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The Unique Challenges of Healthcare Staffing & Recruiting


Healthcare organizations have found themselves short-staffed for years, and the problem was only exacerbated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Jobs within the healthcare field require a unique combination of education, experience, and the right personality, and recruiters often feel that it's impossible to fill roles with candidates that possess these attributes. Healthcare staffing and recruiting continues to be challenging today, but there are numerous things recruiters can do to increase the number of top-tier candidates that apply to their open positions.

Learn more about the unique challenges that healthcare staffers face on a daily basis, some practical tips for recruiting in healthcare, and why you must focus energy on your employer brand below.

The Physician Shortage

The United States has faced a physician shortage that became even more clear once COVID-19 infiltrated the country and continued to mutate into new variants. The most recent projections from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) paint a bleak picture of how the physician shortage we face now will continue to evolve in the coming years. By 2033, the association estimates that the United States will be short anywhere between 54,000 and 139,000 doctors. This will significantly reduce the amount of access patients will have to qualified physicians.

If your healthcare organization has struggled with recruiting and retaining physicians, nurses, and other healthcare staff, you definitely aren't alone. The healthcare industry is going through a major realignment, and only companies that stay on top of recruiting trends and strategies will be able to capture the attention of those hard-to-find candidates.

There are a few major reasons why physician shortages have occurred, though many experts believe that the pandemic has made many would-be doctors pivot to a less taxing career choice. At the same time, many students who want to apply to medical school may also lack access to the funding they would need to support themselves in undergraduate and graduate programs. Whatever the cause, the physician shortage has already made our healthcare system less efficient, and it will likely continue to do so in the future.

Not having enough vacancies filled in your healthcare organization can severely impact its bottom line, and it can also harm your company's reputation for providing excellent care to patients. So what can you do to make the recruiting process within healthcare more successful?


Tips for Healthcare Recruiting

Healthcare recruiting is complex, and it can be difficult to fill important roles in a timely manner. Failure to fill roles on time can result in relying on a skeleton crew, which leads to higher rates of burnout, worse employee satisfaction, and negative patient outcomes. There are some strategies you can use to improve your healthcare recruiting strategy with just a bit of time and effort:

1. Employ the most cutting-edge recruiting innovations

Healthcare is a field that constantly advances, and prospective employees want to know that a facility uses top-of-the-line technology. If your recruiting strategy revolves around old and outdated methods, like paper postings on bulletin boards around town, or online job postings with poor descriptions, prospective employees are quick to assume the organization itself is also behind the times.

One of the easiest ways to join the 21st century in terms of recruiting is to have a compelling and professional recruitment video. These visual aids help convey the job description, the types of people who do best within the company, and what the culture of the organization is like. They can also describe benefits packages in detail, and they give prospective employees a fast, yet effective overview of the job and company. Top healthcare recruiting firms have already jumped on this bandwagon, and it's not too late for you to do the same.

2. Improve your organization's benefits package

Many organizations believe that the most important aspect of a job for an employee is compensation. That may be true for a select few candidates, but most actually want to work for a company that allows for room for professional growth, prioritizes the needs of its employees, and fosters a welcoming and supportive environment. One of the fastest ways to address all of these areas of interest is to improve your company's benefits package as soon as possible.

Benefits packages almost always include healthcare, but many organizations have skimped out on the plans they offer. Seek to invest in your employees by providing better healthcare packages that help both your employees and their families stay healthier, which in turn helps them be more productive. Benefits packages are now increasingly offering more paid vacation and personal days, flexible scheduling, and even options for remote work when applicable, according to Harvard Business Review.

By making these changes, employees are sure to feel better cared for and supported by their company, which can drastically reduce employee turnover and make recruiting new employees far easier.

3. Find better places to post job openings

There are mass job boards all over the internet that provide thousands of results for every search term. It can be impossible to make your job stand out when there are so many other jobs, related or not, that show up in the search results. Instead, aim to find better places to post your job openings. Many organizations have found success by using state job boards, professional societies, colleges, and more to recruit quality candidates in a more targeted way.

4. Make job descriptions more inclusive

Healthcare jobs inherently come with lots of requirements and specific credentials, but many companies make their job postings and descriptions far too specific. This may scare away potential employees that would thrive in your company, but they felt that they didn't meet the ultra-specific criteria the posting outlined. Instead, make your job postings more inclusive. This doesn't mean removing all the requirements you seek, but a candidate doesn't always need 10 years of experience to perform a job well if they have other experience or educational credentials that would still make them an exceptional candidate.

If there are highly specific credentials or training your employees must have, and you're struggling to find candidates that have them, see if you can make that process part of the on-the-job training. This can help open up the candidate pool, and it can make employees feel more supported and appreciated. This can help new employees transition into the company far better, reducing overall turnover while making recruitment costs go down significantly.

The Importance of Employer Branding

Companies have branding, whether they intentionally create it or not. Many organizations have inadvertently fostered a brand that leads prospective customers to believe they don't value the environment, equality, or other values that prospective customers hold dear. Even if these perceptions aren't true, it can hurt your organization's bottom line. For this reason, careful branding is imperative to any marketing strategy to drive sales.

The same is true for employer branding, which is the efforts a company puts into improving or shaping the perception people have of working for your organization. Some corporations have a reputation for being an awful place to work with employees getting burned out in less than a year, skimpy benefits packages, and otherwise unpleasant working conditions. These companies have a difficult time recruiting employees because nobody wants to work for a place with that type of reputation.

Other companies have a reputation for being an excellent place to work due to a supportive environment for employees and their families, great benefit packages, and the ability to work autonomously and creatively. These companies have no problem finding quality candidates because everybody wants to work for employee-focused companies. Companies that have solidified this type of employer branding have their pick of who they want to employ, and they often have the opposite problem of most other companies - having to choose between several high-quality candidates.

Employer branding, according to Forbes, is still one of the most important aspects of business operations, especially while many companies struggle to find and maintain employees. If you and your company are ever stuck about what to work on for employer branding, it never hurts to ask employees about what could be improved. You could host one-on-one meetings with a few employees to further explore employer branding, or you could send out mass surveys that ask what employees currently like or dislike about working for your company.


Healthcare Recruiting Doesn't Have to Be Overwhelming

Although recruiting in healthcare seems like an inherently overwhelming process, it doesn't have to be anymore. There are several simple ways to make healthcare recruiting easier and more rewarding for your company, and a systematic effort and patience are often enough to resolve recruiting issues. Many companies, however, don't have the time or budget to develop a sustainable recruiting plan, and HR professionals within the organization are left wondering how to resolve the many recruiting problems that arise.

At Lumina, we have worked tirelessly to produce an intuitive platform that seamlessly integrates human resources and marketing. Our customizable suite empowers your HR professionals to attract the right candidates.

If you're ready to see how it works, give Lumina a try today!