Posted on 12 Apr 2018

Thanks to an aging population, a workforce approaching mass retirement and threats of national health budget cuts, the healthcare recruitment landscape has become a high-pressure environment. Healthcare providers including registered nurses, nursing assistants and medical assistants are projected to see the most job growth over the next decade, with increases between 11.5% to 22% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a time when tales of nursing shortages have become regular features in the news, how can HR be the game-changer in recruiting healthcare professionals?

It’s now up to HR to handle many different stakeholders from the nursing leadership to the finance and operations teams – to make sure that jobs are filled and costs are low in the face of talent shortages, union navigation, fierce competition for talent and dealing with new junior leaders.

What is employer branding?

Your employer brand is different and distinct from your corporate brand as a healthcare provider. When building your employer brand, there is one main question you need to answer: what does it mean to work at your hospital?

Employer branding is a key building block for effective talent pipelining and turnover reduction. It’s especially important if your hospital isn’t nationally ranked, which can make it harder to attract top talent or inbound applications.

Identifying your employee value proposition

EVP: Used to provide a consistent platform for employer branding, an EVP is the unique set of cultural principles and offerings that appeal to current and prospective employees.

Each workplace offers an employee value proposition that is unique to its internal culture.

How do you decide what your employee value proposition is? Articulating this requires you to consider what makes your company culture and employee offerings attractive to current and future workers.

An appealing and authentic employee value proposition can lead to a range of benefits, including:

  • 50% reduction in compensation premium for new hires
  • 50% greater reach into the labor market to attract passive candidates
  • 69% reduction in annual employee turnover
  • 29% increase in commitment of new hires

When articulating your employee value proposition, you should aim to capture what working at your organization is really like. Here’s where you can highlight the features that employees will engage with: from your core values to your employee perks and benefits.

Creating your employer brand

After identifying your employee value proposition the next step is to develop an employer brand. This brand will be communicated through a variety of channels including your careers website, social media, and job advertisements. There are, however, ways an employer brand is communicated that are not as easy to control.

Previously, word of mouth was a key way for prospective employees to learn about a new workplace. Speaking to someone who had worked at the organization was a sure way to get an honest snapshot of an employer’s brand, but finding current or former employees to ask wasn’t always easy.

Now, candidates don’t need to know people who have worked for your hospital to get their insights. Sites like Glassdoor and Indeed provide third party reviews that allow current and former employees to rank companies and CEOs. With candidates often turning to these platforms to gain insight into a company before applying for or accepting a role, it is integral that what you promise in your employer brand is what you deliver upon in the actual employee experience. If the brand you’re selling is inauthentic, your organization will likely be called out online.

A compelling employer brand is attractive, authentic, and visible

Attractive

To attract high-quality prospective hires, your employer brand needs to be instantly appealing. When considering an employer, candidates will be looking for clear information about culture and values, mission and vision, and perks and benefits. Incorporating what you know employees want and will be looking for is crucial to building a compelling employer brand.

To ensure your employer brand is attractive to candidates, you might want to borrow an approach marketers have used for years – personas. For each group of people you’re wanting to attract (for example doctors, nurses, or surgeons) you create a persona or two. You can give them a name, and also outline their skills and education, personality traits, rational and emotional needs, interests and communication styles – anything that helps you get to know the type of people you’re trying to attract. Each time you’re looking to attract these kinds of people, you can revisit their personas to ensure you’re appealing to them in your messaging and the places you advertise.

Visible

If you want to capture attention and generate awareness of your company’s offerings, your employer brand needs to be visible to the right people. Being present in the spaces your target audience inhabit from the websites they visit to the social media platforms they use is key to achieving positive exposure. In these cases, the medium is half of the message.

Authentic

When developing an employer brand, authenticity is key. If your employer brand doesn’t reflect the actual experience of your employees, new recruits will soon realize. A common reason new hires leave workplaces is that their expectations of the role they are recruited into aren’t met. To avoid this, make sure you have clearly defined and validated your EVP, and communicated this in an employer brand statement.

The approach you use to communicate your employee brand can also lend it authenticity, and stories, blogs and videos featuring existing employees can be a powerful way to deliver this message.

When it comes to an employee’s first point of contact with the business, you should also make sure the onboarding experience creates positive associations with your workplace from the outset.

Attract and keep top talent

In the end, your employee value proposition isn’t about you – it’s about your employees. What reasons would they have to work here? The answer to this is tied to a variety of factors including compensation, benefits and the tasks of their role, but in a tight healthcare labor market it simply isn’t possible to ignore your employer brand and your employee value proposition.

When you practice what your employer brand preaches, you’ll not only attract top talent more easily: you’ll also keep the best people within your organization for longer.

Putting together your EVP and employee brand can take a little time, but the power it gives your recruiting and staff retention is worth the effort. Learn more about current approaches to hospital recruitment in our free ebook: Getting health recruitment right.