RPO & Staffing

The Battle for Frontline Talent

Recruiters in the healthcare sector are facing three big challenges -but an RPO provider can help.

By Marta Chmielowicz

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a toll on the well-being and work satisfaction of healthcare workers, wreaking havoc on the job market in the industry. According to a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll, roughly three in 10 healthcare workers have considered leaving their profession, more than half are burned out, and about six in 10 say stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.

In this challenging climate, healthcare organizations are facing an uphill battle for talent. Talent acquisition teams in this sector are facing three major obstacles.

  • Intense competition for talent. The stressors of the pandemic have exacerbated hiring issues in an already-strained healthcare system. Hospital leaders are struggling to hire and retain the staff needed to handle the influx of patients sick with COVID-19, leading to intense competition in the talent marketplace.

“We see this heavily compressed in roles where there is any specific licensure requirement, such as registered nurses or pharmacy technicians. We’re seeing even more competition than usual,” says Gary Norris, director of client services at Sevenstep.

According to Noelle Paras, vice president of client solutions at Sevenstep, this competition is translating to demands for more competitive salary and benefits packages.

“Within the healthcare space, we’re seeing a massive increase in sign-on bonuses, general salary, and retention bonuses,” she explains. “We’re also seeing a big push for flexibility, both in terms of work location and hours as well as benefits being offered.”

  • Changes in candidate behavior. In today’s candidate-driven job market, job seekers have more options than ever before. This is resulting in unpredictable candidate behaviors, including an increase in ghosting, more intense salary negotiations, and a willingness to walk away from the table to seek out a better offer.

“We are experiencing a shift in candidate behavior and expectations,” says Paras. “All candidates, regardless of industry and level, are expecting a high degree of ‘white glove service’ through the recruitment process, with constant communication, flexibility, and speed. Those who can accommodate all three will have greater success in filling open roles and experience better Net Promoter Score (NPS) ratings.”

Healthcare hiring teams also face the challenge of recruiting in an industry that is on the frontlines of the pandemic, resulting in greater volatility, uncertainty, and resistance from the job market.

“Frontline healthcare roles have changed significantly since the start of this pandemic,” explains Paras. “Candidates are placing a higher level of scrutiny against accepting patient-facing work. They are putting primacy on their safety and the ways in which the organization provides for both their physical and mental well-being .”

  • New compliance requirements. Hiring teams in the healthcare industry are also under increasing pressure to comply with federally mandated vaccine requirements. These mandates create an additional screening hurdle that slows time to hire and reduces the size of the available talent pool.

“Many healthcare companies are quickly rolling out vaccine mandates for existing, and new employees,” says Paras. “This quick pivot poses challenges for talent acquisition teams as they adjust their hiring process to remain compliant under new regulations, work with empathy while discussing these changes with candidates and hiring managers, and find they have a smaller talent pool to utilize as roles have an additional requirement added to them. Talent Acquisition teams are also experiencing delays in receiving results for pre-employment screenings, as the vaccine mandate adds an additional step to the licensure and credentialing process.”

Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) providers are well equipped to help organizations adapt their recruitment process to meet these challenges and remain competitive in today’s talent marketplace.

According to Norris, RPO providers can evaluate organizations’ recruitment processes holistically, working with key stakeholders to understand critical needs and pain points and identify areas of speed or improvement while delivering a positive candidate experience.

RPO providers are also equipped with a robust technology suite that can automate manual steps in the recruitment process, speeding up time to hire in a critical moment. For example, Paras says that Sevenstep has helped its clients streamline recruitment by eliminating the hiring manager phone screen and embracing candidate self-scheduling. This approach delivers speed while giving more flexibility to the candidate, providing a convenient candidate experience.

By partnering with an RPO provider, healthcare organizations can ensure that they remain an employer of choice and meet the challenges of the day head-on.

Tags: November 2021

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