Updating Healthcare Recruitment Strategies for the New Normal
In 2022, it’s a prospective employee’s world, and never more so than in healthcare.
There is constant pressure to fill vacant positions in healthcare systems at all levels, from executives and physicians to nurses and support staff members.
But it’s not all bad news. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly all healthcare sectors saw employment increases in May 2022 despite ongoing workforce shortages. Hospital and health system employment led the job growth, adding 16,300 positions — the most significant increase since December 2020 but still below pre-pandemic levels.
Healthcare recruiters are working hard to attract new talent to their organizations. They must consider these elements when future-proofing their recruitment and retention strategies to stay competitive in the new normal.
Competitive Compensation and Benefits
Compensation matters, especially in a labor-intensive industry like healthcare. In 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wages and salaries rose almost 6% for healthcare and social assistance workers in the United States — up from 2.2% in 2021.
That significant increase reflects the demand for healthcare workers across the country and what hospitals and other healthcare organizations must spend to recruit and retain them.
“In the healthcare space and across the board, new candidates and current employees want to feel valued for their work, time, and commitment,” says Laura Strickland, Candidate Relations Specialist for Carex Consulting Group. “Competitive pay along with offering extra benefits and flexibility can go a long way to help an organization stand out from its competitors.”
Flexible Work Schedules
The advent of telehealth has opened up job opportunities that allow more flexibility than traditional healthcare positions. Even on the executive level, hybrid work and a flexible schedule are benefits many job seekers see as vital, says Patricia Lenkov, President at Agility Executive Search LLC.
“For many who worked at home during COVID, going back to an in-person office environment is no longer desirable,” she says. “Most candidates I speak with ask whether an opportunity is at least hybrid, and if it is not, this is a non-starter for many.”
A Culture of Safety
The 2022 Willis Towers Watson Global Benefits Attitudes Survey found that employer support positively impacted employee engagement and retention. While it didn’t explore job applicant attitudes toward vaccine mandates, the survey found that most employees supported safety requirements for on-site workers.
The anecdotal evidence backs up those findings. Evan McCarthy is the CEO of SportingSmiles LLC, an online dental lab specializing in custom-designed dental products. During the pandemic, the organization introduced even more stringent safety measures than those already in place. The strict protocols helped establish a culture of safety that reassured staff members, potential employees, and even customers.
“Though a lot of CDC and government safety protocols for COVID have relaxed, we feel that our staff and future employees’ personal well-being is heartened by our upkeeping of certain policies going into the future,” McCarthy says. “Making sure new recruits know you as a business care about their health just as much as your bottom line is a progressively good policy to entrench in your operation.”
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are a major priority for job seekers. A September 2020 Glassdoor survey shows that 76% of respondents report that a diverse workforce is important when evaluating companies and job offers. Additional 2021 Glassdoor research found that for every additional star an employer receives in its D&I rating, the likelihood of an employee recommending the employer to a friend increases by 26% in the United States.
“Potential employees consider a company’s culture and policies when considering an opportunity, and it is important to reflect the right values,” Lenkov says.
A Changing Landscape
Healthcare recruitment is a still-adapting landscape completely transformed after the events of the past two years. By focusing on these elements, recruiters can update their strategies and bring fresh new talent into their organizations.