4 Ways to Leverage Patient Stories to Recruit Top Talent

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Patient Stories for RecruitingImagine you’re a talent acquisition team of one at a rural community hospital with 350 employees. On your own, you’re managing 64 hard-to-fill open reqs for clinical roles, including RNs, home health aides, and physical therapists.

You’ve tripled your ad spend for job postings. You’ve attended every local job fair. You’ve implemented new talent management technology platforms. You’ve promoted your employee referral program like crazy. Yet despite all of your efforts, you’re still not getting the results you need.

Instead of starting a new initiative from the ground up, could there be a hidden opportunity using existing resources?

There may be.

If your communications or marketing team produces patient stories, you can leverage their efforts as a recruitment tool.

Use Patient Stories to Attract Top Talent

When created strategically, patient stories can provide a sense of what it might be like to work at the organization. For instance, they can position physicians as dynamic clinicians who are passionate about their organization’s culture, the practice of medicine, and most importantly, delivering high-quality, patient-centered care.

Patient stories can also help candidates better understand your healthcare organization’s culture — how you uniquely approach patient care, how you overcome challenges, and how your teams work together as one, unified Patient-Centered Workforce®. Reading patients’ firsthand accounts about what it’s like to be cared for by your team also helps inform candidates about the organization’s culture, mission, vision, and values.

These stories can attract top prospects who aren’t just looking for a job, but are taking their time to research organizations before choosing where to apply. For example, studies show that millennials have an overwhelming focus on the ideology that a job should be about more than a paycheck, aligning perfectly with the mission of most healthcare organizations. In fact, 95% of millennials say they are “motivated to work harder when I know where my work is going.”

Tips for Leveraging a Patient Story That Resonates with Job Seekers and Staff

Meet with your communications and/or marketing team to discuss your recruitment-focused vision for patient stories. Outline the best way to work together, and let the marketing team take the lead in what they do best. Your role is to leverage what they create and get it in front of potential candidates.

Once you have a final story in hand, here’s how you can use it:

  1. Add your mission and values statements as a conclusion or in a boxed sidebar to the story, and then make a direct tie-in to how the mission was carried out in this patient experience.
  2. On your careers page, engage job seekers by encouraging them to read your patient stories as a way to better understand what you’re all about and what makes your healthcare organization different.
  3. After stories are published, your communications and marketing team will follow their processes to promote them. However, you can separately notify staff of new stories, and encourage staff to share them with their social networks to celebrate success and broaden your reach.
  4. At staff meetings, present patient stories not only as a way to formally recognize staff but as an educational opportunity — what can we learn from this story about our most satisfied patients? This process can help:

– Identify specific staff behaviors that contribute to patient satisfaction

– Help define the workplace culture

– Break down barriers and serve as a guide for making improvements

– Reinforce the guiding principles and mission of the organization

You can’t be a great storyteller without great material. Speaking in company acronyms and offering too many details in job descriptions will overwhelm candidates and result in a poor candidate experience. Great content is genuine. The content you create should educate candidates about your organization’s goals and culture – don’t just advertise job descriptions.

“Our career website is always evolving,” says Laura Lavender, Recruiter at Children’s of Alabama. “We have weekly meetings with the recruiting team to identify how to reach out to candidates in ways that are respectful of all generations. We use videos, pictures, and stories to give applicants insight into our culture.”

Prior to implementing a patient story initiative, make sure you have built or are building a strong employment brand. Without this, your patient stories will have less engagement, since you won’t have the messaging you need to consistently promote the benefits of working for your organization. Healthcare-specific recruitment marketing software can help you build this foundation.

Some organizations have created their own YouTube channel to distribute videos with testimonials from employees about their work, as well as messages from leaders like the Chief Nursing Officer or CEO. Children’s of Alabama uses patient story videos to demonstrate the care their employees provide and to highlight staff who helped children regain their health.

If you haven’t already done so, utilize social media to build brand awareness and connect with job candidate prospects and engage current candidates. By creating content that resonates with them, you’ll be able to create better candidate relationships.

Don’t leave any room for miscommunication. Just like a written story, your recruiting processes must be clear, explicable, and engaging to create a positive candidate experience. If a reader becomes confused, they might give up on finishing the book.


Are you interested in learning more about recruitment marketing software?  Schedule a live demo of HealthcareSource Recruitment Marketing℠ to learn how talent acquisition teams can implement proven marketing strategies to the pre-applicant phase of recruiting.HealthcareSource Demo

Maren Dale

About Maren Dale

Maren Dale is an independent healthcare consultant and copywriter specializing in healthcare and patient stories. She has worked for more than 100 organizations, interviewed more than 400 physicians and leaders and written patient stories for some of the nation’s most respected providers. From 2011-2013, she served on a healthcare communications team that won four national awards. She has consulted with healthcare organizations in 16 states and since 2015 has been fortunate to work with physician leaders in Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, India, Israel, and Japan. Learn more about Maren by visiting her on LinkedIn.