This holistic approach to recruitment may be the answer healthcare organizations are searching for.
By Tierney McAfee
The healthcare industry continues to grapple with a shortage of available talent to fill open positions, driving an increase in the use of flexible work arrangements, such as locum tenens and traveler nurses. Because of this growing reliance on contingent staff, not just in the healthcare industry, Total Talent Acquisition—a consistent and comprehensive approach to both full-time and contingent labor—has emerged as a new priority for organizations in 2019 and beyond.
“We believe healthcare has an opportunity to continue to open its doors to these types of work arrangements, but we have to figure out where the right balance is to ensure costs, patient safety and experience aren’t negativity impacted,” explains Liz Bickley, Senior Vice President of Healthcare Client Services for Cielo, the leading provider of Recruitment Process Outsourcing solutions to the healthcare industry.
Feeling the pressure of today’s market forces, healthcare organizations are considering new approaches to talent acquisition. “We’re really working with organizations to say, ‘Is this a permanent job, or is this a role where you could bring in a contractor for six months to achieve the same or even better outcomes, and maybe they don’t need to be based on-site?’” Bickley says.
A Total Talent Acquisition strategy enables organizations to have these types of conversations and understand all of their talent needs. They can then take a more strategic approach to planning and hiring from the most appropriate permanent or contingent labor pools.
In a challenging and changing market like Healthcare, Bickley emphasizes that better workforce planning, not just for those organizations trying to transition to a Total Talent Acquisition model, is essential to improving the recruiting process.
“When we’re starting to have a conversation with organizations, one of the first things they bring up now more than ever is their lack of or need to improve their workforce planning,” says Bickley.“We haven’t encountered many organizations that have a system in place to really look at [hiring needs] in the right way and have someone who is driving the strategy to put the right people in the right place at the right time.”
Further compounding the issue, Bickley notes, is that some organizations have one person in charge of hiring temporary staff while another is tasked with hiring permanent staff. This creates a disconnect between the two systems.
“Because nobody’s accountable, there isn’t good visibility, and there aren’t productive conversations happening,” Bickley explains, noting that role clarity and collaboration is essential for an effective total talent program. One way to remedy this is by fostering a sense of ownership within HR. Bickley says this type of large-scale strategic initiative will not be successful unless one leader accepts responsibility and accountability for it.
Another valuable resource is looking into key technology systems to understand what workforce insights can be found. Pulling together various sources of data—such as the ATS, HRIS, timekeeping system, and census data—can help organizations assess hiring needs, the available talent to meet those needs, and any remaining gaps.
“People haven’t found a way yet to leverage all of those different data sources into one place to have informed conversations” about supply and demand, Bickley says. “Working with organizations like Cielo can help them consolidate that information. Organizations really need help to pull that information, drive meaningful visibility, and then strategies as a result.”
To help HR as they work to start the internal dialogue around total talent, there are three key questions leaders should focus on to give them an understanding of their organizational readiness:
- How much is my organization currently spending on contingent staffing and which functions own the budget and current decision making?
- Which internal leaders need to be a part of the discussion, and do they agree total talent is a priority?
- What new expertise or support would be needed to successfully drive a total talent strategy?
As the healthcare industry continues to grow and change, so must organizations’ talent strategies. According to Bickley, “HR has the opportunity to drive the international conversations around total talent, elevate their role and create clear organizational impact.”