Don’t anyone go panic, but I believe we’ve reached a critical mass in healthcare recruiting. Remember all those cool “workforce planning” articles that started popping up 10-15 years ago, each warning about the reduced population of workers compared to the increasing amount of jobs and the wild-ass competitive hiring frenzy that would ensue?
Well, howdy folks! In the healthcare sector—it’s here.
In 2015, the healthcare sector reported record job growth—474,700 jobs created, representing a 53% increase over the 309,000 healthcare jobs created in 2014. Which then brings us to 2016, where there have been a half-million new jobs created in less than 6 months. Affordable Care Act, increased access to healthcare, aging population—it’s your basic perfect storm of demand.
You want more (good/bad) news?
Let’s leave the actual practitioners out of the equation and focus on the rank-and-file. The turnover rate (28%) for healthcare is slightly higher than the overall average for other sectors, but that number becomes increasingly alarming when you remove the Physicians from the mix. When you look at the hourly wage workers who make up the brunt of the healthcare workforce—Nursing Aides, Medical Tech’s, and Medical Assistants, for example—you can start estimating turnover at 40% and go North accordingly.
Booming job market, expanding turnover rate, decreasing population of eligible employees. Good for the candidate, but a supreme challenge for the recruiter. So here’s the line of demarcation: Is your company prepared to recruit as a buyer in a seller’s market? Or, are they content to suffer through 40-50% turnover rates waiting for the market to turn? Not sure?
Look around… are you:
- Conducting Market Compensation Analysis? This is actually only half the equation. Are you conducting the analysis and adjusting accordingly? Like Seinfeld and reservations, anybody can conduct analysis. Knowing that the first reaction for management is to focus on anything but compensation, you still need to consider where you sit in the market. Transactional positions breed mercenary employees—if you don’t think .25¢ more per hour is enough to make a difference, you’re not paying attention.
- Differentiating Your EVP? If you know me, you know that I am reluctant to ever slip into”HR speak,” but it’s too relevant to ignore. What is your value proposition? What can you offer? All these jobs sound the same on paper, so what have you done to highlight your opportunity over the handful of others? This is where your “story” makes the difference. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking all candidates are “the same” just as you wouldn’t want your job to be thought of as the “same.” Try to include the thought of fit and retention in your hiring message, and start stemming the tide of constant turnover.
- Improving Your Candidate Experience? Back to this again, right? What is the application process like for your candidate? How long does it take? How long until they are contacted (if ever?) Maybe a more basic question—if the application process served as the first and only impression of your company (as it does to the majority of people applying to your job), what message is being received?
You know that feeling of placing a candidate, only to see them leave for another opportunity 6 months later? Let that sting serve as your motivation to solve the riddle of healthcare recruiting.
Until then, take your medicine.
John Whitaker (“Whit”) is a SVP and Chief People Officer at Sage Dental and the founder of HRHardball.com (2008). He specializes in building and developing strong recruiting teams who are unafraid of “kicking the ant pile.” Like most Texans, he loves to tell a story (especially those that include an armadillo or a poker game) and cutting through the chaff…don’t take it personal.