Top 5 Takeaways from the 2017 NAHCR IMAGE Conference

Top 5 Takeaways from the 2017 NAHCR IMAGE Conference
Senior Director of Marketing

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the 43rd National Association for Health Care Recruitment (NAHCR) IMAGE Conference in Savannah, Georgia. In 2017 and beyond, successful healthcare recruitment organizations will need to incorporate marketing tactics and strategies in order to meet talent acquisition goals. This trend is evident by reviewing several of the breakout sessions from this year’s conference, which focused on recruitment marketing.

As you review your recruitment strategies for the year, consider the following five key takeaways from this year’s NAHCR conference.

Lee Silber’s Lesson on Empowership

Opening this year’s keynote presentation is entrepreneur Lee Silber, a surf shop owner who became the best selling author of 21 books, including 15 business books. Even if you are not a business owner, Silber suggests entrepreneurial thinking is key for success in your current role. “You control your career and your life because you are the business and you have a client,” Silber said. “Think and act like an entrepreneur when working within another company. If you want to make a change, you have to think like an entrepreneur.” The result? Silber assures it is empowering and will help you feel better about what you do.

Marketing-Driven Sourcing Trends Transforming Healthcare Recruitment

During their session titled “8 Sourcing Trends to Transform Healthcare Recruitment,” Karen Antrim, Director of Research/Sourcing at Lean Human Capital, and Steven Mostyn, Senior Sourcing Manager at Adventist Health, discussed several trends derived from marketing that impact the future of healthcare recruitment. These include:

  • In-sourcing recruitment marketing: With costs for travel agency expenditures rising, experts suggest creating your own in-house sourcing department to work on those hard-to-fill positions. The recruitment marketing profession is one of the fastest growing aspects of recruitment..
  • Online reputation management: Glassdoor has become the number one site that employees and candidates will look at and review how others are reviewing your organization. Any rating below a 4 is a negative review, which could deter Millennial candidates from applying for a position. To combat that, encourage staff to make good reviews.
  • Advanced search engine optimization (SEO): One of the ways that organizations source is by drawing people to them. SEO determines how well your pages rank organically (i.e. without paying for Google ads). From a recruitment perspective, job postings are a marketing tool and should be optimized for effective SEO.

Candidate Relationships Are Now Powered by Marketing

In his presentation, “Cultivating Candidate Relationships: The Next Phase in the Evolution of Healthcare Recruitment,” Anthony Gentile, Managing Partner at Katon Direct, discussed how the distinction between the candidate and the consumer has blurred over the years. “Candidates are now in control of their career search,” Gentile says. “All recruitment strategies are some form of either marketing or advertising. It’s really no shock that recruitment has transformed along with it.”

Healthcare organizations face a unique talent acquisition challenge. The majority of the top talent (i.e. high value candidates) are unresponsive at best and unreachable at worst, according to Gentile. In order to succeed, healthcare organizations need to think about the candidate journey similar to a marketing funnel. In such a funnel, candidates start at the top Awareness stage, engaged candidates reach the middle Consideration stage, and a select few reach the Decision stage which results in a successful hire.

In order to drive candidates to take action and result in more hires, organizations need to have solid recruitment marketing processes. Gentile defines recruitment marketing as a strategic approach that focuses on delivering highly valuable, relevant and consistent messaging to attract a clearly defined audience to drive candidate action.

Modifying the Evolving Candidate Experience for Results

In his session, “Redefining How Recruiters and Candidates Connect,” Daniel Reynolds, Director of Client Services at Fusion Marketing Group, discussed the four key disconnects between candidates and healthcare organizations and how recruiters can address them. Consider the following areas and how they relate to the processes at your organization:

  1. Where candidates come from: 72 percent of applicants for hospitals are local candidates, according to Reynolds’ data. Instead of doing a nationwide search, research in which geographic locations top candidates are being sourced from. “Use analytics to track every marketing channel,” Reynolds suggests.
  2. How candidates behave on your site: While it is nice to have information about your organization’s culture, the top question on candidates’ minds is: “Do you have the job I am looking for (and is it available now)?” “When you design your website, you want to make it in a way that candidates can easily find jobs,” Reynolds says. “Give them the best possible experience.”
  3. Applicants apply in one visit: In reality, this is a myth. There is over a 90 percent drop from the time candidates visit a website and fail to complete an application. This is consistent with Gentile’s description of the candidate funnel. “It takes 6.45 visit before candidates in general can complete an application,” according to Reynolds. “For nurses, it is 6.06.” This means retargeting campaigns can be an effective method to get more candidates to apply.
  4. The talent community: There’s often untapped potential in talent communities. Consumer trends reveal that nearly 3 in 4 of those who abandon a cart plan on returning. This means there is remarketing potential to drive candidates who have abandoned an application to apply. “Hit them while they’re hot, while it’s on their mind, and you are more likely to get better results,” Reynolds says.

Continuously Optimizing the Recruitment Process

In his presentation, “Optimizing Your Recruitment Process,” Bill Wiseley, Director of Talent Acquisition at BAYADA Home Health Care, discussed how his organization hosted a Kaizen event to continuously improve BAYADA’s recruitment processes. If your organization is looking for ways to improve your recruiting results, consider the following ideas from Wiseley’s presentation:

  • Improve the recruiter/hiring manager partnership: BAYADA established service-level agreements (SLA) between recruiters and hiring managers and surveyed hiring managers afterwards to measure recruiter performance. Additionally, they required communication with the hiring manager at least on a weekly basis.
  • Focus pre-hire assessments on culture: Cultural fit can impact key performance metrics such as retention, which makes sense to align pre-hire assessments with your organization’s values.  “We hire on culture and train anyone on the skills needed for any position,” Wiseley says.
  • Streamline the interview process: Candidates can have a negative experience if they are asked the same questions by different individuals, and it can cost your organization quality hires. BAYADA condensed their interview process map and conducted behavioral interview training for their hiring staff.
  • Rethink candidate attraction: Consider building a social media enegagement program for employees. “We had to introduce [social media] because engagement today is social,” Wiseley says. He suggests having a social media ambassador recruitment program and assessing how many influenced hires result from the efforts.

As the healthcare industry continues to evolve and the lines between candidates and consumers are blurred, recruitment professionals need to adopt marketing strategies to succeed in the new world. Did you attend this year’s NAHCR conference? What were your favorite takeaways? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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