How Employers Can Adapt to a Tight Talent Marketplace in Healthcare

Senior Director of Marketing

Hospitals are struggling to recruit and retain qualified staff, particularly nurses, physicians, and other clinical professionals. This is leading to increased stress on existing staff and impacting the quality of patient care.

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, healthcare jobs account for 14 of the 30 fastest-growing occupations. Additionally, by 2026, 14% of all U.S. jobs will be in the healthcare and social assistance industry, and the healthcare industry will add nearly four million jobs. While healthcare job growth is good for the economy, this growth comes at a time when a lot of healthcare employers are experiencing an increase in employee turnover and longer times to hire.

Workforce challenges – specifically personnel shortages – ranked first on the list of hospital CEOs’ top concerns in 2022, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives’ annual survey of top issues confronting hospitals. At the top of the list for personnel shortages: Registered nurses, technicians (medical, lab) and therapists (respiratory, physical) – all positions requiring certification.

Recruiting for the healthcare industry is a constant challenge, particularly when recruiting for positions requiring licensing or certification, like home health aides, CNAs, LPs and nursing positions. While there’s no single solution to recruiting in a tight talent healthcare candidate market, a solid recruitment marketing strategy that focuses on employer branding can make a huge difference for healthcare recruiters.

Making Your Employer Brand the Focus of Recruitment Marketing

When you take a targeted marketing approach to reach healthcare talent with the right messaging, you get more qualified and better-matched candidates moving into your recruiting pipeline rather than sifting through hundreds of applications. Targeted messaging helps people identify your company as a match to their needs and desires, but it also showcases what differentiates your company from its competitors in the talent marketplace.

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In order to find out what appeals most to healthcare candidates, look to your most successful employees, whether they have 10 years or 10 months of tenure with your organization. Pulse surveys are quick short-form questions that you can send by email and you’ll want to look for the answers to two questions from your healthcare staff members:

  • Why did you choose to work for our company versus our competitors?
  • Why do you choose to stay at our company versus seeking another job?

Based on the responses, you can then move forward with targeting your recruitment marketing message to what appeals to candidates in healthcare about your organization more specifically. While salary and benefits are always going to be key factors, there are some other areas to consider.

Professional development opportunities. Healthcare workers are more likely to stay with an employer if they have opportunities for career growth and professional development. Employers can offer training, mentorship, and continuing education programs to help employees advance in their careers.

Having an internal platform with information and development opportunities for employees can also reduce turnover, specifically where employees are leaving for better opportunities. Your internal training programs, set up as online courses or access to certification and education, can be that better opportunity. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider management training. It’s an easy area to upskill and train your current hospital staff.

A positive workplace culture can significantly impact employee attraction and retention. Employers can foster a positive workplace culture by promoting open communication, creating a supportive work environment, recognizing employee achievements, and promoting work-life balance.

Flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and flexible scheduling, are attractive to healthcare workers. Employers should consider offering these options to improve employee retention and attract talent who are seeking work-life balance. Healthcare professionals in particular often work long hours, so having a healthy work-life balance is essential.

Financial support for education. Offering tuition reimbursement or student loan assistance is a great way to attract talent with education and training. This can help offset the costs of continuing education and encourage employees to stay with your organization.

Adapting to a tight talent marketplace in healthcare requires employers to be proactive and creative in their recruitment and retention efforts. By offering competitive compensation and benefits, creating a positive workplace culture, investing in employee training and development, using technology to streamline processes, and expanding recruitment efforts, healthcare organizations can attract and retain top talent in a competitive hiring environment.