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Bridging the Gap with Employer Branding for Meaningful Healthcare Hiring
Friday, Mar 10, 2017

For some time now we have been aware that the labor market is tightening with fewer candidates available to meet skillset demands. This drought of high-skilled talent has become the driver behind fierce competition in many industries, and has certainly called for new strategies to attract the best and brightest. In the last year alone, 59 percent of HR professionals reported some level of basic skill or knowledge deficit among job applicants. Although there are many industries where job growth has had a lesser effect within the tightening hiring market, healthcare employers are beginning to encounter more difficulty securing talent to fill high demand across a wide array of functions.

Hiring and the Healthcare Industry

A recent iCIMS report shows that despite recessions of the recent past, the healthcare industry has continued to produce jobs steadily and is accelerating. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare-related professions are predicted to add the most jobs of any occupation group between 2014 and 2024. Healthcare employment nationwide has risen 16 percent following the Great Recession, which strongly outpaces the 11 percent growth of total nonfarm payrolls. Although job growth is projected to increase, the resulting openings may not be reflective of traditional healthcare professions. Factors are arising that alter the composition of healthcare employment, requiring employers in the space to rethink strategies for talent acquisition.  

The Demographics Driving Industry Shifts

In the past, we could expect to see the greatest demand for high-skilled medical professionals in the healthcare field. It is now apparent that occupations in the realm of non-physician clinicians are at the pinnacle of hiring needs. In 2011, baby boomers edged toward the retirement age of 65 and are now retiring at the pace of 10,000 individuals per day. On the other side of this equation lies the even larger millennial generation with newly accessible healthcare as a result of their ability to stay on a parent’s health insurance plan until the age of 26 thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The healthcare industry is moving away from primary care physicians and relying on allied healthcare professionals as demographic trends work hand in hand with financial pressures and bottlenecks in medical training.

Areas of Concern

In the aftermath of changing demographics, there is an increased demand for positions in the areas of nursing/residential and social assistance. Unfortunately, in these areas of nursing and residential employment, the number of applicants per position is much lower than other professions. Similarly, the demand for quality talent is being sorely felt at social assistance organizations, with nearly 60 percent of new hires falling into the categories of community and social service providers, counselors, social workers, and community health workers. The latest iCIMS data shows that these areas of concern are experiencing a longer time to fill, up to 57 days. This is likely attributed to the strong interpersonal skills that are required of this type of work and the lack of applicants who clearly exhibit such soft skills, in addition to the non-profit budgets normally associated with these organizations. The nature of healthcare and new recruiting concerns call for innovative strategies to fill positions faster.

Employer Branding Mends the Gap

As jobs continue to be created and applicants become scarce, recruiters are being pushed to spend more time and money to fill openings. To overcome recruitment hurdles, healthcare employers are smartly turning to their employer brand to attract individuals to buy into their cultures. Studies show that mission-driven companies have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of retention. Using a shared mission and vision-setting company culture to assemble a unique employee value proposition (EVP) is what creates a meaningful employer brand. By highlighting employee experiences and providing rich recruitment marketing content, applicants are able to more easily relate to the organization and want to contribute to its success. Without high public profiles and large budgets, nursing and residential facilities must get creative to establish brand recognition and engage quality talent.

Hackensack Meridian

One company that is utilizing their employer brand well to fill hiring gaps is Hackensack Meridian, an acute care teaching and research hospital. With 775 beds and over 2,200 medical professionals, Hackensack Meridian plans to hire around 4,000 people at Legacy Meridian alone in 2017. Their strong brand name brings in applicants, but hiring locally for talent within niche areas like nursing requires a new employment branding technique to capture job seekers upon arrival to the organization’s career site.

 

Hackensack Meridian has employed strategies for intensified college recruiting to grow talent for the more challenging areas such as nursing, and highlights their culture to attract these highly demanded applicants. The organization defines their culture as a real team-based environment with a belief in strong internal development and mobility and emphasizes that language throughout. They also highlight their ranking amongst the Becker’s Hospital Review 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare. In using these tools to bring in talent with a fresh perspective, Hackensack can achieve lofty hiring goals and improve their time to fill and applicants per position metrics. 

Bayada Home Health Care

Bayada Home Health Care, an international, privately held home health care company that employs over 18,000 nursing support staff in 250 offices throughout the United States and India, has seen the benefits of transitioning their consumer brand into an employer brand. The company has felt the industry nursing shortage particularly, and has taken into consideration the specific needs and interests of nurses to revamp their strategy around flexibility and culture. This year, Bayada is rebranding themselves based on the concept of genuinely loving the medical profession to achieve their goals of hiring more than 3,000 people. 

The first content that greets viewers on the Bayada corporate homepage are the words “I love what I do.” Before having to venture to the organization’s careers tab, employment is at the forefront, and the ability to search for jobs is easily accessible. Additionally, once applicants do visit the careers tab, video technology is used to dive further into what the organization stands for. This tool helps Bayada attract those who connect with their philosophy and identify with their mission. 

Healthcare recruiters will continue to face pressure to hire at a quick pace while also keeping a pulse on evolving trends that may call for adaptations. Recruiters must stay ahead of the demand for newly required jobs by recognizing the areas that are concerning the industry, and taking a proactive approach to change up their strategy for results. At the end of the day, employees want to tie themselves to something meaningful and displaying the truly unique facets of an organization through employment branding techniques will welcome in desired applicants.

To learn more about hiring trends in the healthcare industry, read our full report.