I met with dozens of HR professionals at the recent NAHCR conference in Las Vegas, and the message was consistent: “I’m worried about nurse recruiting.” As our conversations continued, I found that these individuals have serious concerns, but are also committed to finding proactive solutions to attract, hire and retain the best talent for their organizations.
What keeps them awake
In a word: nurses. There is a real sense that we are at the epicenter of a nursing shortage, and the talent acquisition community is concerned. During the recession in 2008, many nurses did not feel ready to retire due to economic concerns. They held on – but, now that things are better, they are ready to go.
Recruiters are faced with two tasks: filling the open positions that are available now, but also preparing for a future where there is even less talent available.
What they are doing about it
For a start, many have become more open to graduate nurses and more willing to create programs that attract and appeal to those new grads. That means incentivizing them, such as offering tuition reimbursement and providing opportunities to work across units. In addition, they are asking influencers on the nursing staff to mentor, welcome and encourage new nurses to sign on with the organization.
Getting nurses at the start of their careers is particularly important as the RN population ages and retires.
Where the nurses are (and are not)
Many organizations are struggling with a limited nursing pool, particularly those in rural areas or in cities with many competing hospitals and systems. That means a more concentrated focus on outreach and recruiting regionally – and even nationally.
Regional recruiting requires a deeper sell. You’re not just selling the value propositions of your system or facility, you must also sell the geographic area to convince a family to relocate. When developing an employment brand, NAS always takes this into account – the need for flexibility in targeting different roles, as well as regional attributes and a location “sell.”
What it all comes down to
Start with your brand – Make sure it is flexible enough to sell the system, the area and the specific positions you have available. A great brand can elevate all of your recruiting activities.
Create an amazing destination – Many organizations still have very basic career sites that do not sell, entice or appeal to candidates. This is where all of your traffic goes, so make it compelling and convert job seekers into applicants.
Build a pipeline for the future – If you know you have a raft of nurses retiring next year, but can’t advertise positions just yet, use your Talent Network to nurture leads for when the roles become available.
Step up your game – It’s not about just putting jobs in your ATS and posting them to job boards. You need to develop targeted and specific strategies that reach out in more ways to find the right candidates.
Branding, career sites, strategies: those are the topics that are top of mind for the attendees I spoke with at NAHCR. What’s on your mind? Contact NAS and let us know if we can help you raise your game!