“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.”
These words, spoken by John F Kennedy in 1959, seem to resonate again today.
Healthcare recruiting and hiring experienced unprecedented changes due to what most would consider a modern-day crisis. Some of these changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, it seems, are here to stay. Traditional tactics have been reimagined, and new solutions are created every day. When, if ever, will healthcare recruiting get ‘back to normal’?
Clearly, there are many reasons that recruiting may never again look like what we were accustomed to. The next era will require recruiters to remain nimble, creative, and in touch with what candidates want and need while keeping quality of care and safety top of mind.
While looking for opportunities may be difficult in the midst of a crisis, it can be a good time to assess whether changes made to manage the crisis can be implemented as long-term solutions and to set plans in place to reduce the impact of a similar crisis in the future.
More than ever, organizations need to have a proactive staffing plan, not just fill job openings. Predicting longer-term hiring needs and building the source network and talent pipeline needed to meet those needs helps not just today but also in the future.
The ability to be flexible has helped many organizations to fill positions during the pandemic and is an attribute that will be advantageous moving forward.
It’s time to be creative in how and where to source talent, as well as how to make the best use of existing staff. Candidates can come from colleges, out of state, out of the country, other industries, or the contingent labor pool. According to the SHRM Customized Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report for healthcare, 29% of healthcare positions were filled internally in 2018.
That is on the rise, with organizations filling staffing gaps by cross-training, upskilling, location swaps, and incentives to delay retirement.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that hiring requires navigating the complexities of federal, state, and local regulations as well as credentialing requirements. Conducting the appropriate healthcare background checks for each of the many roles in the organization is critical. Due diligence doesn’t end after onboarding. Maintaining a compliant workforce is equally important to protecting your organization, employees, and patients.
Decentralization of the workplace
Even before the pandemic, healthcare organizations were beginning to fill select positions like information technology, radiology, medical record transcription, and medical coding with remote workers. With the introduction of telehealth, remote work has expanded to patient care positions in which doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants are able to engage patients virtually to address select patient issues. Telehealth can also be used as an extension of in-person care to ensure continuity of care through virtual follow-up for discharged patients.
Rapid acceleration in the use of technology affected all industries, and healthcare was certainly not immune. Organizations relied heavily on technology to attract, hire, and onboard staff during the pandemic. While there were certainly bumps along the road as people and technologies tried to meet the challenges of a more virtual reality, many new methodologies have proven to be more effective than previous alternatives.
The use of video interviews, remote onboarding, and virtual job fairs have helped to increase access to candidates. Broadly implementing online application submissions and mobile collection of candidate information for background screening has been instrumental in streamlining the process. And, use of electronic I-9, electronic drug screen scheduling, and remote drug testing have allowed organizations to onboard talent more quickly.
Together, these technological advances have helped HR departments to streamline processes, freeing personnel to concentrate on more strategic activities like workforce planning. Continuing to drive integration of recruiting processes and the HR tech stack will allow organizations to be more efficient and provide a positive candidate experience.
Like so many things, healthcare hiring and recruiting will never be the same after COVID-19. But through this crisis, there are opportunities to be found. Organizations that embrace proactive workforce planning and flexibility in staffing, the shift to a more decentralized workplace, and a more robust and integrated tech stack can thrive in today’s market and be more prepared for the future.
Visit our healthcare & hospital employment background checks page to learn more about healthcare-specific background screening.