healthcare talent management meeting in hospitalIt’s a challenging time to be in healthcare talent management. You don’t just need people with strong healthcare skills — you need quality talent that can provide quality care. However, talent gaps have made it difficult to recruit and retain anyone, let alone top performers. There is fierce competition in the healthcare candidate marketplace, and it’s not going to let up any time soon.

Despite these challenges, your organization still needs a strong workforce for 2018, and you need to help build, maintain, and grow it. To do that, we suggest you focus on three key areas:

  • Recruitment
  • Employee engagement
  • Leadership development


Getting the right people into your organization, whether it’s a hospital, senior living facility, or a staffing agency that places healthcare workers, is the first step toward building a strong team. However, traditional recruitment strategies are no longer enough to win great hires. According to Nursing Solutions Inc., 33 percent of hospitals have a vacancy rate greater than 10 percent. Leading healthcare organizations are finding that they need to employ more innovative strategies to attract, engage, and convert candidates.

We’re beginning to see more and more organizations leverage recruitment marketing strategies to attract talent, including employer branding, building talent pools, and talent nurturing. The best candidates have many choices when it comes to where they work, so you will need to show them why they should choose your organization.

Once candidates express interest in your organization, you want to be able to nurture them over time, even if you don’t have an open req that is the right fit right now. Keep potential applicants engaged in your recruitment process with a strong candidate experience, and assess them for both skills and culture fit.

Additionally, healthcare organizations can find success by using data to drive recruiting decisions. With limited resources, it’s crucial to make informed choices and to use the best methods for hiring success.

Employee Engagement

After you hire employees, you need keep them. Engaged employees feel more connected to their jobs, will go the extra mile to provide great quality care, and stay at your organization longer. However, only a third of workers are engaged, according to a Gallup study. Healthcare organizations will need to reverse this harrowing statistic if they want to retain the top performers they work so hard to recruit.

Employee engagement begins on day one, so an effective employee onboarding program should extend the excitement of the recruitment process. In addition to helping your new hire settle in, use this time to set expectations and goals so new employees know what’s expected of them. When people know how what it takes to succeed, they will know how to prioritize their tasks and will not be caught off guard during evaluations. In addition to annual reviews, employees should receive feedback on the things they’re doing well and where there’s room for improvement. Then, pair that constructive feedback with employee development opportunities so employees can continue to grow professionally.

It’s also important to eliminate issues that prevent employees from doing their best work. A positive work environment ensures that employees can focus on the people they’re caring for, without being distracted by things like team bullying, poor internal communication, or a lack of supplies and equipment. Finally, compensate your employees competitively so they know you value them. Adjust employee compensation as needed to reflect changing market conditions and your employees’ professional development.

Leadership Development

The talent shortage doesn’t solely exist at the individual contributor level — it extends to leadership roles as well. Eighty-four percent of organizations expect a shortage of qualified leaders over the next five years, according to Brandon Hall. As a means of talent pipelining and succession planning, talent management professionals are starting to realize they need to develop their own leaders from within their internal ranks.

Best-in-class organizations have found that effective leadership development hinges on recruiting and engaging great talent. Without the right people in place to begin with, any development program would fall flat. Assess all incoming candidates — whether or not they’re applying for a leadership role — for the skills and values required of great leaders. This will allow you to identify the best candidates for your leadership positions open now, as well as high-potential candidates who could step into future leadership positions.

Once hired, work with employees to marry their career goals and interests with your organization’s needs, and create a career path and succession plan for each person. Then, offer training, development, mentoring, and coaching to help employees progress in their career paths. This not only helps you solve the issue of the leadership talent gap, but it also helps you engage employees and attract top-tier talent that aspires to move up in the ranks.

Many healthcare organizations are struggling to attract, engage, develop, and retain top-tier talent, and these challenges do not appear to be going away anytime soon. That’s why leading healthcare organizations are placing a strong focus on recruitment, employee engagement, and leadership development in 2018. These areas are deeply connected, and it will be imperative to simultaneously invest in all three to build a quality workforce.

Are you interested in learning more about getting the most out of your healthcare workforce? Watch our on-demand webinar

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About Jen Dewar

Jen Dewar is a marketing consultant in the HR technology space with a focus on developing educational content for recruiters, corporate HR professionals, and staffing agency owners. She has spent the past 10 years working with a wide variety of companies — from corporate marketing for healthcare organizations and recruitment firms, to startup marketing for both Identified and, prior to their respective acquisitions. When she’s not doing marketing, you can find Jen snowboarding in Tahoe, enjoying a glass of wine in Sonoma, or watching Netflix at home with her husband.