Written by Deb Vargovick, Director, The Recruiter Academy by Lean Human Capital


Finding talent in healthcare has certainly been challenged recently like no other time I can recall. As my colleague, Christine Hampton, preaches, ‘We are in a consumer-driven market’ when it comes to the state of the applicant.

This has been a slow paradigm shift that suddenly gained warp speed during the pandemic. Not only did healthcare workers experience layoffs and furloughs at an unprecedented rate, but the fear and anxiety about personal health and safety now that hiring needs have exploded is discouraging many from returning to their field. From entry-level environmental and food and nutrition workers to experienced RNs, the shortage of applicants has impacted most every type of job in healthcare.

Piling on top of this challenge is the inaccurate perception that most health system executives have: that talent acquisition, like their sister departments in HR, is as a cost center. They couldn’t be more wrong. Talent acquisition, frankly, is a cost savings center. Unfortunately, knee jerk reactions, backed by historical actions, resort to healthcare organizations mistakenly cutting headcount as a quick win – without considering or realizing the long-term consequences.

Case in point, what was one of the largest costs incurred in 2020 due to the lack of staff nurses available to staff COVID units? Traveling nurses! Traveling agencies were offering up to 3-4x nurse salaries, and health systems were paying it because they felt they had no choice. The disconnect here is that many talent acquisition recruiters and sourcers were furloughed or terminated who normally would be sourcing and recruiting for these nurses.

Fast forward to the fall of 2020 when hiring volumes suddenly increased and there were insufficient recruiters or sourcers to fill RN vacancies. There were no pipelines of candidates to draw from because the sourcing function no longer existed, or there were minimal recruiters to recruit for the entire system. I have too many real client stories to list here.

The cost of vacancy analysis conducted by Lean Human Capital offers the best business case you can build that clearly demonstrates to senior leaders that talent acquisition is a cost savings center. To put in plainly, by investing in talent acquisition sourcing professionals you will save millions of dollars in agency, traveler and overtime spend.

Let me share an example. I worked with talent acquisition leadership of one health system in 2019 to build a business case to add two sourcers. Its daily RN cost of vacancy was $247 and the organization was on track to spend $32,275,000 in 2020.

According to the Lean Human Capital 2021 Sourcing Benchmark study, the average hire by two sourcers in their first year was 49.02 hires. By investing in these two new sourcing positions, the result would be a net savings of $2,173,500 in agency/OT spend.

The bottom line is that when a healthcare organization invests in talent acquisition, the result is significant cost savings for the entire business. Talent acquisition truly is a cost savings department.


For more information on how to save your organization millions of dollars in agency and overtime spend, click here.

About Lean Human Capital

Lean Human Capital by HealthcareSource delivers a radical approach to healthcare recruitment analysis, process optimization, and continuous improvement. By rationalizing your staffing supply chain, we help you create a proactive, efficient hiring strategy that will dramatically reduce time-to-fill and vacancy rates, improve quality-of-hire and customer satisfaction, and reduce cost and waste.