Strategies for Successful Healthcare Recruiting

With an extremely high turnover rate that’s exceeded only by the hospitality industry, the healthcare industry has a noticeably poor success rate when it comes to retaining employees. In the healthcare industry, 23.8 percent of …


With an extremely high turnover rate that’s exceeded only by the hospitality industry, the healthcare industry has a noticeably poor success rate when it comes to retaining employees. In the healthcare industry, 23.8 percent of all new employees leave within their first year. Of all healthcare employees who leave their jobs, 53.5 percent leave after less than two years.

Considering that the average total cost to hire a new employee is over $4,000, it’s unsurprising that many healthcare facilities have great difficulty remaining profitable. The more important an employee is, the more expensive the replacement process becomes. Replacing a single physician can potentially cost an organization as much as $1 million.

Combating turnover is perhaps the single most important aspect of healthcare recruiting, and to reduce turnover rates, you need to understand what’s causing employees to leave your organization. That’s what we’ll cover first in this discussion of successful healthcare recruiting strategies.

Why Is Turnover So High in the Healthcare Industry?

On the surface, it’s quite obvious why some industries have such high turnover rates. In the hospitality industry, for instance, high turnover is simply the result of working in an extremely high-pressure industry for relatively little pay. In the healthcare industry, however, the reasons for employee turnover are often more complex. Healthcare professionals are well compensated for their work, so compensation is seldom the primary reason why an employee departs.

The best way to improve your healthcare organization’s success rate in recruiting is by improving employee retention – and doing that may require significant changes in the way your facility operates.

  • The key fact to keep in mind when you consider your organization’s initiatives for employee recruitment and retention is that there are more open positions in the healthcare industry than there are qualified individuals to fill those positions. The healthcare industry faces a severe talent shortage, and that gives healthcare professionals immense negotiating power. If your organization doesn’t offer competitive compensation, your employees will find it elsewhere.
  • Employees of healthcare organizations often feel like they don’t have the necessary tools to do their jobs effectively. If your people are overworked or feel like they don’t have the resources they need – or if they feel that they don’t have the power to make decisions because they’re stifled by bureaucracy – the resulting frustration will cause them to seek new opportunities.
  • Healthcare workers want to feel that their opinions are valued and that they have a say in the direction of the organization for which they work. You need to provide your employees a clear channel for voicing their concerns. It’s important to monitor employee satisfaction levels and solicit feedback frequently. Identifying and correcting sources of frustration and dissatisfaction can help to prevent turnover.
  • It’s important to provide ample opportunities for your employees to advance. Turnover rates are high in the healthcare industry, and that’s true even among senior staff members and executives. Show your employees that when a high-level staff member leaves the organization or retires, you’re willing to look internally for a replacement. Maintain the highest possible level of diversity among your senior and executive staff to send a clear message that advancement opportunities are available for everyone.

Utilize a Healthcare Staffing Agency to Fill Your Open Positions

As stated above, losing and replacing an employee can be a very expensive proposition for a healthcare firm. That’s doubly true when you have to task your HR department with finding the replacement. When the members of your HR department are bogged down with the process of advertising the position and vetting applicants, they aren’t responding to the concerns of your existing employees – and that’s another factor that leads to high turnover rates. It’s far less costly – both in terms of the actual expenses of hiring and in the money you’ll save by improving employee retention – to outsource the process to a trusted staffing agency. That’s especially true if you use an agency that specializes in healthcare staffing, such as HeadHunting, Inc., which has clients across North America. Such specialized agencies have access to a large pool of on-demand candidates who are pre-vetted and pandemic-ready, and can really reduce your organization’s administrative burden.

When employees are well qualified for their jobs, they’re happier and are less likely to leave – and finding well-qualified applicants for open positions is precisely what a healthcare staffing agency does. You simply need to provide the agency with a description of the open position and a list of the qualifications that you’d like candidates to have. The recruitment agency does the initial work of finding and vetting candidates. The agency will check candidates’ qualifications and references.

Rather than interviewing potentially hundreds of candidates for a single position, you’ll interview just a few who are pre-screened and well qualified for the position. For that service, you’ll pay the recruiting firm a small percentage of the new hire’s first-year salary. Since you’ll end up with an employee who is less likely to leave, the commission paid to the recruitment agency is a small price for the value of the service.

Use Temporary Workers Effectively to Fill Gaps Where Needed

A final thing to keep in mind as you consider your healthcare organization’s recruitment strategy is that it doesn’t always make sense to hire new full-time employees when you have reason to believe that your need for increased staffing is only temporary. In that situation, it makes perfect sense to bring in temporary workers, and that’s another area in which a recruitment agency can be a great help. Recruiting firms can usually provide both permanent employees and temporary workers – and when you work with a firm that specializes in finding talent within the healthcare industry, the firm will most likely already have hundreds of qualified applicants on file and will probably be able to help you fill your openings right away.

Effective use of temporary workers can also go a long way toward reducing employee turnover. One of the most common reasons why healthcare workers depart is because they feel like they’re doing the work of multiple people and that they don’t have any help. Bringing on temporary staff members during periods of high demand can reduce the frustration that your full-time staff members experience.

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