The healthcare industry is facing a critical shortage of physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical workers, senior care staff, and physician assistants, leading to burnout and an unsatisfied workforce. Healthcare organizations can address this shortage by implementing effective recruitment and retention strategies to ensure the workforce feels supported, valued, and prepared for the future.
Table of Contents
- Healthcare Talent Recruitment Strategies
- 1. Post your positions to healthcare job boards
- 2. Invest in talent recruiting software
- 3. Be part of your candidates' career conversations
- 4. Create attractive benefits packages
- Talent Retention Strategies
Definitive Healthcare reports that in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021 alone, 117,000 physicians and 5,295 nurse practitioners left the workforce. An alarming number of licensed clinical social workers, physical therapists, and physician assistants have also left the workforce. While some of this is related to an aging workforce, the healthcare worker shortage is also affected by other factors.
- Physical and mental burnout
- Violence in the healthcare setting
- No opportunity for advancement
- Growth opportunities
- Career and family
- Feeling disrespected at work
The good news is that with effective recruitment and retention strategies, healthcare organizations can recruit top healthcare talent and contribute to a more fulfilled workforce. Robust benefits packages and career advancement opportunities are part of the solution, but there are additional creative and effective strategies that can help healthcare hiring managers meet their staffing needs while also contributing to a more satisfied workforce.
Healthcare Talent Recruitment Strategies
By 2026, researchers predict that there will be a critical shortage of approximately 3.2 million healthcare workers, according to an Emsi data analysis. In addition to a physician shortage, healthcare organizations will also experience a critical nursing shortage.
If you experience a talent shortage within your own company, how will you fill the gap? Consider these four innovative nursing shortage solutions.
1. Post your positions to healthcare job boards
Most healthcare professionals begin their job search online, and all the sites listed below can help you recruit top talent.
For many healthcare workers, CareerBuilder is their first stop. Healthcare talent can set up email alerts for current job openings that are a good fit for them.
Like CareerBuilder, Indeed is another go-to resource for healthcare job seekers.
As a key partner with hospitals, Hospital Careers posts current job openings and places healthcare talent in positions across the country.
Members of this social platform community can participate in "Medical Mingle," where they can interact with one another through articles, forums, and support groups. Moreover, HeathcareJobsNationwide has a job database where healthcare talent can search for positions based on specialty, location, job type, and more.
With more than 6,500 employers in their network, Health e-Careers is used by some of the biggest names in the healthcare sector.
In addition to a job search tool, this website gives healthcare professionals free resources, such as a career learning center, coaching, and webinars.
Pharmacists, nurses, biotech workers, and dentists can find job listings on this site.
Many healthcare professionals head to the HealthcareSource job board because, at any given time, the site has more than 100K healthcare jobs.
2. Invest in talent recruiting software
The cost of healthcare recruiting is staggering, both in financial cost and in the length of time it takes to fill a position. Industry experts estimate that it can take minimally 84 days to fill entry-level roles, at a cost of approximately $2,167. For mid-level and senior-level positions, the financial cost and time it can take to recruit top talent can double and triple.
A healthcare labor market whitepaper recommends that hospital and health HR systems automate and digitalize their onboarding and recruitment. Recruitment software can handle any or all of the stages of your hiring process and can be automated to save you time and money.
The benefits of talent recruiting software
Here are some of the benefits of using recruitment software.
One of the best tools available to recruiters to ensure a fair and consistent evaluation. They have the potential to minimize interviewer bias while giving the greatest predictive validity of a good hire. Some of the best interviewing tools are purpose-built for structured interviews.
Pre-recorded video interviews
With pre-recorded interviews, you can free up many of the administrative hours often spent on screening interviews, and the cost-to-hire is up to six times less expensive than phone interviews. Most importantly, the healthcare talent can open a link and attend their interview at their convenience.
With automated interview scheduling, you can integrate multiple calendars to ensure that you don't double-book candidates. You can also offer options to candidates that allow them to choose how they prefer to interview with your company: on the phone, in person, or virtually.
Applicant tracking system
Automatically update candidate profiles as they progress through the interviewing and evaluation processes. You can also auto-tag key skill sets and qualifications to highlight while reviewing the interview. Using built-in structured tools, you can rate, sort, and rank applicants on an equal basis.
Automated reference checking
Without making a single phone call or sending an email, you can get insights into your applicants. Candidates enter their references' details, and a questionnaire is automatically sent to the references.
Candidate sourcing tools
The most efficient candidate sourcing tools enable your talent team to expand beyond their normal reach. These tools give your team access to new talent pools, especially useful when looking for specialized skill sets for hard-to-fill job positions.
Healthcare providers can boost retention by utilizing the capabilities of their human resource information systems to improve the employee experience. Some systems even come equipped with candidate sourcing and management features. To stay ahead in a highly competitive market, it's crucial for leading organizations to use specialized recruitment tools such as an applicant tracking system.
3. Be part of your candidates' career conversations
Your search for healthcare talent isn't just immediate. Successful healthcare recruiters need to consider long-term strategies. Think about where your current and future candidates are, and meet them there, whether it's at a local community college or career fair.
In addition to focusing on the job you're trying to fill, have conversations with your candidates about their careers in healthcare. Instead of trying to sell them on the position, sell potential recruits on the career. This involves being proactive in your recruiting.
For a long-term recruiting strategy, consider these recruitment opportunities.
- Attend industry conferences
- Visit colleges near your practice to identify potential recruits
- Attend networking events and career fairs to talk about your open positions
- Develop relationships with career counselors and recruiters
- Create content around your job openings and what it's like to work with your company. This can include blog posts, social media posts, and videos
- Speak to high school classes to spark an interest in careers in medicine
4. Create attractive benefits packages
Because healthcare is such a competitive market, attractive benefits packages are essential if you hope to attract the most qualified applicants. In the past, candidates who were job-seeking looked primarily at salary, healthcare benefits, paid time off, and investment options. In today's competitive climate, employers have to go beyond the basics.
Consider offering these benefits.
Flexible shifts and scheduling
A traditional work week will work well for some employees, but others may need more creative scheduling that works with their family and personal life. Avoid a one-size-fits-all approach.
Access to health and wellness programs
Healthcare is a stressful industry, and it's important that employees have access to programs that allow them to more effectively address their own health needs.
When you invest in employee training and continuing education, it's a win/win for both you and them.
Talent Retention Strategies
The recruitment and hiring process is costly. Once you've recruited top healthcare talent, what can you do to keep them? These research-based innovative strategies can help you keep your healthcare talent engaged.
1. Adopt a persona-based strategy
Every employee has different needs and priorities, and adopting a persona-based strategy will help you keep your top talent and develop your emerging talent. For example, Gen Z workers appreciate a company that offers opportunities to thrive and diverse perspectives. A study by Tallo found that 99% of Gen Z employees (individuals born after 1996) identify diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as important factors in the workplace.
2. Put a strong focus on career advancement
According to a 2022 report by NSI Nursing Solutions, one of the primary reasons healthcare employees resign from their jobs is for career advancement. If you can offer career advancement from within, you have a stronger chance of keeping your top talent.
Career advancement opportunities can also help you in the recruitment process. Consider making an internal promotion policy.
3. Offer flexible scheduling
Employees who have a solid work-life balance are more likely to be happy in their current positions. Every family has different needs, and when you work with your healthcare talent to find a schedule that works for them, you stand a better chance of having a lower turnover rate.
One of the top three employee value proposition (EVP) elements is work flexibility. A survey conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that 49% of respondents considered creative flexibility to be one of their top three considerations in job satisfaction.
Here are some ideas for creative flexibility in scheduling:
- Shift working
- Job sharing
- Compressed workweeks
- Alternating days off
- Flex-time models
You can also use digital tools to track and structure your staff schedules. For example, when you leverage digital tools, you can allow employees to use an app for finding last-minute replacements, providing shift coverage, and simplifying staff schedules.
4. Be proactive about burnout
Burnout can be a problem in any industry, but statistics show that healthcare professionals experience burnout at higher rates than other professions. Consider these troubling burnout statistics.
- A study by NEJM Catalyst found that 96% of medical professionals consider burnout to be a problem.
- The Mayo Clinic found that 42% of physicians surveyed reported symptoms of burnout.
- As reported by 34% of physicians in a Medscape survey, too many work hours contribute to burnout.
- According to Pacific Companies, more than 50% of physicians work between 50 and 80 hours per week.
- The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that burnout in physicians costs as much as $6.3 billion.
- By 2032, the U.S. will experience a shortage of more than 122,000 doctors, according to AAMC.
Some of the things your company can do to reduce burnout in healthcare talent include more paid time off, encouraging employees to use their vacation time, and separating PTO and sick days into two different categories.
The nursing home industry is facing significant staffing shortages, with 87% of respondents in a recent American Health Care Association survey reporting moderate to high levels of shortages. To compensate, 99% of respondents stated they regularly ask staff to work overtime.
Strategies for Healthcare Candidates
If you're a healthcare professional, you're living in an era where your skills are in higher demand than ever. The keys to a rewarding career in healthcare depend on a few different factors.
- Finding the best fit for you
- Avoid burnout with a commitment to self-care
- Insulate yourself from the issues causing many to leave the profession
Below, we offer tips and best practices from other healthcare professionals that can help you ensure that you're setting yourself up for a successful career in your profession.
1. Qualify your interest
Most job sites now allow companies to identify whether their posted role is remote. These sites often, but not always, include a “remote” option in the job seekers’ search options. In cases where no filter is available, try typing “remote” in the search criteria, or in the “location” bar.
2. Search for jobs that offer competitive benefits
Healthcare talent is in high demand, and the looming shortage has you well-positioned to be selective about where you want to work. In addition to competitive salaries, look for benefits such as health and wellness programs, both PTO and sick days, retirement savings plans, and flexible scheduling.
3. Consider positions in high-demand locations
Healthcare professionals are in demand everywhere, but some areas have more opportunities in terms of competitive pay. For example, hospitals and other organizations in rural areas are often willing to offer higher salaries than similar employers in more populated areas to attract quality talent. Additional benefits of a rural lifestyle can include a lower cost of living, expanded recreation options, and a slower pace of life.
4. Assess your qualifications and skills
Whether you're beginning the search for your first job or looking to transition to a new one, it's a good time to self-assess.
- Begin by making a list of your non-clinical and clinical skills
- Next, list your educational achievements and certifications
- Finally, do a self-inventory to identify the unique personality traits that make you an excellent healthcare professional
When you compile your resume and cover letter, keep these lists in mind. These lists will also help you prepare for interviews.
The healthcare industry has hit a critical level in its need for workers. Between now and 2030, more than one million registered nurses are set for retirement. While these statistics are concerning, employers who are prepared and proactive can more effectively manage their workforce.
Doubling down on support for a diverse workforce, ensuring that healthcare professionals know their worth, and offering competitive benefits that go beyond salary will help you be ready for the challenges that are coming.