The healthcare industry is expected to face a huge talent shortage in the coming decade. According to a study conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges, demand for healthcare professionals will far outpace supply in both primary and specialty care by 2030. At the same time, the healthcare field has high rates of turnover, particularly among nurses where the national average turnover rate was 18.7% in 2020. Add in the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and an aging population of Baby Boomers that require additional care and you have a looming healthcare crisis.
So how do you attract and hire in-demand healthcare professionals? Consider these three strategies.
It’s no secret that many healthcare jobs require years of study, advanced degrees, and specialized certifications. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive and start building your candidate pipeline by connecting with healthcare professionals while they’re still on campus. Recruiting at college events and career fairs is a great way to identity promising talent and prospective employees early on. In addition, starting the recruitment process on campus allows hiring managers to serve as mentors, guiding young healthcare professionals as they get started in their careers.
Another way to engage with healthcare professionals while they are still in school is through internships. Can your organization offer healthcare internships or summer jobs to students? On-the-job learning opportunities help students build the important skills they’ll need and give them a chance to get to know your organization firsthand. When they’re close to graduating and ready to enter the healthcare field, they’ll already be familiar with your company through their earlier work experience and more likely to apply for your healthcare roles as a result.
This goes for any industry, but it’s worth repeating all the same: Candidate experience in the application process matters. So, how can you adjust your application process to improve the candidate experience and hire great healthcare employees?
Technology is a good place to start. Are there ways you can use technology to streamline your application? Do you have an easy-to-use career portal and a mobile-first strategy? Many younger professionals use mobile devices to search for and apply to jobs, so having a mobile friendly platform is a must. In addition to the application, does your company require skills or aptitude assessments for candidates? If so, make sure these are integrated into the process and sync with your applicant tracking system.
While technology is important, candidates also care about human interaction during the application process. They want to work with a real person and prefer a personalized process that utilizes technology but keeps human interaction at the center. This means job seekers prefer emails or phone calls to automated messages and robocalls. Ideally, you want your process to offer a balance between technology and connecting with a real person. This might mean video interviews, frequent communication and updates, and even some in-person interactions before a final offer.
Last, and perhaps most important, keep the process simple. Candidates will quickly get frustrated with a process that drags on and on, even if you’re offering them their dream role.
Although compensation continues to be a top factor for job seekers, healthcare candidates do care about more than just salary. For example, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, burnout among nurses, doctors, and healthcare workers was a pervasive problem. As a result, benefits that address workplace stress and burnout, such as wellness programs, are increasingly important to younger applicants. Candidates across the healthcare field are also seeking more work-life balance, especially post-pandemic. So, how is your organization adapting to ensure the physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing of your healthcare employees? Taking steps to protect the health of your healthcare workforce will help you attract great candidates who value more than just a paycheck.
Another benefit that many candidates look for in healthcare jobs, especially early in their career, is mentorship. Through formal or informal mentorship programs, healthcare professionals are able to share their expertise and experience across generations. Mentors are often a crucial source of institutional knowledge, familiarizing their mentee(s) with workplace culture and unwritten rules and expectations. Mentors can also help young healthcare professionals navigate their career by clarifying their professional goals and interests, and offering guidance that increases their confidence. Additionally, mentorship can diversify the healthcare workforce, giving minority students and underrepresented groups the chance to learn from successful professionals of similar background. Ultimately, mentorship builds strong connections that both the mentees and mentors can benefit from throughout their careers in healthcare.