High turnover. Unprecedented competition from both in and outside the industry. And now, a looming vaccine mandate for the skilled nursing sector. Both providers and industry organizations have been outspoken about the potentially catastrophic workforce shortages that could result.
However, in the face of these challenges, long-term care and senior living providers are ramping up their recruitment efforts to remain viable. Here are a few key strategies providers must get right to successfully recruit and hire in today’s competitive labor market.
Get The Message Right
What does your employer brand say about you? Maybe you haven’t really thought about it before, but ensuring it's consistent and in line with what your organization represents is a critical step in your recruiting strategy. In fact, LinkedIn research found that a great employer brand leads to a 50% reduction in turnover, 50% more qualified applicants and up to 2X faster time to hire.
Every interaction a job seeker has with your organization can make or break their decision to apply. Mission and culture are two of the biggest components of an employer brand and both should be woven throughout your marketing collateral - your website, careers page, social media channels and anywhere else a potential applicant might research your company. Showcase your culture by sharing the perks, benefits and other extras that you offer to help differentiate yourself from the competition. Photos and videos, such as employee testimonials and highlights of fun events and activities happening at your community, are a powerful way to tell your story and showcase your culture. Similarly, give your mission a presence on these platforms by spotlighting employees that are regularly contributing and by including your statement across your site and on your job descriptions.
In light of the pandemic, it's best practice to highlight your organization as a safe place to work, as this may be a concern for applicants, especially those who may be new to the industry. Share the safety protocols you have in place, your vaccination policy and rates, and any other information that might provide peace of mind during these uncertain times.
Another extremely important piece of your message is keeping a close eye on what others are saying about you. Regularly monitor and have an active presence on review sites like Glassdoor. Thank those that have left positive reviews and respond to any negative reviews with a concerted effort to resolve the issue.
Finally, since today's workforce is looking for career growth, highlight the professional development opportunities you offer and what a potential path could look like.
Cast A Wide Net
Now that you've got your message down, communicate it with the world. To really move the needle in today's competitive labor market, you need to use a mix of modern and traditional recruiting methods.
Take advantage of the speed and targeted approach that today's technology can offer. For example, share your job openings on your social media channels and encourage your employees to share your posts with their networks. Talent acquisition software (TAS) on the market today gives hiring managers the ability to easily share postings on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter with just a couple of clicks. Many platforms even automate the dissemination of postings to hundreds of job boards including Indeed, Monster and Google for Jobs.
Some providers have seen recruiting success in targeting older adults by partnering with local organizations including faith-based groups, non-profits, NAACP and LGBTQ+ chapters, and recently retired workers looking for meaningful, part-time work to maintain an active lifestyle.
Consider taking an all-hands-on-deck approach to hiring like Eclipse Senior Living. Their 100+ communities participated in a "National Hiring Day," modeled after retailer Nordstrom. They collected 400+ applications during the 24-hour period, with one location extending 12 job offers in one day. Another part of their strategy was to reach out to 1,200 past employees who had left on good terms. They successfully re-hired 60 of these former associates.
Many larger organizations are restructuring their process to expedite hiring by shifting more responsibility away from community hiring managers to corporate resources. One provider doubled the size of their corporate recruitment team, so as candidates apply, it is now the corporate team’s responsibility to conduct interviews and administer background checks. Their goal is to quickly provide community hiring managers with at least two pre-vetted and qualified candidates. This has made the selection process easy and fast for community hiring managers, allowing them to reduce time-to-hire to just 10 days.
Let A Positive Candidate Experience Drive Your Hiring Processes
Your organization's recruiting and hiring results are a direct reflection of the processes you have in place. And a lack of structure can significantly stall your process - often causing you to lose out on top talent. It’s important to map out a clear step-by-step hiring process for your entire organization. This could include where jobs are posted, how long managers have to follow up and schedule an interview, what questions are asked during the interview and a streamlined onboarding process. Here are five things you can do today to reduce time to hire and provide a positive experience for both recruiter and candidate.
- Make Applications Easy. Keep in mind that many job seekers are applying to openings en masse, so they want to be able to do so quickly and easily. Collect just the essentials up front, such as credentials and most recent employer. Finally, make sure your application is mobile-friendly.
- Follow Up Fast. Hourly workers don’t stay on the market long. To avoid losing qualified candidates to the competition, reach out as soon as possible to secure an interview. Consider connecting with them via text message. Texting candidates instead of calling them not only allows you to quickly get their attention, but it modernizes your community and makes a great first impression.
- Communicate At All Costs. A Glassdoor survey found that only 20% of people have experienced regular communication during the hiring process. Staying in touch with candidates is an excellent way to set yourself apart from the majority of your competitors. Talent acquisition software lets candidates check their status in real-time and uses automated reminders to complete next steps, drastically decreasing time to hire.
- Streamline Background Screenings. Thorough background screening for every new hire is critical to the safety and wellbeing of your residents. But many providers find their current screening process is time-consuming and far from user-friendly for the hiring manager and the candidate. Consider using a talent acquisition system that integrates with background screening providers to offer companies a more seamless experience and reliable results.
- Take Onboarding Online. An organized, efficient onboarding process is the cherry on top of a great candidate experience. A TAS can help you capture, organize and collect legally required and organization-specific paperwork virtually before an employee begins.
Of course, all of the above is a wasted effort if you drop the ball after an offer is extended and accepted. Once you’ve brought a new hire on board, shift your focus to providing a positive employee experience. Closely monitor progress during the first 90 days, conduct frequent one on ones and collect feedback to help your new hire thrive and refine your onboarding process over time.