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Best Practices in Health Care Hiring During the COVID Crisis

Given the growing shortage of healthcare workers across the country, hiring healthcare employees at the best of times can be a challenge. Hiring during a pandemic – when most healthcare facilities are stretched beyond capacity – requires organizations to be at their very best when implementing employee recruitment and retainment practices and protocols.

In Canada healthcare turnover is second worst only to the hospitality industry, rising 5% across all healthcare jobs over the last decade. A recent study by the National Healthcare Retention and RN Staffing Report says that hospital turnover averaged 18.2%in 2017- the highest ever recorded turnover for almost a decade in the industry.

Graphic of three health care workers who are waiting to be hired via BookJane's J360 platformFurthermore, the Canadian Nurses Association warns that Canada will experience an extreme shortage in nurses in the coming years, predicting a shortage of 60,000 nurses by the year 2022. Finally, Canada ranks 29th out of 33 high-income countries for the number of practicing physicians relative to population, with a new Fraser Institute study projecting only a small increase in the physician-to-population ratio from now until 2030. If the Fraser projections are accurate, Canadians can expect their supply of physicians in Canada in 2030 will be almost 13 percent below the current average physician-to-population ratio in other wealthy countries.

With shortages of skilled caregivers climbing in every sector, the time for healthcare organizations to re-evaluate the recruiting and retainment structure for healthcare workers is now.

Here is a suggested list of actions that healthcare facilities can take to implement hiring and retainment best practices:


1. Assume you are going to need more workers as soon as possible.

Consider hiring recently retired but still credentialed healthcare workers. Seek out potential candidates from nursing schools and other healthcare programs – soon to graduate students will be seeking employment experience. 

2. Over Communicate with the labour market

Focus your efforts on becoming a trusted source of information on your organizational website and social media channels. Communicate the ways in which your organization is putting in place COVID-19 healthcare protocols to ensure the health and safety of employees. Share stories of how your organization is taking steps to keep employees happy and engaged.

3. Prioritize employee engagement and recognition

Recognition is one of the leading drivers of employee engagement to keep employees happy and improve retention rates, facilities must recognize a job well done. Employees want frequent and meaningful recognition from their leaders and peers. Employers should also focus on helping their employees reach their fullest potential and create opportunities for growth. Employee development plans can help to ensure that employees are improving their skills and bringing new value.

4. Improve Work Culture

A positive work environment allows employees to focus on better patient care. Consider your workplace culture, internal relationships and work-life balance. A positive work culture can help to engage and retain employees. Feedback should also happen regularly so that employees understand their own strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

5. Integrate technology

Advances in technology make recruiting easier, more cost-effective and streamline the hiring process. Technology can also help healthcare organizations meet candidates where they live—on their mobile devices. More and more, candidates are using their mobile devices in the job hunt, with 89 percent of candidates believing their mobile devices to be a vital part of the job-hunting process. Technology can also help healthcare organizations improve the way they manage the workforce. For example, employee recognition software allows for real-time and meaningful recognition. Other industry-leading technologies such as BookJane’s innovative software platform that optimizes workforces, solves labor shortages, and empowers staff to fill shifts promotes efficiencies that contribute to improving the employee experience.

6. Improve Employer Branding

Whether recent graduates or seasoned professionals, employee candidates usually research prospective employers before applying to or accepting job offers. To increase employee candidates, healthcare organizations need to ensure positive brand positioning. One of the best ways of doing this is by highlighting company culture and benefits. 

7. Think Long-Term

Organizations may find candidates who are not necessarily a good fit for current openings – but could be a potential fit for future positions. Healthcare organizations need to ensure they maintain an up-to-date talent pool database and communicate with potential candidates on a regular basis, in order to ensure they attract and recruit the best talent now and in the long-term.

Learn how BookJane helps health care facilities improve shift fulfillment by 40%, dramatically decrease their time to fill shifts, and significantly reduce burdensome scheduling and administration time.


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