The good news is the once acute shortage of nurses plaguing the healthcare field has been mitigated thanks to the record numbers of Millennial generation men and women electing to embrace nursing as a career. The bad news (for workforce planners tasked with recruiting talent into healthcare organizations at least) is that the game has changed significantly regarding how to effectively tap source and retain these critical assets. What’s changed and how can you harness the new paradigm if you’re in charge of attracting fresh talent to healthcare organizations?
According to the SIA’s September Healthcare Staffing Report titled, Impact of Millennials on US Healthcare Staffing Recruitment Strategies, “The number of registered nurses aged 33 or younger reached 834,000 in 2015. Millennial nurses are already expected to exceed the number of Generation X nurses in the workforce by 2020. Overall, the entire US nurse workforce is expected to grow 36% to reach 4 million between 2015 and 2030.”
The SIA report went on to reiterate something forward-looking workforce planning professionals already know about interfacing with the first, fully web-native generation. That being: Millennials are far more likely than any preceding generation to weigh their decisions about employment opportunities (as well as purchasing and other critical decisions) based upon the reputation of a prospective employer. Being web-natives and growing up with ubiquitous social media, Millennials put extraordinary emphasis on recommendations from friends, colleagues and other influencers. They routinely perform significant research across multiple social media platforms, online communities, web-based job boards and even the branded websites of the prospective employers to determine which companies have the best (and worst) reputations.
The SIA report confirmed that 7 of the top 10 largest healthcare staffing firms were already aware of the difference in the ways Millennial clinicians consume content compared with prior generations. These staffing suppliers reported they’d already modified their marketing processes to address the Millennial mode of career selection.
These modifications—which can easily be adopted and embraced by other organizations in pursuit of Millennial clinicians and associated healthcare industry talent—involve robust use of social media to drive increased brand awareness and engagement with the target audience. To address the reputational heft weighted heavily by the Millennial candidate, leading staffing agencies are leveraging job aggregators, online job boards and communities which provide the venue for demonstrating positive reputational attributes.
Search engine optimization, not something typically associated with sourcing talent, is being leveraged by leading organizations to improve the quantity and quality of traffic being sent to their branded web equities by job boards and aggregators.
Across all healthcare staffing firm respondents, social media was found to be a key strategy to grow brand awareness and engagement with clinicians. Job boards and job aggregators are also used regularly, and community sites are a key factor in brand reputation management. Search engine optimization has become a priority as higher search engine rankings lead to improved quantity and quality of traffic and leads to branded websites from the job boards and job aggregators.
In a similarly counter-intuitive vein, the companies interviewed in the SIA report reported increased utilization of technologies for automating outreach and communication to clinician candidates. A plurality of those polled reported they’re investing in “just-in-time staffing mobile apps, chat bots and artificial intelligence” as well as automated video interviewing processes.
The influx of Millennials into nursing and other healthcare roles may have blunted the ravages of the shortage that preceded it. However, the demand for talent in these fields is expected to continue to be high and accelerating apace with the social and online technologies being adopted wholesale by every subsequent generation. So get your program on track to remain relevant in this competitive niche.