Four trends to watch in healthcare recruiting

Healthcare Talent Shortage Persists

The looming shortage of healthcare talent continues to plague hospitals, health systems and medical groups, as the labor market grows ever tighter. While unemployment for healthcare workers is near a 10-year low, the sector added 31,000 in the month of December 2017. The trend is expected to continue, with healthcare adding about 2.3 million new jobs from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This makes healthcare the fastest growing occupation in the country, but without enough skilled people entering the workforce to fill the gap.

Why a Strong Employer Brand Matters
In an effort to more effectively compete in a fierce labor market, many healthcare organizations have turned their attention to strengthening their employer brand, and for good reason. Research shows organizations with strong employer brands attract twice the number of applicants per job compared to other companies, reports LinkedIn. They are also 40% less likely to lose new hires after the first six months, and they enjoy a 43% decrease in cost per hire.
To date, however, most employer branding efforts have focused inward to improve organizational culture and employee engagement. What most healthcare employers have yet to master is how to harness these efforts externally – leveraging employees and recruiters as ambassadors to build their employer brand among passive and active job candidates.

Getting Ahead with ‘Precision Recruiting’
Forward-thinking healthcare organizations are targeting employer branding strategies specifically on passive and active job seekers -- going beyond broad-sweeping employee videos and corporate career websites to customize communications at the recruitment level, based on unique talent profiles. We call this “Precision Recruiting,” which requires content that is relevant, credible and most important, specific to each candidate audience.

As a result, four employer branding trends to watch each support healthcare organizations’ ability to become more precise in their recruiting efforts, in other words more targeted, accurate and engaging.

1. Data-Driven Approach to Personalized Recruitment
Big data is playing a huge role not only in clinical care delivery, but also in attracting the right employees to your organization to improve cultural fit and retention. With communication vehicles more targeted than ever and job seekers expecting greater personalization, blanketed job alerts and templated job descriptions are becoming obsolete.

Remember, for job seekers a career search is highly personal. To prevail, healthcare organizations must connect with job candidates on the cultural and lifestyle aspects of a job that matter most to them, not just the technical skills requirements.
Ironically, it is data that allows this level of personal connection. Big data gathered from real employees can help recruiters customize their recruiting strategy, based on the specific job, location and candidate profile they’re targeting. Imagine having insight on what is most appealing about your organization to the experienced primary care physician in New York City versus the GenY RN in Seattle. That’s the advantage data intelligence can provide recruiters.

2. Growing Importance of Unique and Relevant Job Content
While personalization is a tremendous competitive advantage on the “human” side of recruiting, on the technical side of recruiting it may very well become a fundamental requirement. Search technologies, such as Google, that focus on the relevance and uniqueness of content are taking the lead in terms of organic search optimization. For example, algorithms that are scouring the Internet to serve up the best possible quality of information to meet the browser’s needs, are measuring relevance in terms of shares with like users. If similar people in your circle are sharing certain information, it is probably more relevant to you. Uniqueness is being measured as content that does not appear anywhere else, according to recruitment technology experts. In which case, standard job description language and templated job posts may actually hurt the search results for job posts in the future.

So, ongoing management and customization of job content – not just for customization’s sake – but in a manner that better targets and resonates with specific job candidates and creates a more technically unique job description will be winners.

3. Measuring & Leveraging Employee Brand Advocacy as a Recruitment Asset
It’s no secret that with social media and online employer rating sources, employer transparency has reached unprecedented heights. With the touch of a button, today’s job seekers can find out the inside scoop on what it’s like to work at a certain facility. In fact, the average job seeker reads at least six reviews in the process of forming an opinion on an organization, according to Glassdoor. What is changing, however, is the growing level of influence employee opinions have among job seekers. For instance, people trust content shared by employees of a company more than that shared by its CEO (55% vs. 49%), reports the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer. That makes an organization’s workforce one of its greatest recruitment assets.

Leading healthcare employers are adjusting their recruitment strategies to leverage this important asset. This begins with getting a handle on the strength of an organization’s employee brand advocacy – knowing how many employees are likely to proactively refer an employer to friends and family, and how many are likely to share or post positive stories about their workplace. Equally important is understanding why. The real reasons people love working for a facility may vary widely from what senior management believes it is. It may also vary among different functions, such as clinical integration versus information technology, or among locations, like San Francisco versus Houston. Armed with such intelligence, the goal is to internally promote employer pro’s while improving, or at least explaining the restraints that govern the con’s. Frequent communication and transparency will help align your internal and external employer reputation, and it will increase the number of employee brand advocates.

4. Predictive Analytics Streamline Job Board Spend through Improved Accuracy
With a proliferation of recruitment channels in recent years, employers are spending billions annually to be in all the right places – large job boards, specialized job boards and pay-for-performance recruitment sites. So much so, there is now a movement toward consolidating job boards to be in fewer, more effective places. The goal: Spend less with the same or better sourcing results.
Predictive analytics tools are playing a huge role by helping employers identify the most effective time of year, or even time of day, that a particular job in a specific city should run on a certain job board – if at all. By eliminating the spend on non-performing strategies, whether that means using a certain job board for janitors but not nurses, or running a certain job post for seven days instead of thirty, employers are realizing significant savings while improving the number of candidates sourced.

The next trend in optimizing recruitment marketing budgets is to couple greater accuracy in where job posts and job ads appear, along with greater accuracy of information by customizing content by the position’s industry, function and geographic location.

Creating a Consistent, Credible Experience Across all Candidate Touch Points
Healthcare employers must remember that with low unemployment rates and growing job opportunities, competition for healthcare providers and other in-demand skills is severe. If your facility is pursuing top performers, it’s safe to assume these candidates are interviewing with other employers, as well. That is why creating a consistent, credible and responsive candidate experience is so important.

Consistency of information and credibility go hand in hand. From the first conversation a doctor or nurse has with a recruiter to third-party review sites and in-person interviews, ensuring as much consistency as possible is essential to maintaining credibility. This will not only help employers better compete for talent, it will also help paint a clear picture of the culture and expectations of the job and attract better fit candidates.

About the Author
Liza Palermo is a 25-year recruitment industry executive and co-founder of RecruitmentBrandIQ, an innovative talent marketing agency that helps large employers enhance recruitment effectiveness by taking a data-driven approach to on-point recruitment messaging and marketing programs.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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