How Healthcare Employers Can Leverage Brand Reputation to Improve Recruiting and Retention

Marketing Specialist

Talent recruitment and retention remain among the top challenges facing healthcare organizations in the new decade. According to a SHRM survey, 46% of HR professionals rated highly skilled medical positions as very difficult to fill. And the healthcare industry is projected to add 3.8 million jobs by 2024.

Employer brand reputation plays a pivotal role in a healthcare organization’s recruiting success. “Candidates are not only paying attention to how you care for patients,” says Elena Valentine, CEO and co-founder of Skill Scout. “They are also paying close attention to how you care for your employees.”

Your brand reputation can mean the difference between experiencing chronic turnover and staff shortages and becoming a preferred employer with an engaged and thriving employee base. Here are three ways your brand could be affecting your recruiting and retention efforts — and steps you can take to regain control.

Brand Reputation Starts With Good Patient Outcomes

Many employees enter healthcare because they want to help people, and a negative reputation will deter employees from applying or remaining at an organization where they can’t. Without quality candidates applying, you could face issues with patient care, short staffing and turnover. But a reputation for good patient outcomes helps attract vocation-minded candidates. 

“We often hear stories of people whose patient care influenced them so strongly that they wanted to become a part of that brand,” says Emily Fritz, an employer brand strategist with exaqueo. “There's a lot of opportunity to strengthen those bonds and really connect the experiences.” Fritz suggests using surveys and focus groups to determine where your brand stands now and to provide direction for the future.

Realistic Job Previews Can Prevent Misconceptions

Your brand can help you attract the right fit for your healthcare organization. “You don't want to attract everybody,” Fritz points out. “You want to attract the people who are going to thrive.” This requires being honest about what working at your organization is like. 

Videos can help you do that. “Being realistic upfront gives candidates an opportunity to self-screen in or out,” Valentine says. “Those who move forward in your hiring process will do so knowing what to expect and will be more likely to stay.”

If your organization is working on building your brand reputation, be honest about it. There are candidates who will be motivated by that journey. Being honest about where you are will help you to attract candidates that make the most sense for your organization.

Background Checks Help You Protect Your People — and Your Reputation

Safety is a very real concern for healthcare employees. According to a 2013 survey from the Workplace Bullying Institute, 27% of workplace bullying occurs in a healthcare setting. And employees can’t function optimally in these conditions. “Safety and security have to be met before your employees can deliver the quality of care that your organization demands,” says Fritz. Anything less, and both patient outcomes and your brand will suffer.

Background checks protect your brand by eliminating potentially inappropriate applicants. Short staffing and high-stress situations in healthcare settings can cause tempers to flare, but background screenings help you identify candidates who will remain focused and civil under extreme pressure. “A violent scenario can really tarnish a brand’s reputation for both consumers and employees,” Fritz points out. 

A focus on patient outcomes, honest communication with candidates and comprehensive background screenings can keep both your patients and employees safe and protect your brand reputation. Ultimately, your employees drive your brand. “By enabling them to shape the process, you will not only get more buy-in,” Valentine says. “You will have inherently engaged them by shining a spotlight on their experience.”