Attracting and Retaining Talent in Healthcare

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According to the Society for Human Resource Management editor Roy Maurer, the talent gap in healthcare has placed organizations in competition for the best talent. If your organization seeks to both attract and retain talent in healthcare, you may need to adopt new strategies.

Digital Media Could Reach More Talented Professionals

A medical professional uses technology.

As more professionals use mobile technology and social media, healthcare organizations may need to change how they market to prospective employees. One of Maurer’s suggestions relates to social media and mobile devices. He noted that 80 percent of respondents to a healthcare employment survey reported using online job boards to find career opportunities. He also suggested that healthcare providers should create mobile-friendly career pages and other online portals to avoid deterring potential staff members.

Maurer has proposed using professional social media sites to aid in finding qualified job candidates. Many healthcare organizations create LinkedIn accounts, but other professional social media sites exist for the healthcare community, such as AllNurses, Doximity, and Quantia MD. Maurer further revealed that LinkedIn’s involvement with global hiring decisions increased by more than 70 percent between 2011 and 2015.

In an interview for Healthcare Dive, HealthcareSource Chief Marketing Officer David Wilkins suggested to author Meg Bryant that career websites can also become critical places for attracting new talent in the healthcare industry. He advised organizations to create dedicated career pages on institution websites to inform potential hires about new job openings.

Wilkins further advised healthcare organizations to invest in tracking and analysis software to automatically screen candidates, track applicants, and ease the onboarding process. This type of software program can automatically compare keywords and phrases in resumes and other data sources against the organization’s needs. Using data analysis could help healthcare leaders find the best candidates in the talent pool more quickly than the competition.

In a roundtable discussion for MM&M magazine, Robin Roberts of Concentric Health Experience noted that healthcare organizations have begun to make hiring decisions more rapidly than in the past. According to Roberts, healthcare administrators previously met with candidates several times before arriving at a hiring decision, but that trend has faded.

Roberts advocates for a refined vetting process, which could include technology that allows healthcare administrators to quickly filter resumes, perhaps searching for desired qualities, skill sets, and educational backgrounds.

Benefits Packages Could Prove More Important Than Salary

While technology can attract top talent to a healthcare organization, administrators may need more resources to attract top-tier candidates to their organizations. Bloomberg reporter Rebecca Greenfield called benefits “the new salary.” According to Greenfield, job candidates across industries continue to rank pay as one of the highest drivers, especially among millennials, but benefits have become increasingly important.

Greenfield noted that work-life balance continues to hold a greater emphasis in job decisions. She also cited interest in mission-based cultures as a significant influencer among millennials and other generations, which could fit well with a healthcare setting.

In his interview with Healthcare Dive, Wilkins noted that employee wellness programs can help retain top talent after hiring. Both Wilkins and Greenfield noted that many hospitals and other healthcare providers have begun to improve their benefits packages to better attract talent.

Wilkins also recommends creating internal policies that appeal to healthcare employees. Specifically, he suggested that healthcare administrators promote talent from within and invite employees to transfer to other locations if they need to move. For example, larger healthcare systems may allow employees to move to different institutions when necessary. Instead of losing a valued employee, organizations can shift their professional teams to areas within the same network.

Other benefits that may help retain talent in healthcare include the following:

  • Extended vacation or sick time
  • Opportunities to telecommute, such as telemedicine
  • On-site child care
  • Extended paid training
  • Improved retirement and pension programs

Healthcare organizations can use surveys and other methods to gain feedback from staff about offerings they would like to see in benefits packages.

High-Stress Positions Can Inspire Rapid Turnover

Even with attractive benefits and a short hiring timeline, healthcare organizations may still struggle to retain employees if the workplace stress level is high. According to Tim Flanagan of Health Care Recruiters International, frustrating obstacles can increase employee turnover.

Flanagan used nursing paperwork as an example. If nurses believe that they spend too much time on administrative tasks and too little time with their patients, they may feel compelled to seek employment elsewhere.

Specifically, Flanagan recommended ensuring that each employee receives a balanced workload. While you may not want employees to spend idle time at the nursing station, you also do not want them to feel overwhelmed by stress, which can lead to mistakes.

Flanagan also noted that 21st-century healthcare professionals seek growth and education. According to Flanagan, providing workplace education and opportunities for growth can improve employee retention. Cross-training, in-house promotions, and learning events can all contribute to employee satisfaction at the workplace.

Bryan Warren of Select International Healthcare further suggested that, based on HealthStream research, employees tend to stay with an organization longer if they receive regular encouragement. Acknowledging employee talents, skills, and overall effort may build goodwill and reduce the amount of employee turnover.

Warren stated that employees who work night shifts, for example, may feel out of touch with the workplace community, especially when special events or encouragement opportunities occur. He recommended beginning such initiatives with night-shift employees so that workers feel connected to the organization and appreciated.

Finally, Warren noted that “inboarding” can become as critical as onboarding to attracting and retaining talent. Healthcare organizations may sometimes fill their onboarding process with high energy and engagement but then fail to follow through on the deliverables. According to Warren, maintaining that engagement can prove critical to reducing employee turnover.

Regardless of the stage of your career, knowing how to attract and retain talent can help you become a strong leader as you enter healthcare administration. Professionals seeking opportunities to guide talent attraction and recruitment in healthcare can benefit from an advanced education.

Explore New England College’s online Master of Science in Management – Healthcare Administration degree to learn about the program’s application of specialized healthcare industry theory and practice in a collaborative and flexible online environment.



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