How to overcome the pain points of healthcare hiring.
By Katie Calhoun
The healthcare sector has emerged as a bright spot on the national employment scene: The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the industry adding an average of 17,000 new jobs to the economy each month in 2013. But as healthcare professionals flourish in today’s job market, their employers face mounting challenges: an ever-changing regulatory environment, the evolution of patient care, and fierce competition for talent.
A perfect storm is brewing:
• The Affordable Care Act is expected to bring 32 million new patients into the fold in 2014, leaving healthcare companies scrambling to build out their ranks.
• An anticipated 45,000 physician shortage reported by the AAMC Center for Workforce Studies over the next decade is pushing healthcare companies to pursue clinical nurses to fill the gap.
• The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is anticipating a 60 percent rise in demand for registered nurses between 2008 and 2018, but there are simply not enough candidates to meet this growing need.
• Rising patient-to-nurse ratios are contributing to higher attrition rates among nurses, just as a large number of seasoned nurses near retirement. It is predicted that the U.S. nurse shortage could reach 29 percent by 2020, up from just six percent in 2000.
Healthcare companies are also seeking sales, customer service, and IT positions to accommodate the anticipated increase in customers in 2014. The expanded use of technology by healthcare organizations, including big data and cloud services, has increased the need for IT professionals. This is evidenced by a 2013 Careerbuilder study of healthcare employers that reports 37 percent of organizations surveyed plan to hire health informatics professionals.
Talent acquisition leaders must source their IT talent from a broad array of industries. For example, credit reporting and banking institutions now offer web-enabled and mobile solutions that allow them to source talent from organizations outside their core vertical, including software and internet companies. While there is always an industry- specific component to the requisition profile, companies are increasingly sourcing certain types of candidates across a variety of industries.
Requisition profiles are also shifting as patient expectations change and new care options emerge. For example, there is a growing need for healthcare workers to have specialties in infertility or transplants.
Proficiency in multiple languages is also becoming increasingly important as a greater diversity of patients enter the healthcare system. Healthcare companies’ thirst for “needle in a haystack” candidates has resulted in regularly occurring high-volume, hard-to-fill hiring scenarios.
Recruitment experts can typically source licensed and other skilled professionals easily; sourcing seasoned healthcare professionals proves more difficult. Those who are willing to make the leap to a new employer are hard to come by, and often have specific employment requirements, including greater flexibility and highly- competitive salaries.
These trends have created a fiercely competitive hiring landscape for healthcare companies, who are dipping into the same limited pool of candidates across regions.
How RPO Can Help
Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) offers healthcare companies a combination of innovative sourcing strategies, including advanced competitive analysis, SEO and advertising optimization, social recruiting, and talent communities. An integrated approach is critical in healthcare since the majority of the candidate pool is already employed.
Attracting and engaging these candidates takes an investment of time and an ongoing flow of high-quality, attractive content:
• By actively promoting an attractive employment brand, healthcare companies can build relationships that will generate candidates for future positions.
• Communicating company value propositions
across the widest possible range of social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as industry-specific channels can strengthen networks.
• Sharing content through dedicated, well-branded, career-specific outlets is critical to helping a prospective candidate assess the organization and opportunity.
These practices ensure a strong referral pipeline of organic candidates.
When it comes to healthcare’s hiring woes there is no single cure, but there is a treatment that is proven to generate better outcomes. That RX is RPO.
A snapshot of healthcare hiring success through RPO.
Competition for clinical nurses is fierce, leaving healthcare companies with a limited pool of applicants to fill a growing number of positions. When a leader in the healthcare benefits system with a network of more than one million healthcare professionals began its engagement with Seven Step RPO in late 2011, they needed to quickly fill a few hundred open clinical nursing positions. Twelve months later, their scope had more than doubled.
Like many companies looking to grow in an unpredictable hiring environment, one of their biggest challenges is talent forecasting. Without proper workforce planning, it is impossible for healthcare organizations to effectively predict payroll costs and drive efficiency in hiring. RPO has allowed the organization to scale hiring efforts up or down quickly and cost-efficiently, while proactively building their candidate pipeline through sourcing candidates for the most challenging positions and geographies. Beyond this, RPO firms can act as an extension of internal healthcare recruitment teams, harnessing specialists at each stage of the hiring process—from sourcing and screening, to interviewing and offer management—ensuring that hiring goals are met and company culture is preserved.
And hiring goals were met: The organization’s hiring managers report a 96 percent satisfaction rate with the candidates that are presented, and they hire one in three candidates that hiring managers interview. Plus, 97 percent of candidates accept employment offers, as compared to a professional services industry average of just 85 percent, according to Saratoga’s U.S. Human Capital Effectiveness Report 2010/2011.
Katie Calhoun is a strategic director at Seven Step RPO.
How to overcome the pain points of healthcare hiring.