Filling the healthcare talent gap: When should healthcare organizations outsource their recruiting?

Try as you might, it’s nearly impossible to avoid conversation surrounding healthcare.

Consumers are demanding better outcomes, more services and greater access to their healthcare. The media is covering the industry around the clock, whether it is challenges brought on by staffing shortages or shifting American sentiment on the industry overall.

As competition has gotten fiercer than ever, people are looking for the best, most advanced treatment options delivered by the very best talent the industry has to offer. Only the organizations that boast the best talent will be able to remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry.

Unfortunately, finding high-quality talent in healthcare is easier said than done.

Healthcare is already one of the most demanded industry verticals, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with growth driven by an aging population with increasing demands from their healthcare. Estimates say that healthcare employment will grow by 18 percent per year over the next ten years, adding nearly 2.4 million new jobs. And of the 10 jobs that the BLS projects will grow the fastest during the next 10 years, half are in healthcare and elderly assistance.

Obviously, this is creating quite a challenging environment for all healthcare organizations. Combine this high demand with an aging healthcare workforce and the situation quickly becomes a crisis. The average age of a nurse is 51, and given the emotional and physical requirements of the job, most nurses wish to retire in their mid to late 50s.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Department of Labor, there will be 574,400 new registered nurse (RN) openings over the next ten years and 555,100 retirements. To fill all those vacancies, the industry has a net need of just about 1.13 million new RNs. Again, another challenge for those looking to hire healthcare talent – numbers of suitable applicants fall short of filling the void and meeting growth projections. Right now, there are simply not enough new RN graduates to fill the void and meet these growth projections.

Ending Recruitment Denial with Strategies to Fill the Talent Gap
Still, today many healthcare organizations report their recruitment challenge only as a process issue. They claim they have enough candidates, but they are unable to process them efficiently and effectively, and that’s what’s resulting in low hiring rates. However, that justification usually misses the point. As one issue is seemingly resolved, many organizations quickly discover they also have a candidate sourcing problem. There simply are not enough candidates being driven through the system to meet all of their hiring requirements.

So, what can healthcare organizations do to meet their hiring requirements and aggressive business plans? Some have built sophisticated, robust internal recruitment teams. Done correctly, this strategy can help mitigate some of the talent demand issue. However, this is not always a suitable answer.

The cost of a corporate recruiter has increased dramatically over the past few years with the average nurse recruiter making $83,643 annually. And, given market demand, a nurse recruiter will almost always have numerous employment options, ultimately resulting in a high turnover rate. At Yoh, we have personally witnessed healthcare organizations being forced to replace their recruitment staff multiple times annually. And with hiring requirements going up and down throughout the year, it can result in a disparity in the number of recruitment staff at any given time. So, what does an organization do?

The Case for RPO
One viable option to consider is Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). This strategy is where the healthcare organization outsources either the entire recruitment function or pieces and parts of the process to a third-party firm, augmenting the core team that already exists.

RPO staff augmentation services have gained popularity over the past several years. This is where the organization maintains a smaller corporate core recruitment team and then augments its team with external resources based on real-time hiring requirements. This approach tends to be less invasive to the organization than full talent lifecycle outsourcing.

The RPO staff augmentation solution can be used for all job openings or only for specific skill sets. The program provides scalability without the same fixed expense while also delivering talent acquisition expertise who have the tools to discover, attract and train the best talent with advanced technology, sourcing tools, artificial intelligence and recruitment process automation. This seamless approach commonly includes candidate sourcing and screening activities, especially for clinical positions like RNs.

Here are just a small sample of the benefits that organizations can get when working with a highly qualified RPO partner.

• A partnership tied to performance with service-level agreements
• Access to recruitment expertise with a consultative approach
• Recruitment processes based on best practices and benchmarked data
• Scalability without the same fixed expense
• Seamless extension of your core corporate recruitment team
• Consistent delivery team and a dramatically lower recruiter turnover rate
• Greater visibility into the recruitment process with robust recruitment metrics
• Access to predictive tools without a capital investment
• More qualified candidate traffic
• Timely, better fit hires

What’s important to note about effective RPO programs is that they are decidedly not one-size-fits-all. Any partner claiming to offer a plug-and-play program to fit an organization’s healthcare recruiting needs isn’t one worth working with. An effective RPO program has to be configured to the very specific needs and, equally as importantly, the cultural requirements of the client organization. Without both elements factored into program design, an RPO cannot be fully successful.

The old concerns about losing control of recruitment with RPO were always false and are even more so today. In fact, the organization will almost assuredly have better insight into recruitment than it ever had before with the robust metrics many RPO providers offer today. After just a few weeks into the RPO relationship, the provider should feel like an extension of the organization itself and a trusted partner that can be relied on to find, source and retain needed healthcare talent.

With today’s ultra-challenging healthcare recruiting landscape, it requires a partner who can help ease the stress of talent acquisition and deliver skilled professionals that truly allow an organization to gain a competitive edge.

More often than not, the medication to alleviate that recruiting pain is a sophisticated RPO program.

About Kim Davis
Kim Davis is the Vice President of Sales at Yoh and a recognized RPO thought leader and pioneer in the RPO space. He boasts senior executive leadership experience on both sides of the desk, including corporate HR, career management, consulting, staffing and outsourcing. With more than 30 years of experience in talent management, Kim was awarded E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year 2006.

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