can create post-licensure internship programs for newly graduated nurses that "help new graduates bridge the experience gap," Mr. Lovelace says. Hospitals can also offer paid residency programs for new graduates so they can gain experience.

No matter how a hospital builds employee experience, developing pathway programs is important for the industry as a whole, according to Mr. Lovelace. "Without adequate opportunities to gain experience at the entry level, many young nursing professionals may leave the field in a decade when the demand for nursing jobs is expected to grow nearly twice the rate of the average occupation," he says.

2. Attract more experienced candidates. Of course, while hospitals build pathways to strengthen workers' experience, they can also take steps to attract experienced workers to the job in the first place. To do so, Mr. Lovelace offers the following two tips:

Understand candidates' needs and wants. For instance, if an experienced candidate is willing to work in a high-stress environment with inflexible hours, he or she is likely looking for competitive compensation from a hospital. On the other hand, many veteran healthcare workers may crave flexible hours and more work-life balance. "It's all a matter of the organization becoming creative in what it can offer, while simultaneously respecting the motives and goals of the experienced candidate," Mr. Lovelace says.

Emphasize the employment brand. An employment brand is what sets the organization apart from market competitors. "When organizations successfully showcase their workplace culture, it makes it much easier for a candidate to envision themselves as part of the team," explains Mr. Lovelace. This can include showing candidates career path and development opportunities offered by the organization.

3. Improve recruitment overall. One final way for hospitals and health systems to prevent extended vacancies is to take proactive steps to improve their recruiting strategy. Mr. Lovelace suggests using data to get ahead of the recruitment curve and anticipate gaps in staff. "Workforce planning and analytics will be a driving force for healthcare recruitment in the coming years," he says. "Recruiters who use this data wisely will be able to see potential skill shortages far enough in advance to look for talent in new markets or adjust compensation preemptively," he says.

Additionally, healthcare organizations can use continuous recruitment strategies to build a pipeline of candidates to consider as soon as a position opens. Mr. Lovelace says one of the ways to do this is by connecting with candidates and receiving resumes through talent networks. That way, when a position opens, recruiters will have a pool of candidates who have already expressed interest in the opportunity.

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