Healthcare organizations have traditionally focused on their operational systems, leaving talent acquisition and management to take a back seat.
But the massive talent shortage in health care has made that an untenable path for health care employers. Now, many are looking for new tools to help them find and retain talent for critical roles.
To find out more about how health care employers are using technology to meet these demands, we spoke with David Pumpelly, Avature’s vice president of enterprise talent solutions. Here’s his take on what’s happening in the industry, based on his experience working in health care for 15 years.
Building the Pipeline Earlier Than Ever
Competitive healthcare companies are now taking their recruitment efforts to the university level, Pumpelly says. They might establish contact with a first-year physical therapy student, then develop the relationship over the next two or three years of their training. When that candidate is finally qualified to enter the workforce, that company is top of mind.
That early stage engagement is where digital tools have the most potential to disrupt the status quo, he notes.
Consider the contrast from the perspective of a student or new health care professional attending a job fair. At one booth, they’re asked to fill out paperwork with clipboards and those little pencils. At the next, they provide their contact info via an iPad or QR code. Then this is followed up with regular communications: newsletters, meetups, an invitation to a student talent community or career website administered by the recruiter.
“Digital disruption in talent acquisition is all about creating lasting candidate experiences that accompany them throughout their education journey, so the health care recruiter has the best chance of winning them,” Pumpelly says.
Creating New Spaces for Flexibility
The same technology shift is also affecting the existing talent paradigm. Contingent workforces have become a crucial component of how most medical organizations deliver health care. It’s due in part to the demand for care, but also because more health care workers, especially younger ones, prefer to work on a contract basis to maximize flexibility.
Since the recruitment process for most companies focuses on permanent hires, it often does not lead to the most positive experience for contingent workers. Avature helps them use digital tools to make the process smoother, such as onboarding checks for credentials, background, communicable disease and JCAHO compliance.
“The question is, how do I create a better experience for those workers who are more inclined to work on a contract basis?” Pumpelly says. “Don’t just focus on permanent talent, but look for the right ecosystem with workforce planning that takes both pools into account.”
Creating New Paths for Internal Mobility
Another challenge comes with internal mobility. Different departments within a large health care organization may not communicate with each other or use different systems to keep track of their employees’ information. This creates barriers when health care talent wants to make a move.
If you don’t create opportunities within the company, the organization will experience a talent drain, he says. Technology helps understand the employee population: who they are, how long have they worked in their current positions, how have they performed, whether they are willing or desire to relocate.
The new thinking is to take CRM tools for outside recruitment and apply them to existing talent. The best healthcare companies will be able to easily accept data from other systems, and be able to truly understand and segment their employee population, Pumpelly says.
Performance management is also going through drastic changes. The old days of the Jack Welch General Electric-style annual performance review with ranked scores is quickly fading. Millennials in particular feel demeaned by this process. Now, performance management is about continuous, ongoing coaching that seeks to provide feedback in multiple directions, he says
Technology tools now allow employees to do self-analysis and solicit or receive coaching on mobile devices. Automated reminders let managers know when a check-in is due.
The delivery of health care is constantly and rapidly changing, and technology is the key to having the edge on the competition for top healthcare talent.
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