A major healthcare organization built a blueprint for talent acquisition in the pandemic and beyond.
By Debbie Bolla
Every industry is experiencing talent challenges, and healthcare is no exception. So, it has never been a more important time than now to face the key issues when it comes to your talent acquisition strategy. “For all the different things we talk about with TA, they can all fall under several fundamental areas, and these areas, in turn, influence each other,” says Amy Bush, President of Sevenstep.
TA teams can build a solid foundation for their approach if:
- they understand the real cost of workers for given skills;
- job requirements are aligned to reach the best talent;
- the TA function is responsive and flexible;
- employer brand helps attract and retain talent;
- there’s a measurable DEI strategy;
- the tech stack empowers hiring and can grow with the organization’s needs; and
- there’s ‘total talent’ visibility to all possible workers.
Armed with answers and insights, TA leaders will be able to implement a proactive approach that can tackle any obstacles that come their way. Bush recalls a major U.S.-based healthcare client that had much success with this structured strategy. “2020 was a very tough year, but a lot of people outside the healthcare industry probably don’t realize that, from a talent acquisition perspective, 2021 brought on its own new challenges,” says Bush.
The labor market saw many shifts, with employees leaving the workforce and not returning and others opting for remote environments instead of onsite work. Healthcare workers were still facing safety concerns with a host of new COVID-19 variants in addition to the high demand for other healthcare-related services.
“In healthcare, in particular, new roles were created, and existing roles changed in a short window of time,” says Bush. Despite these challenges, one healthcare client had to fill more than thousands of critical roles in six months. How was it possible?
The team leaned on a multitiered talent acquisition blueprint to understand the gaps and to gain recruitment and hiring efficiencies. They could look at the current conditions and changing needs to make the necessary pivots to the following factors.
- Job requirements. It’s essential to ensure that employees are working at the proper level for their certification. It would be a loss for an organization if an RN performs the tasks of a lower-cost medical technician. Through skills mapping, the organization benefited from savings on the overall cost of talent.
- Cost. With high competition for labor, organizations can benefit from a clear understanding of the market rate for certain skill levels. Bush says historical insight, current market data, and predictive analytics can give an accurate view of what organizations need to pay for the type of talent they need. This right mix of skills and certifications can deliver the best results at the right cost.
- An effective tech stack. Today’s technology should enable recruiters to accomplish any task that can be automated quickly—no more sifting through resumes and manually scheduling interviews. Plus, dashboards and reporting can offer the visibility needed to pinpoint exactly where an improvement is required. For example, Bush says this healthcare organization was experiencing a bottleneck in the onboarding process, so it moved to two hiring days per week versus one. The result was a process that dramatically improved speed in hiring.
- DEI. By taking steps to align their job requirements to attract all available talent, the healthcare system achieved a solid representation among diverse groups in their talent pool. With the right technology, the organization could view the candidate slate from every angle and remove any potential biases.
- Employer brand. Being a major consumer brand, the healthcare organization needed to provide an efficient process with a focused message to keep candidates engaged. Care was taken to ensure it applied to both permanent hires and flexible workers.
With 8,000 open roles, the organization also needed to embrace agility. “An incredibly tight market meant you couldn’t just depend on hiring full-time employees or securing contractors to get all the work done. You needed to be open to both,” says Bush. Empowered by technology, the organization had a clear overview of all roles in order to make critical decisions around the talent type that was needed. Over the course of a year, the client split those new workers with about 45% new hires and 55% contractors.
“It was a smart set-up and absolutely had to happen to get where they needed to be,” she says.