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4 strategies to help you address the nursing shortage

April 23, 2022

Finding quality talent to fill jobs in the healthcare field is becoming increasingly difficult over the years. To further complicate the issue, more nurses are leaving the field than ever before, leading to a shortage of an estimated 1 million nurses in the industry nationwide. These critical roles are needed more than ever to provide a high level of service to patients. Yet, fewer and fewer are applying year after year.  

While the problem is multi-faceted and will require much needed change in many areas to completely solve, companies have identified some key areas they can control and fix, which can not only improve conditions for existing healthcare workers, but also help attract and retain newer, younger talent into the field.

Many companies are investing heavily in improving their employer brand and employee experience to provide a better environment for all employees. While increasing salaries  was an important factor in slowing down the tremendous wave of nurses leaving the field for good in the past few years, it far from solved the problem.  

If you’re in the healthcare field, you’re well aware of all that’s been said already.  Today we’ll discuss some modern strategic approaches that you can take to improve your own staffing challenges from both a recruiting and retention standpoint.

Thoroughly audit your HR workflows, processes and technology

At the pace healthcare has been going in recent years, it is easy to see how many quick-fixes, urgent changes, and temporary solutions have been applied to existing workflows and processes. These fixes, although valuable at the time, tend to layer over time, ultimately stripping all efficiency at best, and rendering the process useless or damaging at worst. From a technological perspective, change is key to remaining useful as a toolset to support your job and business goals. Again, the past three years have seen companies slow to a crawl, if not a complete stop in moving forward on the technology front, especially in non-revenue impacting areas. As we are finally slowing down, there is no better time now than to look for gaps and solutions to problems that have been building over the past few years.

Don’t make the mistake of approaching projects from a technology perspective alone, while hoping to achieve business goals. The exercise of thoroughly reviewing and optimizing underlying business processes will give you a better picture of where there may be opportunity for improvement, so when you move forward on the technology side, you are ready to build a solution that works and scales. A truly successful solution will rely on technology, process, and human elements.

Talk to your current employees

Meet with as many employees as you can, encouraging them to share their frustrations, ideas, and areas where they think you may have missed in providing a great candidate experience or in the current employee experience as they perceive it.  Make that an ongoing effort, create a strategy to regularly survey staff for their input, identifying issues and creating effective policy and actions in response. This will greatly enhance employee retention. Additionally focus on upskilling and training, offering perks that help employees destress and relax, and creating an inclusive culture.

Expand your talent acquisition channels

Many “tried and true” recruiting methods wont find you top talent today. Research new and creative ways to find talent. Find new job boards to post on, focus on your your social media efforts, attend college job fairs, and partner with professional staffing firms. The past three years have shown that there are limitless opportunities available when it comes to a broader candidate pool. Tapping into that, will give you a much better chance of finding well-qualified people to fill your open roles faster.  

Build a modern onboarding experience

Current estimates show that nearly 30% of new hires will quit in the first 90 days and nearly half by the 6-month mark. Those numbers are staggering and drive costs through the roof.  

Candidates expect you to provide an easy-to-use, modern experience throughout your screening and onboarding practice.  The background screening process will be one of the first impressions they have of your brand, and it will set the stage for how they perceive future interactions. Make sure your candidates can fill out forms where, when, and how they want when you send them.  They’ll be happier, you’ll speed up hiring, and your brand will look great.    

Although only one piece of the onboarding process, when examining your background screening and how you can optimize, look for a background screening company that has a framework for transition and dedicated management team to guide you through the process. They will be able to identify needs and challenges and assist with pre-planning, due diligence, program planning, IT integration, readiness and adoption, post-launch review and ongoing optimization and guidance. A company such as Vault Workforce Screening will help you in all these areas, and can ultimately optimize your screening program for faster, lower cost, candidate friendly screening you can rely on.  We’ll even review your program in detail to make recommendations where you can improve, regardless of whether you move forward with us (more info below).

We’re offering a free 30-minute screening program risk audit with one of our certified healthcare compliance experts who understand your needs and how you work. We will review your existing screening program and workflows and provide meaningful insight as to where there may be any compliance red flags, overspend, or opportunities for efficiency and improving the candidate and employee experience.  There is no obligation or risk involved, and you will receive a report you can review with team members following the consultation.