The Times They Are a-Changin’
– Bob Dylan
Heck, they change all the time, and at such a rapid pace. Indeed, the volume of change we’ve experienced over the last four to five months has not been at the pace we’ve experienced in the past, but it’s change, and we will adapt.
And the healthcare industry has assuredly had more than its fair share of this change. The healthcare crowd, we are a resilient bunch, so as with other times of change in the industry, we shall persevere and come out wiser and stronger for the experience.
The shutdown of elective procedures – a core business and employment area, the staffing and redeployment of clinicians, increased employee safety measures and procedures, burnout, stress, changing treatment protocols, changes to visitation policies and unhappy families, managing productivity, lost revenues. It’s been one or another now for five months.
And it’s not going away yet.
Hopefully, you’ve still been actively recruiting. Even if you had a hiring freeze, you should have continued communicating and recruiting. Staying in touch with candidates that had applied for positions you froze. It’s not gotten any less competitive out there. If anything, it’s even more so today.
The market is now and will continue to be phenomenally competitive. The estimate for 2022 alone is a demand for 1.1 million new nurses in the job market. If we think we’re going to make that number, we need to remember –
That’s not going to happen.
So, if you’re a forward-thinking organization, why would you stop looking for your most valuable resource that was already in short supply?
Large systems will have the resources to finance their way-out staff shortages. It’s difficult for small systems to marshal the finances for recruiting and contract labor that the big systems do.
But there are some tactics and tools the larger systems use that smaller systems and stand-alone facilities can affordably employ. Everything you see on their front end and some of the communication tools they use on the back end, you can have too for far less than you think. It might look like a million-dollar investment, but the costs are nowhere close to that figure.
So let’s talk about the basics, the tactics, and tools you need to create a professional attract-and-engage candidate recruitment experience during these times of change.
Have a Plan
You’re not just headed out for a drive in the country. Destination wherever. In this competitive environment, you need a talent acquisition strategy — a plan.
How are you building awareness of your employer brand? Do you have one?
What’s your employer’s value proposition?
What are your goals? Get more and higher-quality applicants? More career site visits? Increase your candidate engagement?
Are you setting measurable goals, and do you have the data to measure the success of your plan?
How about a referral plan? Talent pool or career hub? Optimized career site?
What kind of content are you developing for your career site, email campaigns, newsletters, videos, social media, infographics, and web presentations?
Is all your content and recruiting technology completely mobile?
An Overlay for your ATS
The ATS hasn’t changed in over 20 years, but why should it? The primary objective is to track applicants through the process of applying and hiring, and all the functions required in between.
What they don’t do well and have never provided is easy-to-use job search. And why would search be a priority? It’s an Applicant Tracking System. Job search is the forgotten gateway to their real business, application management.
Our early clients understood this back in 2002, which is when we built the first job search overlay on top of the Lawson ATS.
In case you’re not sure what an overlay is, I’ll define.
An ATS Overlay is a layer of web programming that creates compelling, brand-driven candidate experiences that your ATS cannot provide. It improves candidate satisfaction with job search and results. It provides for branded job descriptions and content-rich marketing pages, delivers in-depth data collection, and attracts and converts candidate’s applications at a much higher rate while decreasing drop offs that can plague your ATS.
Overlays do not interfere with your ATS in any way. Large healthcare companies, or with device manufacturers and others, have been using ATS overlays now for years. They are a critical piece of their talent acquisition programs.
The Beginning of Your Candidate Experience. The Career Site.
Your career page, pages, or web site are the primary pathway for applicants. Elevating your brand on this platform is crucial to your recruiting success. Think of it as curb appeal. The career site is typically the first blush your candidates have with your organization. What does your recruiting site say about you?
Are you selling your brand with great storytelling? Is your content relevant and up to date? Is the information well-organized, and is the site easy to navigate?
Research shows having your job search at the very top of the home page is the best practice. How many click-throughs or links to multiple pages do your candidates have to trudge through before they finally reach your job search?
Your recruiting platform should excite and inspire candidates to apply. Most hospital web pages and applicant tracking systems cannot be modified to allow all your job content to be scraped and listed on Google for Jobs or other job search engines.
Candidates want a rich, full-featured experience that immerses them in your brand and culture and provides them with high-touch experiences where they can stay in contact with your organization.
Talent Pools and Career Hubs
The typical “talent community” doesn’t provide any real engagement with your company. Beyond collecting an email address and auto-responding with job recommendations that bear little relevance to a candidate’s interests, there is no engagement.
What you need is a robust suite of personalization features that lets candidates search, save, set and receive, and share relevant jobs that interest them and match their skills and expertise while providing you real information on their actions and preferences.
Today you need a platform where you can create candidate profiles, resumes, job interests, contact information, jobs they’ve viewed, facilities, and organizations where they’re interested in working – the kind of data and analytics you need to fill critical positions in your facility.
Build relationships, don’t just collect a name and address.
Failure to communicate is one of the top two issues candidates list when discussing candidates’ experience. Lack of or no follow-up to inquiries, lack of transparency, failure to communicate information or provide information on your career site concerning the applicant process, and failure to communicate with candidates rejected at any point along the path of the candidate experience.
Candidate email campaigns are an inexpensive and incredibly effective way to build relationships with active and passive candidates. Email is still the top channel to build engagement. Email achieves a median ROI of more than 4x higher than any other marketing channel, including social media. And despite this data and low cost to implement, recruitment email marketing is hardly ever used by talent acquisition teams
You can break email campaigns down by the audience. Create separate messaging for each. During the pandemic, you could be communicating with previous applicants about positions you’re looking to fill. Communicate your safety protocols and what you’re doing for employee morale and staffing challenges.
Create and deliver monthly e-newsletters that highlight facility activities, employee recognition, hires, and much more.
Make sure your email solutions are modern, mobile, and responsive on all browsers and mail clients. Create custom, branded messaging that is professional, impresses, and engages, and shows candidates interested in your organization that you are the employer of choice for them.
Number two in the list of applicant sources and one that has a far-reaching positive impact on your hospital’s bottom line. See my post here: Employee Referral Programs Are Your Best Recruiting Strategy.
Have an active and professional plan. You can have creative print material and an online campaign and a digital referral system. The key is to make it as easy as possible for employees to make a referral.
Again, easy and undoubtedly cost-effective with a tremendous ROI.
That’s the list of “must-haves” in this recruiting environment of constant change. Whether you’re recruiting for a facility with 50 beds or a system with 10,000 beds, having these recruitment marketing tools is a must.
As I said at the beginning, there’s no reason you can’t have the same professional attract-and-engage recruiting platform and tools the larger systems do and all at a cost that’s so much more affordable than you think.