Laura Baldwin, Michael Foote
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Talent Acquisition: It’s a Different World Today
Across the country I’m hearing the same story: One of the biggest challenges facing practices is recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff. A confluence of factors has come together to create a challenging workforce environment that is requiring organizations to think differently about their recruitment process.
I think we can all agree — recruitment can be hard and is time-consuming. Most practices do not have dedicated resources to manage the hiring process. The recruitment function is usually tucked into another role, such as Human Resources, or left to an individual department manager. However your organization manages recruitment, the question remains: What are the most important items to focus on to bolster success when looking to hire a new team member?
To answer that question, I tapped into Michael Foote, a seasoned and experienced recruiter who partners with BSM and knows what good looks like when it comes to acquiring talent in organizations. Here are some key considerations from our robust discussion when hiring in today’s market.
Prepare to Recruit
There are many factors that contribute to a successful recruitment experience and outcome. The single biggest item is being well-prepared before you move forward. What goes into preparation?
- Develop an accurate job posting. The description should clearly and comprehensively outline the skills and competencies required, previous experience desired, and roles and responsibilities.
- Know your market. Understand your competitors — and not just those in the medical space. An intimate knowledge of market compensation and benefits for roles that might attract a similar candidate pool is essential. For example, if your compensation for a role is $14 per hour with a basic benefits package and another local employer is paying $16 per hour with similar or better benefits, you may not win that battle. For hard-to-fill roles, a change in compensation philosophy may be necessary (more to come on that later).
- Set realistic expectations for the recruitment timeline. Depending on the resources dedicated to the process, it could take weeks to months to fill a position. Shortening that timeline requires an intense effort to produce quick results. In the meantime, be prepared to make scheduling and staffing accommodations that meet patient needs until the role is filled.
- Create a communication plan that focuses on frequent touchpoints with candidates. Leaving candidates to wonder if you’ve received their application, where they are in the process, and the likelihood of moving forward in the interview process, etc., is a surefire way to lose a potentially great addition to your team. Be sure to avoid that by keeping candidates abreast of progress.
- Evaluate barriers to success. Talk to newly hired employees and ask what could have been done differently or better during their process. Be diligent about following state and federal laws but look for opportunities to remove arduous paperwork requirements that could be a deterrent to candidates. Think about and try to eradicate anything that may prevent a successful outcome.
Most organizations approach recruitment reactively. By that I mean they are only looking to fill roles when vacancies occur. That automatically puts them behind the eight ball and leaves them scrambling to find talent, experiencing staffing shortages, and creating stress within the practice. How can you avoid that scenario and shift to a proactive approach?
- Build a pipeline of candidates. There are several ways to go about this, but the goal is to have a database or repository of candidates who may be a good fit for roles within your organization. This way, when you do have an opening, you are not starting from scratch. Using an applicant tracking system (ATS) can help you organize candidates and save them for future opportunities. LinkedIn Talent Solutions is another way to build a pipeline by searching for candidates based on skills, experience, and background that may align with what you’re looking for in future employees. The days of simply posting a job somewhere and hoping good candidates apply are behind us.
- Evaluate your staffing needs regularly. Look at patient visits, scheduling templates, and provider needs to help determine staffing requirements. Then layer in your annual turnover ratio for specific roles to help anticipate the number of staff you may need — not for today but as an educated guess for the coming months. Having at least an idea of the number of staff you might need can help you be better prepared.
- Involve your staff. Existing team members can often be your best referral sources. Let staff know you are always open to hearing about people they know who might be a good fit for the organization. Many organizations provide a financial incentive for employees to refer talented friends and personal contacts. Turn your staff into mini recruiters, singing the praises of the practice and helping you to identify a network of “next employees.”
Dial-up the Creativity
For many good reasons, practices tend to have structured compensation and benefit offerings, with little flexibility to offer additional money or extra perks on a whim. However, it is becoming increasingly important to think creatively and understand what is most important to current and future employees. What can that look like?
- Evaluate your current offering, including compensation and benefits. While it’s important to know what your direct competitors may offer, the demand for workers today in multiple industries makes it just as imperative to understand what other hiring organizations are making available. Depending on the critical need for a specific role, you may have to pay above market norms to attract the most appropriate candidates.
- Consider structuring a compensation package that includes a completion bonus. Perhaps your base or hourly wage is lower, though upon completion of a specified time in the role, a bonus can be offered. This is in contrast to a sign-on bonus, offered by many organizations. While it may be needed, a sign-on bonus may not necessarily create an incentive to stay. This is where a completion bonus can be effective.
- Survey your team on what benefits are most important to them. This is a great exercise to better align employees’ desires with your offerings. You may be surprised to find something you assumed to be a great benefit is ranked low. Also, you may learn of additional benefits that would be highly valued by your team.
- Identify opportunities to offer flexible working schedules. This may be one of the most valuable perks candidates are seeking. There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach; it can be crafted in many different ways. For certain roles, it can include remote options. Other positions may lend themselves to four, 10-hour days vs. five days per week. The point is, be open. Explore possibilities that may create a win-win for everyone.
Flex with Today’s Market
The ability to recruit, hire, and retain talented employees is a foundational part of any business. Now is the time to take a hard look at what you do, how you do it, and what can be done differently or better to compete in today’s environment. It’s an investment in your organization, and with the high cost of turnover (as explained in our previous blog post), it’s one you can’t afford not to make.