Ways healthcare organizations are pivoting their recruitment andÂ hiring approaches to overcome the global pandemicâs challenges.
By Debbie Bolla
With the Bureau of Labor Statistics already projectingÂ the healthcare market to grow by 8.4 million jobs byÂ 2028, COVID-19 has caused an even more pressingÂ need for the right talent at the right time. ShannonÂ Levesque, vice president of talent acquisition andÂ workforce planning for Boston Childrenâs Hospital,Â is no stranger to this pressure. She says that duringÂ the pandemic, keeping employees engaged withÂ opportunities for full employment has been a mainÂ priority.
âRepurposing our internal mobility team to focus onÂ redeployment of workers across the enterprise hasÂ been key for our organization,â she explains. âOurÂ âTalent Acquisition Internal Mobility Teamâ has playedÂ a key role in that. With our partners in HRIS and in theÂ business, we created a system to identify workers withÂ time to give and matched them to appropriate jobsÂ where vacancies and opportunities were prevalent.â
Staci Roberts, executive vice president for CieloÂ Healthcare, agrees that COVID-19 has forced manyÂ organizations to find ways to maximize existing staff,Â shifting workers into open roles that allow them toÂ grow new skills while filling a business need. HealthcareÂ networks leveraging these approaches experience theÂ additional benefits of cost savings, quicker onboarding,Â and reduced training time.
Getting creative certainly has paid off for manyÂ healthcare systems. Curtis Grajeda, founder andÂ managing partner of LevelUP, gives another example.Â He says that before the onset of the pandemic, homeÂ healthcare positions were in high demand. But as stay-at-home orders were enforced, these roles experiencedÂ a steep decline in need, freeing up many workers whoÂ could pivot to much-needed, in-hospital positions.
Other outside-of-the-box strategies have helped getÂ frontline workers to where they are needed the mostâand quickly. Roberts says that itâs not uncommon toÂ engage with ârecently retired nurses and clinical staff,Â silver medalist candidates from previous searches, andÂ past voluntary terminations to help hire and onboardÂ expertise in an expedited fashion.â
In fact, she says a regional Midwestern healthÂ network leverages proactive sourcing campaigns forÂ targeted communities of qualified past employees andÂ candidates. By reengaging a previously-engaged group,Â HR leaders can expedite the process with efficiency.
Another large community healthcare system looks toÂ contingent labor to scale up quickly. âWe worked withÂ them to expand our management of contingent laborÂ for several clinical roles,â Roberts explains. âWe alsoÂ began overseeing the support for background andÂ credential checks as well as payrolling on behalf of theÂ organization. Integrating these new strategies into theÂ overall RPO partnership helped to ensure an efficientÂ process and experience for both candidates and hiringÂ managers.â
Healthcare organizations in hot spot New YorkÂ still need to consider the candidate and employeeÂ experience as demand for workers continues toÂ skyrocket. âWe encourage employers to be highlyÂ flexible with hours and days worked, and buildÂ competitive benefits packages for employees and theirÂ loved ones,â Grajeda says. âMany of the nurses alreadyÂ held full-time positions, so this was their second or thirdÂ job and, therefore, a non-traditional work schedule wasÂ key to securing talent.â
Even when filling roles in a more traditional way,Â healthcare organizations now have to step outside theÂ norm when possible, opting for tech-driven approachesÂ in lieu of face-to-face interactions.
âVideo interviewing has been widely adopted byÂ the organization, allowing recruitment to continueÂ seamlessly for our open positions,â says BostonÂ Childrenâs Levesque.Â Roberts agrees that video interviewing has led to aÂ marked improvement in hiring time and candidateÂ satisfaction for many organizations.
âCandidates can complete an interview at theirÂ own convenience, and it removes the challenge ofÂ scheduling an initial screen with the recruiter,â RobertsÂ explains. âMany workers in healthcare, especiallyÂ nurses, have unique working hours. On-demand videoÂ interviewing provides additional flexibility for theseÂ candidates, but itâs also beneficial to the TA teamsÂ and hiring managers, allowing them to review theseÂ recordings and videos during off hours.â
Levesque says that technology has played a positiveÂ role in onboarding as well. âOur onboarding team hasÂ been leveraging digital solutions and technology in anÂ effort to take advantage of the revised I-9 guidance forÂ onboarding remote workers during the pandemic.â
Virtual onboarding provides organizations withÂ many benefits, including eliminating the need for in-personÂ interaction, which speeds up the process andÂ helps organizations maintain compliance with theÂ digital completion and tracking of new hire forms.Â âThis requires systems to work closely with theirÂ legal departments to understand what steps in theÂ background screening process are required for a newÂ hire to start working and what important forms andÂ documents can be completed either via email or web-basedÂ platforms,â explains Roberts.
In addition to supply and demand and hiringÂ challenges, healthcare organizations are also facingÂ lifestyle obstacles caused by the pandemic: stay-at-homeÂ orders, closed schools, and overall uncertainty.
âCOVIDâs impact to working parents has beenÂ significant and the risk of the need to continue onÂ with unpredictable, hybrid school schedules forÂ the foreseeable future puts a continued strain onÂ our workforce,â says Levesque. âExpanded daycareÂ partnerships and benefit strategies can help, as well asÂ offering flexible scheduling and remote work options.â
âSystems have needed to adapt to provide additionalÂ resources and incentives to employees and candidates,âÂ agrees Roberts. âSome systems have set up daycareÂ centers to care for the children of employees sinceÂ many daycare facilities closed with the spread of theÂ pandemic.â
And with the pressing demands of the highlyÂ contagious coronavirus on the medical community,Â employee stress is another factor organizations need toÂ consider.
âThereâs the general concern of potential burnoutÂ for healthcare employees the longer the pandemicÂ goes on,â says Roberts. âHealth systems will need toÂ continue balancing these unique talent concerns withÂ the fact that as the most essential industry, itâs criticalÂ for them to keep delivering quality care.â
This is already on Levesqueâs radar. âWellness andÂ employee assistance programs are seeing an increaseÂ in participation as employees look for ways to restoreÂ their resiliency and self-care routines.â