There’s no question that the pandemic has created havoc in the healthcare industry, from physician offices, diagnostic centers, ambulatory and emergent care facilities, and hospitals themselves. Furloughs, layoffs, staffing difficulties for units dealing directly with care for Covid-19 patients have been challenging, as has recruiting healthcare professionals back to specific roles.
Hospitals are also dealing with federal regulation, distribution of funds from the CARES Act, and working on planning and preparing for an expected surge of new cases now and in the fall.
We’re several weeks back into reopening our hospitals to elective procedures and other services suspended during the outbreak. Slowly but surely the patients, and some sense of normalcy, will return.
Healthcare recruiting is undoubtedly a volatile market right now
Healthcare added 312,400 jobs in May, primarily in ambulatory healthcare services, while job losses at hospitals continued, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The May count compares to 43,000 healthcare jobs lost in March and 1.4 million healthcare jobs lost in April.
Within ambulatory healthcare services, May job gains included offices of dentists (244,800), offices of physicians (51,300), and offices of other healthcare practitioners (73,100).
Other areas of healthcare continued to experience job losses. Hospitals lost 26,700 jobs last month, compared to the 134,900 positions they lost in April. Nursing and residential care facilities lost 36,600 jobs last month.
As infection rates have slowed and patient demands for non-emergency services have begun to increase, facilities are calling furloughed staff back. The need for those positions may evolve slowly as recent data suggests patients are still afraid to venture out to hospitals for fear of infection.
As a result of this slow rehiring, clinicians may be wary of returning to their same employer knowing it could take time before volumes return to pre-COVID levels and that a resurgence of infections could end up shutting them out of work again.
Clinicians may see this as an opportunity to find more stable employment opportunities as demand increases in other markets.
Credentialing and licensing processes and laws have changed to accommodate clinicians that seek to move across state lines to take advantage of jobs. That trend will continue and will have an impact on recruiting healthcare professionals.
If you haven’t, start your hiring plan and communication now
If you’re waiting for volumes to reappear, then you’ve waited too long. You’re losing valuable time and potential talent by waiting to fill positions.
Are you communicating with your applicant database? Have you used your career site and platform to keep everyone informed as to the status of your facility’s operations, availability of protective gear, care, and concern for your employee’s well-being?
Healthcare workers are risking their lives to fill our needs. They wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t have a passion for what they do and their line of work. We have often heard that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are answering a calling to be part of this field of work, and that couldn’t be more true today.
Has your hiring process changed throughout the pandemic, and are you communicating that to applicants and hires? Are you using remote screening tools and walking applicants and candidates through that process?
Are you communicating changes, if any, to your hiring, credentialing, background checks, and so forth? With healthcare, your candidates typically must meet particular criteria and qualifications before they’re even considered. If these requirements have been relaxed during the pandemic, have you communicated this to candidates and applicants?
How effectively are you using outbound marketing tools, email for instance?
Are you communicating your facilities’ efforts to care for the communities you serve?
How about benefits changes? Bonuses for specific skills-sets and specialties in demand.
Do you have a formal referral program, and how well are you communicating that to your staff, including anyone furloughed? It’s certainly an opportunity for them to earn a referral bonus, helping you find clinicians for those specialty positions.
Are you actively using your social media to communicate? Photography and video of your hard-working and dedicated staff go a long way to promoting your brand and your appreciation for what your team has done during this difficult time.
Your career site should be exploding with content today. It’s essential to building your brand and attracting and engaging candidates. These sites, which may have professional pages, nurse page, allied health page, support staff pages, are an especially great source of information for passive candidates.
Job postings? They’re such a horror show on so many hospital ATS pages. Are you rewriting them to reflect the changes in your facility? Changes that have resulted from managing during the pandemic.
There’s a lot of volatility in the market today, but that also means there’s a tremendous opportunity. Is your organization poised to take advantage of it?
It doesn’t require huge recruiting expenditures or bright shiny objects. What it does demand is that you do the basics and do them well.