It is a job seeker’s market in the healthcare industry. This trend will continue indefinitely. For example, the demand for nurses is critical. There are over 4,000,000 nurses in the United States; 1,000,000 more nurses are needed within one year. Savvy job seekers use the tight market to their advantage. Simply offering excellent wages and great benefit packages are no longer sufficient in the competitive healthcare industry.
Health care workers are suffering from burnout and secondary traumatic stress, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This means that many dissatisfied workers are seeking new positions. The National Academy of Medicine concludes that 35 to 54% of physicians and nurses show signs of burnout, and the pandemic has accelerated burnout further. Health care organizations seeking to hire new talent need to keep burnout prevention at the forefront when they are seeking new staff.
Wise job seekers are examining how health care organizations responded during the COVID crisis. Evaluating organizations’ responses and treatment of their workers during the crisis gives potential hires insight into how the workers are valued and treated. While it is not fair to compare facilities that were impacted differently by the crisis, it makes sense to evaluate facilities that were faced with similar challenges. For example, if two hospitals in one city had similar rates of infection, and one required staff to reuse masks and did not offer generous financial incentives while the other one provided workers with adequate personal protective equipment, bonus pay, and extra vacation time once the crisis lessened, a prospective employee may interpret that the management of the first facility did not value its staff as much as the second.
Health care organizations must make their presence known through social media. It is important that they are visible and open about their mission and values. Prospective talent wants to know what makes your organization special. They want to know how you treat your customers and your staff. It is important to share your vision clearly.
Reach out to prospective employees in places they frequent virtually and in person. For example, an organization that needs emergency department nurses may want to consider placing ads in magazines that cater to emergency workers. Stay abreast of professional conferences and speak with potential staff there.
Health care staff are faced with high levels of stress which has intensified with the pandemic. Quality of life is a huge issue for workers. Offering wellness programs that help employees cope with the stressors of their jobs is not only attractive to potential staff but increases employee satisfaction and retention. Confidential in-person and online 24-hour support is essential. Ensure that your facility provides safety on all levels for workers, as it is a major concern among health care workers.
Childcare has been an ongoing challenge for workers. It intensified during the pandemic. Offering on-site or financial incentives for childcare, in addition to flexible scheduling, is attractive for many employees.
Collaborative practices and career ladders attract new staff and help retain current workers as employees are empowered to take charge of their own staffing and career paths. Empowered staff improves customer experience, client outcomes, and worker satisfaction.
Interviews can take place in person or via technology. Be efficient when hiring. Use technology to aid the hiring process. Online personality and behavioral tests, background checks, and skill checks facilitate the onboarding process.
Welcome new staff with a comprehensive orientation program before the new talent takes on the role for which he or she was hired. Tailor the orientation program to the new staff member’s needs. Have ongoing conversations with the new hire throughout the process.
These are challenging times to attract new staff. Creativity, excellence, and genuine concern for worker satisfaction are keys to success.