healthcare professional reviewing benchmark resultsOver the past eight years, Lean Human Capital by HealthcareSource has conducted an annual survey of more than 850 healthcare organizations to develop a detailed, validated benchmark of recruiting practices, staffing models, and technology investments. Our Core Recruiting Benchmarks Survey examines data and delivers detailed insights on the participants’ talent acquisition function, including such key performance dimensions as responsiveness, quality-of-hire, productivity, and process efficiency.

The results of our Core Recruiting Benchmarks Survey consistently show that healthcare recruiters are inadequately prepared to meet the challenges that lie ahead. In fact, based on last year’s survey, most healthcare recruiting organizations are struggling even in the current talent environment. If not addressed, these challenges have the potential to decrease the quality of patient care, increase expenses, and introduce revenue risk.

Take a closer look at each of the four key performance dimensions and think about how your organization would measure up:

Key Performance Dimension 1: Responsiveness

A critical metric across multiple constituencies — candidates, hiring managers, patients, and senior leaders — responsiveness measures how fast the recruiting team fills open positions and how long positions remain open once they’re posted.

Through our benchmark, we’ve been studying various metrics to better understand the relationship between responsiveness and recruiting investment, and the business impact of responsiveness on the entire healthcare organization. We’ve found that most talent acquisition organizations are tracking time-to-fill as a measure of throughput and speed in their recruiting process. Unfortunately, we have also found that average time-to-fill is an ineffective, sometimes deceptive, measure of a talent acquisition team’s speed and responsiveness in filling positions.

Roughly 70 percent of positions get filled in less than 60 days. The other 30 percent of open positions remain open for 119 days before they are filled — that’s a gap of four months.

When analyzing positions filled in more than 60 days, we typically find they are:

  • Critical to clinical and non-clinical operations
  • More expensive due to high cost of vacancy
  • Key drivers of internal and external customer satisfaction
  • A sourcing challenge

Key Performance Dimension 2: Quality-of-Hire

Retention rates matter because they impact both quality of care and direct financial measures, including replacement costs and costs of vacancy. And the best way to decrease your retention rates is with your quality-of-hire. You need to hire people both with the right skills and with the right fit for your organization and their specific role.

If you have a revolving door of talent, it’s very difficult to establish consistent workflows and a strong culture — both of which are critical in delivering high-quality patient care. High turnover also negatively impacts an organization’s financial performance given the direct and indirect costs of recruiting new candidates, lost time to interviewing, hiring costs, and overtime and/or contingent labor costs to fill open positions.

Key Performance Dimension 3: Productivity

Productivity is a measure of both output and efficiency. More productive organizations get more done with fewer people, an absolute essential requirement for an understaffed healthcare recruiting team.

Unfortunately, our data suggests that most recruiting teams aren’t doing as well as they could in this area. The issue in this case isn’t too little productivity — it’s too much workload, resulting in negative impacts to every other benchmark we track.

Key Performance Dimension 4: Process Efficiency

The most precious commodity we have is time. Time wasted on non-value add activities inhibits our ability to invest time on critical activities central to organizational performance.

We’ve found that for many healthcare organizations, even relatively small ones, it’s becoming increasingly important to separate sourcing from recruiting. Many organizations merge these functions into a generalist recruiter role, but the skillsets are quite different. A recruiter who can effectively manage the recruiting workflow and work with hiring managers to define requisitions and schedule various recruiting activities may not have the best skillset to cold call passive candidates.

Similarly, someone who has a knack for identifying and cultivating high-quality, passive candidates or managing a talent community may not be your most detail-oriented workflow manager. For many organizations, the best solution to this skillset challenge is to create specialized roles that better map to the specific skills required for sub-tasks within the larger candidate-to-hire workflow.

How Does Your Organization’s Recruiting Function Compare?

Without proper preparation, healthcare organizations are going to be at the mercy of persistent talent shortages, rising talent costs as supply fails to scale with rising demand, and increasing challenges around engagement and retention.

As with most business problems, the first step is to recognize that a problem exists, define its scope and breadth, define plans and strategies to address the root issues, and then execute against the defined plans.


Hear the latest findings from our Core Recruiting Benchmarks Survey at the NAHCR 2017 IMAGE Conference in my session, “Results Are In! The 2017 Healthcare Recruitment Metrics Benchmark Study.”

Get a sneak peek at other topics from HealthcareSource at the NAHCR 2017 IMAGE Conference: 


Are you interested in learning more about how to adapt sourcing trends and optimize your healthcare recruitment strategies?

Download this white paper to discover how your organization can embark on a healthcare recruitment transformation journey and go from good to elite.

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Dana Cates

About Dana Cates

Dana Cates is a Senior Consultant for Lean Human Capital by HealthcareSource. She has more than 30 years' human resources practitioner and leadership experience. Previously, she was the Director of System Recruitment and Strategic Workforce Planning for Texas Health Resources, one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States employing over 20,000 employees. Dana has also served in HR leadership positions with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and St. Joseph Health System. She earned her Business Administration degree from Georgia State University and obtained her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP), and Recruiter Academy (RACR) certifications.