The Business Case for Focusing on Hospital and Healthcare Recruitment

Is there a link between human resources and hospital and health system business outcomes? In the current issue of HealthStream’s PX Advisor, Elliot Clark, chairman and CEO of HRO Today says yes, and he has the research to support it. “We became passionate about studying this connection and published a significant study called ‘Counting Success’ about five years ago. The study, picked up by several mass media publications, clearly established the link between knowing HR metrics and better company performance,” explains Elliot.

To better understand how HR functions in the healthcare world, the study asked whether HR is a good place to invest time, effort, and financial resources. The research revealed healthcare is woefully underinvested in HR. “The question troubling our research staff was how they could build the case for healthcare CEOs and CFOs to invest more in HR. It brought us back to the idea of connecting HR investment to business outcomes,” says Elliot. Two studies resulted from that question, the first called HR in the ER and the second, HR in the OR.

The Business Case: Recruitment Affects Capacity

The studies established how an inability to fill jobs affected vacancy rates. “If you have 500 beds in a hospital, and on any given day you can only staff 400, you will endanger your accreditations. That’s going to hurt your business,” Elliott observes.

He goes further: “Basically you’re paying for the rent, the electricity, and the heating for 100 beds you can’t fill because you don’t have enough people in the building. We found HR not only lacked appropriate investment in recruiters, they also didn’t have very good tools to assist them. Healthcare HR lagged behind the commercial world.” The study pointed out the spend in the healthcare industry for HR represents less than one percent of annual budget. “Healthcare systems spend more on facility maintenance than they do on getting the right people on board,” remarks Elliot.

Appropriate Staffing Necessitates Recruitment

Elliott suggests, “Every time you see a nurse come to your bed when you’re in the hospital, remember somewhere in that hospital or system is a recruiter who reached out to that nurse to bring him to your beside.” Appropriate staffing requires investing in nurse recruitment.

 The research revealed a significant underinvestment in nurse recruiting across the spectrum of hospitals and systems. The level or lack of investment was also shown to affect the ability of these organizations to offer alternative delivery. Elliot offers the example of wellness and preventative care programming, a necessary component of population health management.

“If you can’t fill your acute care beds, you’re unlikely to have the time or the impetus to go out there and build your professional wellness staff,” asserts Elliot. A significant percentage of respondents could not launch wellness programs because they were unable to recruit the people. Between one in three and one in four hospitals responded they don’t have enough employees. One of the principal reasons was they lacked the staff to satisfy recruitment needs.

To download this issue of PX Advisor, which includes the full article featuring Elliot Clark, complete this form. 

April 1, 2021