Meet the 2020 Innovator: Ivy Singley of Infirmary Health

iCIMS Staff
January 22, 2021

Over the coming months, iCIMS will be highlighting our 2020 Innovator Award winners. The idea is to give you more insight into our winners’ thoughts on innovation in talent acquisition, upcoming trends, and best practices.

In this edition, we speak to Ivy Singley, employment services manager at Infirmary Health, one of the largest employers in Alabama. We asked Singley about her 20 years of talent experience, along with how she solves today’s  healthcare hiring challenges. You can read our Q&A with Ivy below.

What do you see as the major change in the healthcare industry, and in recruiting, during your 20 year career?

I would tell you that back when I started as an HR generalist, it was all about interviewing every candidate that applied for the job. That’s morphed over the years with technology – but relationship building and face-to-face interaction is still at the core of it. Technology has made things easier, for sure, and quicker as well. It’s really helped the candidate experience, but the fundamentals of hiring and recruitment are still basically the same.

Can you expand on that? What are some of the fundamentals that are still key?

One of my philosophies is to hire the talent and train the skill, and that’s something that’s stayed the same for 23 years. I have always lived by that. Behavioral-based interviewing drives at who the person you’re hiring is at their core. Anyone can go through nursing school, but it takes a special person to be a great nurse. You can understand the clinical side of things and have skills, but if you don’t have bedside manner and you’re not personable, you aren’t going to last at Infirmary Health too long.

What are the biggest challenges you are facing right now in healthcare recruiting?

The shortages. As a country we have a nursing shortage, but we are also seeing shortages in the deeper disciplines as well. It’s learning how to work around these shortages – is this something we can train in our system on our own?

On top of that, there’s competition within hospital systems with nursing agencies. There are agencies that pay incredible rates, some of them even provide room and board or bonuses on assignments. It’s us against them. Especially with the pandemic, the health systems are struggling. Our staff is tired, they have pandemic fatigue, and agencies are swooping up nurses.

Then in Mobile specifically, we have four hospitals within 10 miles. There are nursing schools here, but if there’s only one nursing school graduating 60 nurses a year, and you have four hospitals – those  numbers don’t add up.

How do you guys approach that competition?

It’s always about marketing ourselves as the leader and being the best employer. We go by “employer of choice” in our recruitment marketing. Our focus is on that – we are the largest healthcare provider in our region. The community alongside knows we give back to the area and that spreads the word as well. We are committed to safety initiatives and having the best technologies. It’s all about setting us apart.

Our mission is L I F E – and it stands for leadership, integrity, family, and excellent service. We highlight that a lot when we are recruiting and talking to candidates, and they know the Infirmary name.

When you’re looking at technologies to help accent your talent strategies, what are some of your recommendations on vetting vendors?

It’s all about the ability to configure your platform for us. You need to have a software that allows us to change things up and address new business challenges, like we did during the pandemic. Being able to report on your technology KPIs and getting great data out of a system are also key.

In healthcare, we are moving so fast and our business is so crucial, that it’s also about our candidate experience. How easy is it for them to apply? Was the system reliable and intuitive? Is there a mobile experience? Does your vendor offer modern communication options? Those are all really key.

I also think it’s really important to build a relationship with your vendor. I have a lot of close relationships with my team at iCIMS. They took the time to listen to me, understand what my challenges are, and what I need to be successful. The best part – and I think this is key for any vendor – is that they shouldn’t be answering your questions before you even ask them. They should be good listeners. Vendors we work with don’t have to know the healthcare recruitment space, although that really helps. If you just take the time to understand my business, I feel valued.

In human resources, they’ve taught us to be present at the table. So why would we not surround ourselves with a recruiting software or partnership that gives us the ability to have great data, have great strategy, and earns us that seat at the table?

What are some trends that you are keeping an eye on for 2021 and beyond?

It’s the virtual hiring technologies. The texting, the chat features, the digital platforms for interviewing, like Zoom. Those are all things I see constant changing. Especially with everyone working from home and changing strategies to do more digital hiring, those technologies are very important and will continue to be a factor in 2021.

But I have to say, in healthcare we are so focused on COVID and pandemic response, patient care  and staffing our hospitals. It’s been different planning for 2021.

Have you been able to plan? Has the pandemic influenced your ability to set a strategy for 2021?

We’ve gone through the motions, but in healthcare, we are all waiting for what is behind door number two. There’s a resurgence across the country, and things change so rapidly that we really have to take one week at a time and be extremely agile. That’s why it’s so crucial to have an applicant tracking software and recruiting software that’s able to change on a dime with us. Until there’s a legitimate end in sight, we are going to have to operate in 30-day increments.

Speaking as someone who works in both HR and healthcare, it’s so important to align yourself with a company who will support you through the good and bad times. Align yourself with a platform that believes in your mission and what you do as a company. And knowing that we have iCIMS’ support and that iCIMS cares about our success is so important and valuable.


For Infirmary’s full success story, click here.

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