Employer branding can’t be touched on enough no matter what industry you’re in, but for healthcare it’s a real necessity.
Healthcare, above all others, is so competitive right now with the increasing nursing shortage that your employer branding strategy has become even more urgent to nail down as facilities struggle to fill gaps.
We at HealthComm have touched on employer branding several times over the years. As far back as here in 2014 and here again in 2015.
But why, now, is it so important? Well, quite simply, it’s a matter of Supply and Demand. And right now we’re in a buyer’s market.
The shortage of nurses from the growing Boomer population needing more care, lack of new nurses entering the field, and lack of resources to train new nurses are all causes, to name the more immediate.
Filling those gaps in your organization, then means, in addition to hunting for the unicorn passive candidate, looking at your competition for candidates.
Employer branding, when done right, is what explicitly showcases your organization over the other guy as the employer of choice for that targeted talent.
So what can you do to entice these individuals to your organization?
Well, what do you have to offer? I’ll tell you right now, it has to be a worthwhile move for an individual to leave one circumstance for another that may or may not be an improvement.
Employer branding, then, is how you sell your worthiness.
Also as talent acquisition has become near synonymous with recruitment marketing – as I said, candidates are equitable to consumers today – there are changes your organization has to incorporate into its recruitment strategy to make an even greater impact on this selling point.
It all begins on your career site. This is the beginning of the candidate experience, and thus, your employer brand.
Your career site should provide all the information a candidate needs to understand what your facility or health system is all about. That includes core values, purpose, benefits, and so on.
Primarily, however, it should answer the job seeker’s question, “What’s in it for me?”
Being that candidates are consumers, every job seeker looking at you as a possible employer will consider applying from the point of view of WIIFM. This means highlighting benefits and rewards over things like accreditations.
For example, what kind of support system does your facility or system offer? Is there continuing education available? Are there opportunities for growth and leadership, promotions from within?
Here is a list of things you can use to assess the current situation of your career site.
Remember, visibility is your goal. You want to be as visible as possible and there’s no better platform to showcase your culture, outside of your career site, than social media.
Funny thing is, you don’t see many hospitals or hospital systems maintaining a social media presence, and if you’re not tapping into this, really, you should. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube are the biggest and most widely used platforms for sharing content. And it’s not hard to do.
As you’ve probably experienced, pictures are more engaging than words, so let images tell your facility’s story.
Share images of your nurses and other teammates, company events, willing patients, whatever highlights your employer brand, like perks and benefits, and whatever your HR guidelines permit.
One thing to avoid – spamming your social media account(s) with job posts. I’m not saying don’t share them, but don’t go crazy with it. Maybe post a hard-to-fill req to give it some more exposure, but you don’t need to share every open position. Those who enjoy your social media will quickly become annoyed.
Of course candidate experience goes beyond the career site and the hiring process; it also extends into the employee experience. All of this comprises the whole of your employer brand.
Being that employee experience is important, it can help candidates make a decision based on what is being said about your organization by these employees.
Review sites, like Glassdoor and Indeed, where employees can express their opinions about the workplace and what the day to day stuff is like can really enhance your recruitment efforts.
Just like a consumer reads reviews before purchasing a product, candidates read reviews when looking at you.
This can go against you just as well. If you don’t have a strong employer brand, you probably won’t have the best reviews. If that’s the case, you’ll have to look at revising your employee engagement practices. But that’s a topic for another post.
Referrals are a tremendous part of the employee experience. In fact, they are a good measure of how well your employer brand is performing, as referrals can account for nearly 70% of your hires.
Referrals are known to be higher quality employees, have better retention rates, and reduce time-to-hire, among other benefits.
Therefore, whether it’s by word of mouth, social media, review sites, or through a company referral program, your employees are your brand ambassadors and what they say about you has a direct impact on your hiring success.
There are other ways to improve on your employer brand to reach candidates outside of what I’ve listed here. Things like billboards, radio ads, television commercials, and any of the other traditional advertising methods.
These are probably outside your budget though and probably not as effective as what I’ve gone over in some detail.
Keep in mind that 75% of job seekers consider employer brand (pdf) before applying to any job.
Looking at your candidate quality, brand awareness (which is hard to measure other than looking at quantity of followers, likes, and shares on social media), how many open reqs you have, offer acceptance rate, source of hire, etc., all of these are strong metrics to consider when measuring the strength of your employer brand.
What it boils down to is that having a strong employer brand will help you attract the best talent, even in a hard-to-fill market because candidates will consider you over your competition.
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