It should come as no surprise that the healthcare industry in the U.S. is enormous, and it continues to expand with the growing population. In fact, the healthcare market has become the U.S.’s largest employer. The aging and growing population frequently needs more social assistance workers, an essential component in managing the recent influx of economic refugees to the United States.
In 2021, healthcare spending accounted for over 18.3% of the U.S. GDP (InsiderIntelligence.com). Additionally, the Baby Boomers are not only retiring and requiring more care; many of those retiring are departing from the healthcare industry. For example, two-thirds of Baby Boomer nurses surveyed are currently considering retirement (usc.edu), and it’s generally understood that many in the healthcare industry who retired or switched careers over the last few years did so as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic (cureus.com).
The good news is that the healthcare and social assistance fields continue to be rewarding, with competitive pay and plenty of room for advancement – and there are more than enough potential job candidates to go around. New research from iCIMS reveals that one in three workers plans to look for a new job in 2023 – underscoring that employers need to continuously adapt their talent strategies for the challenges to come (iCIMS 2023 Workforce Report).
This article will detail a few of the top emerging trends in healthcare and social assistance recruiting and hiring, and some best practices that can help recruitment marketing professionals secure top talent in these fields.
1. Automated Recruitment Tasks and Prescreening
With increased competition for those in the talent pool and the ongoing digitization of processes, one of the quickly emerging trends is the augmented use of automation in companies’ recruitment marketing efforts.
Given the increased competition, companies and recruiters are placing a premium on efficiency, making this a big emerging trend this year. Making recruiting operations as streamlined as possible has become paramount, and automation helps to achieve this.
One of the best uses of automation is candidate screening. With today’s candidate screening tools, recruitment marketing professionals can automate every stage of the candidate screening process. Tasks can be automated using tools like automated intelligence (AI), SMS or text messaging, automated questionnaires, Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) systems, asynchronous video interviews, skills intelligence platforms, and APIs. This can shave countless hours off of recruiters’ workloads.
2. Age and Turnover in the Healthcare Workforce
Circling back to the aging Baby Boomer issue for a moment: This phenomenon is affecting the healthcare workforce to the extent that it has merited focused academic study in recent years. Recruitment marketers must try to retain older employees whose experiences are assets to the organization and replace those who retire with new talent.
Refining recruitment marketing and retention strategies that appeal to diverse groups is essential. Candidates of different generations have different life philosophies and priorities, and they play in different internet destinations (e.g., favorite websites, social media platforms). Recruitment and retention efforts must contain customized messaging for employees and candidates of diverse backgrounds.
3. Leveraging the Company Brand
A strategy advocated previously in this space, leveraging the employer brand, is one that more and more companies have been implementing in their recruitment efforts. While those in the healthcare and social assistance fields have specialized skills and training, their core values tend to reflect those of the rest of the workforce. A recent study conducted by Healthcare Recruiter’s International (HRI) found that over 90% of the healthcare workforce thinks employer branding is a foremost recruiting resource.
Leveraging the company brand involves such things as highlighting employee benefits and workplace culture across all recruitment materials, as well as on the company website and social media channels. Anything that focuses on what makes the organization stand out or illustrates how the company is different should be included. Detailing organizational efforts in the area of corporate responsibility and DEIB initiatives have also become important selling points to prospective candidates.
As it stands, 93% of employees believe that companies must lead with purpose. 88% believe it’s no longer acceptable for companies to make money at the expense of society at large. Also, 95% of employees believe businesses should benefit all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers, and communities they operate within (Harvard Business School). Recruitment marketers should be aware of how important it is to showcase the employer brand throughout the entire funnel.
4. Promoting From Within
Promoting from within has become easier to implement with digital resources. With competition as fierce as it is, retention has become a huge trend for 2023.
Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing fields, and it is built for advancement by its nature. General practitioners routinely move into specialist roles, and nurses move into managerial positions (e.g., charge nurse, head nurse, supervisor), or become nurse practitioners. Organizations can step up their efforts to recruit from within for open positions.
Many healthcare and social assistance organizations provide educational benefits (i.e., subsidizing all or parts of an employee’s ongoing education) to their workers. Monitoring employees' progress on this track can help companies efficiently match workers who enhance their credentials with upcoming job openings.
Finally, capitalizing on opportunities to upskill or fill skills gaps in the organization not only optimizes the efforts of workers, but it saves time, money, and the efforts of recruiters. Organizations that structure workloads so clinical personnel can operate at the top of their license motivate their employees and encourage retention.
5. Ongoing Nurturing
In short, nurturing employees involves providing them the room they need to flourish in the organization. Here, it is important to focus on nurturing talent from initial contact through the exit interview.
While great pay and benefits are benficial, candidates and employees are placing much more emphasis on intrinsic motivators over extrinsic motivators. Extrinsic motivators come from outside, such as pay, benefits, and recognition. In contrast, intrinsic motivators are about the worker’s self-actualization. Recent studies have shown that when work is intellectually challenging and stimulating, it enhances employee satisfaction and productivity.
Increasing the opportunities for employee engagement (e.g., check-ins, feedback surveys) and having dedicated engagement streams helps employers learn more about their workforce, so that they can help employees develop their careers. This helps foster an engaged culture, aiding in retention and employee satisfaction, and enhancing the employer brand.
Best Practices for Recruiting in Healthcare
While some recruiting best practices are almost universal across industries, here are a few that are standouts for recruiting in healthcare and social assistance:
User-friendly applications. Healthcare and social assistance jobs can be fast-paced and demanding, and job applicants want a quick process to submit their information. According to Forbes, user-friendly job applications are imperative. For example, creating job applications that don’t require a login and password are helpful because they eliminate the deterrent of applicants having to create an account to apply for a position.
Tip: Easy Apply application functions also help to speed up the process; according to Indeed, Easy Apply applications get 12% more clicks than standard applications.
Clearly state total compensation and EVP. According to HRFuture, “Probably the simplest description of the employee value proposition (EVP) can be summed up in the question, ‘What’s in it for me?’” While there is occasionally confusion regarding the definitions of compensation versus the EVP, the latter actually includes compensation.
Key components of the EVP typically include:
- Remuneration – (salary, incentives & the pay process)
- Benefits (healthcare, retirement, insurance, recognition programs)
- Affiliation (work environment, organizational commitment, corporate responsibility)
- Career (advancement opportunities, personal growth and development, training, job security)
- Role (level of autonomy, challenges, schedules)
Both total compensation and the EVP should always be clearly communicated to the candidate.
Be clear about expectations and responsibilities of the job. Setting clear expectations and responsibilities for jobs is important for every company at every level. It helps hold all employees accountable for their responsibilities and holds employers accountable to represent a job’s roles and duties. Clarity protects the employer, fosters trust, and enhances the organizational culture. Thoughtfully composed job descriptions are vitally to capture prospect interest and ensure proper alignment with employee/employer expectations.
Employee post-application candidate experience surveys. Using surveys to request feedback on the candidate’s experience helps to reveal the strengths and weaknesses in each stage of the hiring process, thus helping recruiters refine this process.
Meet candidates where they are. Candidates who “slip through the cracks” are always on the minds of recruiters. Refining the approach and engagement of technology can ensure this doesn’t occur. Omnichannel engagement strategies that include phone (call & text), email, chatbots, SMS, and video can help recruiters cover all the bases.
Tip: Clarity on the candidate persona is also helpful in this regard, as this can provide insights into ad formats and where ads should be placed. For example, it can tell a recruiter which social media platforms are more likely to attract which candidate types.
Is your organization ready to develop or revamp its healthcare and social assistance recruiting strategies? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us!