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Episode Overview

We all know the importance of recruitment, but healthcare leaders at all levels are increasingly turning their focus to retention as the key to a sustainable workplace. Retention and recruitment are 2 sides of the same coin!

In this podcast, we explored effective retention strategies and creative ways to enhance the candidate experience. This discussion addressed how to effectively recruit, onboard and retain your talent. It’s time to rethink and modernize our approach to healthcare human resources.

Our returning guests for this podcast are:

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Retention and Recruitment: 2 Sides of the Healthcare HR Coin

Retention and recruitment are inextricably linked. Whatever you can do to improve your retention will, in turn, have an impact on your recruitment efforts. Several strategies that healthcare organizations can implement in order to retain and recruit more healthcare staff were discussed on our recent webinar with Molly Weaver and Raelynn Douglas. You can watch the full recording above.

Holding on to talent

Nurse turnover is expensive. In fact, the average turnover cost of a single Registered Nurse rose to $46,100 in 2022. Unsurprisingly, while turnover rates were already an issue pre-covid, the pandemic only made matters worse. So, what can healthcare organizations do to tackle this problem? Molly recommends “stay interviews” as a great place to start. This is an opportunity for employers to sit down with their employees and learn more about what they value in their current role and what could be improved. This might include such things as greater flexibility in their shift patterns or further scope for professional development. The key to any successful stay interview is to consider not only the job itself but the implications on personal and family life.

It is also important to make provisions for internal hiring. While more attention ought to be directed to external candidates who are less familiar with the organization, internal candidates should have ‘preferred and special attention paid to them’ given how integral they are to the organization. We shouldn’t underestimate the impact this can have. If internal candidates are given the opportunity to develop their skills and progress to higher positions within the organization, they will feel valued and inspired.

Organizations can also reevaluate their policies in order to better meet the needs of their employees. This doesn’t simply mean throwing money at the problem! Employees should be seen as ‘trusted investments’ and policies and benefits should be built around this. For instance, depending on the role, an employee may benefit from remote-based work on certain days of the week, or may wish to substitute certain religious holidays for those associated with their personal faith. This flexibility and understanding of people’s circumstances builds, as Molly says, a sense of ‘humanity’ within the organization’s culture.

Creating an ‘upward spiral’

It’s also important to address the negative media coverage and public discourse surrounding the healthcare industry. With the aforementioned turnover rates, unmanageable nurse to patient ratios and widespread employee burnout, it is no wonder many nurses feel demotivated. Raelynn suggests an ‘upward spiral’ is needed to not only empower the existing workforce, but also to attract future talent. If the hiring and onboarding processes are focused around long-term engagement and retention, new hires will likely go on to thrive in their role and even refer their organization to others in the future. As Raelynn points out, employees want to be paid well and valued for their hard work and sacrifice, but also to feel part of a compassionate work culture. She writes in her blog, “People will stay in challenging situations and do hard work if they feel they are valued and cared for by the people closest to them.”

Taking action

So what practical steps can healthcare organizations take? Firstly, don’t make your candidates wait. Keep them in the loop with regular updates on their application and communicate in a way that excites and inspires them. Candidates should be given hope that they’re joining a constructive and uplifting workforce and ideally this communication should begin well before they walk through the door. Molly recommends testing your existing application process to establish just how user-friendly it is. And since 81% of users apply through their phone, device compatibility should be seamless.

Perhaps more fundamentally, we shouldn’t view application processes as merely a tool by which to eliminate candidates. Hiring managers should try to consider how a particular candidate might fit into your organization, even if it isn’t for that specific role. Quite often a candidate may not be ready for the role you’re recruiting for, but with time, experience and hands-on training, they may well blossom into the ideal person for a future role. Spotting this potential talent early on is another powerful recruitment tool.

Final Thoughts on Retention and Recruitment

Molly writes in her blog, “Instead of taking an either/or approach to retention or recruiting, start this year with ‘and’ focus on things that will drive both recruitment and retention”. This is precisely the principle healthcare organizations should be adopting in 2023 and beyond to mitigate the pressure of nurse turnover, hold on to talent and attract new candidates. The responses we get to our nurse surveys tell us that such strategies work. Nurses tell us that when they feel part of a supportive work culture, they are much more likely to stay in their current role and refer their colleagues to work there as well. Our last newsletter offers more insights from our nurse surveys.

Our hope is that more healthcare organizations will recognise the steps they can take to keep their existing workforce motivated and empowered and bring in a steady flow of new talent through their doors.

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