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How to Source Better Healthcare Talent without Spending More

Sourcing talent in the healthcare industry has proven to be a tricky endeavor for facilities big and small. Between talent shortages, an aging baby boomer generation increasing demand for health services, and a large portion of the workforce reaching retirement age, recruiters have had their work cut out for them for quite some time. In fact, an estimated 900,000 registered nurses intend to leave their positions by 2027 due to burnout, stress, and retirement.

The data has been clear, anecdotal evidence has been clear: The healthcare staffing landscape has seen significant shifts, with no signs of slowing anytime soon. Now more than ever, it's time to change the way we recruit talent. So let's review a few solutions that are effective and won't break budgets.


Leverage Your Employees' Networks

Your current employees are one of your greatest assets when it comes to recruiting efforts, especially if they are satisfied in their jobs. Positive word of mouth can help spread your employer branding more effectively than anything — and it's free of charge! This can happen naturally, but there are some things you can do to formally incentivize your employees to spread the word:


Referral programs

A formal employee referral program that encourages current employees to bring their own networks into the organization is one of the most effective ways you can attract talent at reasonable prices. Bonuses, prizes, or other benefits such as vacation time will motivate your workforce to expand your talent pool. The sky's the limit in terms of what you can offer — you can even create a tiered system. Some hospitals have referral programs that offer cash bonuses that get increasingly rewarding based on how difficult the position is to fill. For example, full-time, non-clinical roles may award $750, while clinical specialty positions offer up to $15,000. This may sound costly up front, but in the end, it is still cheaper than spending time and resources on yearslong recruiting efforts.


Alumni networks

When an employee leaves, particularly on a good note, it's important to maintain that positive relationship after the fact. Ex-employees don't just disappear into the ether — they talk about their former positions, both what they liked and what they didn't. Maintaining good relationships with ex-employees can create a positive image of your organization even within other healthcare companies.


Build a Strong Employer Brand

Employer branding is slightly different from your company's overall brand. While overall branding is definitely incorporated into it, employer branding is heavily focused on showcasing your organization as a desirable place to work. Punching it up can go a long way in convincing potential candidates to apply. Here are a few ideas to get started:


  • Develop employer brand personas: Tailor your recruitment strategies to each type of position. For example, if you're recruiting nursing staff, be sure to tailor your messaging to what makes your company unique in the nursing space. Ensure that you convey the internal values that might appeal to a potential nursing candidate. This doesn't have to be a one and done, either. You can create multiple custom personas and hiring campaigns based on the positions you're trying to fill at any given moment.


  • Stay engaged online: Word of mouth is great, but its reach is limited. Social media and other online outlets, however, have endless reach. Ensure that you have custom job portals on your website, stay engaged and keep your social media profiles up to date, and convey your mission/values as much as possible to stay top of mind for prospective applicants.


  • Get honest feedback: One of the best ways to build an employer brand is to understand how current employees feel about their positions and the organization as a whole. If they have complaints, take steps to address them. If they have positive sentiments, be sure to include those within job boards, social media content, and other outlets where your employer branding appears. Anonymous surveys, testimonials, and focus groups can help you glean insights into what your priorities should be.

HWL has helped companies establish a strong employer branding and it has worked wonders. We helped Iroquois Healthcare Association, for instance, create an internal agency that utilized a strong employer brand to attract new talent. This helped set up a more direct talent pipeline so they weren't so dependent on costly vendors, leading to an 18.5% reduction in contract labor spend.


Focus on Retention as a Sourcing Strategy

Sometimes you don't know what you have until it's gone. This is why talent retention is so important to overall talent sourcing strategies. Oftentimes the need for new talent rises from previous departures, so if you can prevent those departures as much as possible, you can save on hiring costs. Plus, institutional knowledge remains within your existing workforce, saving on training costs as well.

There are a number of ways you can prioritize talent retention, including but not limited to:

  • Providing continued learning opportunities
  • Implementing a sponsorship program to promote upward mobility
  • Develop internal resource pools
  • Build a positive workplace culture (which also influences employer branding)
  • Address internal skill gaps and implement new training


Embrace Technology

There are a variety of technology solutions created specifically to ease the entire recruiting process. Tools such as a vendor management system (VMS) help to reduce contingent labor costs, while a managed service program (MSP) reduces administrative burden by picking up the mantle on contract management, recruiting and onboarding, screening and interviewing, and more. Never before has so much technology been at our fingertips and able to streamline the most tedious parts of work, so take advantage of it!


HWL Is Here to Help Source Talent While Reducing Spend

HWL's service offerings include MSP, VMS, Locums management, internal agency creation, advisory services, and much more, all built on a foundation of vendor neutrality. We were designed from the ground up to help healthcare organizations contain costs, create long-term sustainability, and provide higher quality of care.

If you have been suffering from excessive staffing costs, as many are in the healthcare space, give us a call or email to book a demo and find out how our customized solutions can help you attain your workforce goals.

May 06, 2024/By Jeff Niles
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Author: Jeff Niles

Jeff is Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Healthcare Workforce Logistics and has been in healthcare contingent workforce management for over 15 years. Jeff has led sales, implementation, and client services to some of the largest and most influential healthcare providers with technology and solutions installed in over 3,000 hospitals in 50 states and the UK. Jeff is inspired to work with transformational leaders that have a vision to achieve the highest levels of efficiency, transparency, compliance, quality and cost savings. Contact Jeff at jniles@hwlmsp.com OR 630-913-6629
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