Secrets to Improving Healthcare Hiring

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post is taken from a recent Webinar featuring Heather Smith, Regional Director of Talent Development at Covenant Health, and Sandi Baylor-Schmidt, Director of Human Resources at CPH Medical Center in Sterling, Illinois.

HR practitioners in healthcare are likely to find hiring simultaneously exciting and stomach-churning for the foreseeable future. The industry is experiencing extraordinary growth with experts predicting that over half a million jobs will need to be filled over the next three years. While the number of job openings continues to increase, the existing workforce continues to age and get closer to retirement. In addition, the future workforce appears to be entering the workplace with very different expectations of their jobs, employers, and the hiring process itself. Millennials will represent about 40% of the workforce in just a few short years, so it is important to understand their needs and motivations. These issues are hardly unique to healthcare, but what do we need to do in order to continue to meet our mission as healthcare providers?

Our experts shared 7 hiring secrets. Details on three of our favorites are shown below.

Secret #1: Brand-Building Should Not Stop In the Consumer Market

What is your organization’s Employee Value Proposition (EVP)? Ideally, it communicates what makes your organization unique and attractive to employees and prospective employees who share those same values. In particular, millennials want to feel that they are aligned with a higher purpose and they will seek employers whose values align with theirs.  

For Smith and Covenant Health, the EVP is the organizational commitment to ministry; specifically to serve their dear neighbors without distinction. Smith has aligned reward and recognition around this EVP and uses the powerful tool of storytelling to reinforce this for employees and the communities served by Covenant. While Smith uses many platforms in recruiting, her most important tool is the landing page of the hiring site. There applicants will find a powerful video that speaks to what it is really like to work in these ministries.

Onboarding is an important part of the hiring process, but Smith starts before onboarding begins to insure that candidates understand that Covenant is where they can find purpose and make a contribution through their jobs. “We touch the candidate multiple times before the formal onboarding process with stories of our history and heritage. We share with them who we are, what our strategy is, where our long-term focus is, and how that’s connected to the roots of our mission.”

Secret #2: Hire for a Good Cultural Fit

Make sure that your employees are a good cultural fit for your organization. Do employees’ beliefs and behaviors align with those of the organization? Both Smith and Baylor-Schmidt look for professional skills and past job performance, but recommend that we not overlook the behavioral competencies that will determine a good cultural fit. Smith has built a robust library of behavioral questions on value-based competencies. These questions are also incorporated into peer interviews which are conducted by a carefully-selected and trained group of employees.

Smith also points out the importance of setting high standards for behavior and a strong commitment to values and makes the following recommendations.  

  1. HR practitioners should coach leaders to speak openly and boldly about mission and values in interviews.
  2. Leaders should be encouraged to frame commitment to the organization’s mission and values as an expectation of employees  
  3. Leaders should continue to reinforce these expectations when coaching at the established intervals for new employees.
  4. Leaders need to consistently include these discussions with employees on an ongoing basis.

Secret #3: Use Technology to Make Life Easier for You and for Job Seekers

Experts estimate that an astonishing 21,000 HR software products are available worldwide. It can be a somewhat daunting task to pick the right software and to choose the processes which should be automated. While CGH is a smaller organization, their recruiting process is now completely paperless. After implementing HealthStream’s Recruitment Center, they were able to determine that very few of their applicants came from the newspaper ads that were a substantial line item in the recruitment budget. (Not unexpectedly, millennials had ignored the local newspaper and had instead turned to the organization’s website to research career opportunities.) The streamlined process has resulted in both budgetary and operational efficiencies. Baylor-Schmidt and her team have been able to take on a number of additional tasks subsequent to implementing HealthStream’s Recruitment Center.

You can learn more from these experts by tuning into the webinar.