6 Strategies to Recruit and Retain Quality Healthcare Workers Amidst Shortages

June 13, 2024 by Verified First

6 Strategies to Recruit and Retain Quality Healthcare Workers

The healthcare industry has faced staffing shortages since long before 2024, but this year’s record levels are resulting in more burnt-out workers and less patient satisfaction. This shortage not only puts stress on healthcare providers but also compromises patient care and employee well-being. 

Addressing this problem while continuing to recruit and manage patient care can be challenging for any hospital or healthcare system. This article will explore common healthcare hiring challenges, plus six proven strategies to effectively recruit and retain quality healthcare workers. 

Healthcare Hiring Challenges in 2024

The healthcare worker shortage is a very complex issue with multi-faceted implications. Stemming from a variety of factors, the shortage’s effects can be seen across everything from employee burnout and high turnover rates to slow patient care and more. Some common recruitment and hiring challenges healthcare organizations are facing include: 

  • Employee burnout: Roughly 33% of physicians and doctors reported feeling burnout in 2023. The top factors contributing to burnout in the healthcare industry include staffing shortages, chaotic work environments, high turnover, and heavy workloads. 
  • Aging population: Not only are people living longer, and therefore requiring more medical attention as they do, but aging members of the healthcare workforce are retiring faster than they are being replaced, too. 
  • High turnover rates: Staff turnover, specifically in high-pressure departments like emergency and intensive care, has been a key challenge since the COVID-19 pandemic. In some departments, turnover rates have risen from 18% to 30%
  • Clinical and specialty shortages: Certain specialties and practitioners are disproportionately affected by staffing shortages. This can partially be attributed to faculty shortages at nursing and medical schools, but also low compensation paired with high-pressure job demands. 

Hiring qualified healthcare professionals, from surgeons to nurses and administrators, can help address some of the common challenges the healthcare industry is facing. However, recruiting and retaining quality workers amidst a massive staffing shortage can feel impossible. Let’s take a look at six ways your organization can recruit and retain qualified healthcare workers. 

1. Offer Inclusive Mental Health and Wellness Support

According to the American Nurses Foundation’s 2023 Mental Health and Wellness Survey, 56% of nurses reported experiencing burnout and emotional exhaustion while another 64% cited feeling extreme stress because of their job. Given this, mental health support for healthcare workers can be critical. 

Healthcare organizations across the country are implementing strategies aimed at improving the mental health and well-being of their employees. Initiatives like Code Lavender, a rapid response protocol healthcare workers can utilize for themselves or others for acute and emotional distress, can help provide support and resources to mitigate burnout.  

But, going beyond this, your healthcare organization should consider expanding employee mental health and wellness benefits to help attract new staff and keep your current employees happy. Consider providing wellness benefits and perks such as: 

  • Mental health resources (such as virtual therapy, meditation apps, etc)
  • Fitness or gym memberships
  • Employee resource and peer support groups
  • Mental health check-ins

Prioritize mental health and wellness programs that are easily accessible to your staff. By creating a culture that recognizes the physical and emotional demands of healthcare work, and provides corresponding resources, your healthcare organization better recruit and retain qualified workers. 

2. Explore Internal Recruitment Solutions

Internal recruitment is an innovative way to help address the healthcare worker shortage. This can include promotions, transfers, employee referrals, transitioning temporary employees to full-time, and more. By setting up an internal recruitment and hiring system, your healthcare organization can save time and money. 

If your organization is already utilizing internal recruitment, consider promoting upskilling and reskilling opportunities. Most healthcare roles require special licenses and certifications. Promoting and supporting opportunities that allow employees to earn and maintain certifications can help improve your internal talent, and therefore internal recruitment. It can also be an attractive selling point to potential candidates, too. One way to do this is through reimbursement for education and certification needs. Consider helping employees cover the costs for: 

  • Continued education and license fees
  • Training for managerial and administrative positions
  • Clinical certifications and skill workshops

Internal recruitment and upskilling is a win-win for any organization. For hospitals and healthcare systems, it can help you mitigate the worker shortage by improving recruitment efforts, ensuring compliance, and reducing your organization’s risk. 

3. Prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Practices

Creating a welcoming, diverse work environment is critical to attracting and retaining top talent. In fact, 76% of job seekers and employees claim that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating potential companies and job offers. 

While there are many reasons to strive for a more diverse and inclusive workforce, including attracting and hiring more qualified candidates, you should keep at least one reason in mind: addressing the healthcare worker shortage. Plus, studies show that a more diverse healthcare workforce leads to improved patient care and satisfaction. 

Incorporating DE&I strategies into your healthcare organization’s recruitment and hiring process can include: 

  • Creating employee resource groups focused on DE&I efforts
  • Prioritizing fair chance and inclusive hiring practices
  • Provide DE&I, cultural competency, and inclusion training
  • Utilizing international hiring

4. Provide Remote and Flexible Work Opportunities

More healthcare organizations are utilizing remote and flexible work options to attract new staff, according to the American Medical Group Association (AMGA). Remote work has been shown to improve staff retention rates in every industry, including healthcare. By offering your employees and candidates remote and flexible work options, healthcare providers can better recruit and retain top talent. 

One way to do this is through virtual and telehealth appointments. These options benefit both patients and providers with speed, flexibility, and access. Another strategy is allowing certain healthcare roles such as patient care coordinators and advocates, insurance verification specialists, and more to utilize remote work options.  

5. Revise Job Postings and Simplify Applications

Revising job postings and descriptions to account for healthcare burnout and turnover can improve your recruitment and hiring efforts. Before hiring for new positions, consider consulting your current staff to understand where they need support and how responsibilities can be shifted to improve their well-being and satisfaction. 

Another way to improve your recruitment and hiring efforts is to simplify your application process. Healthcare hiring is stressful for both candidates and hiring managers, so creating a smooth hiring process from application to onboarding can create a more qualified, attainable talent pipeline. Here are a few ways to simplify your hiring process to attract more qualified candidates:

  • Mobile applications
  • User-friendly tools
  • Application status transparency
  • Simple communication
  • Stress-free background checks

6. Automate Recruitment and Hiring Processes

Slow and manual processes not only cost you more time and money but also lead to negative candidate and employee experiences. Utilizing the right technology to improve your time to hire will not only land you more qualified candidates but also give your team more time to work on people-centric initiatives. 

Look for ways to implement technology to streamline your recruitment and hiring process. This could include background checks, job postings, recruitment agencies, and more. For example, working with a background screening partner that uses advanced technology, like Verified First, can reduce your team’s manual tasks, expedite turnaround times, and free up valuable time for your employees. Plus, you can be sure you are making informed hiring decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information. 

If your healthcare organization is already utilizing a recruitment or people management solution, consider finding technology partners that integrate with your chosen platform

Recruit Qualified Healthcare Workers with Verified First

Today’s healthcare workers are looking for job flexibility, work-life balance, mental health support, and benefits that go beyond salary. And you know that keeping your healthcare organization staffed with qualified employees is essential to effective patient care and satisfaction. By implementing these six recruiting strategies, your organization can attract and retain high-quality healthcare professionals while providing the best care possible. 

Verified First helps hospitals and healthcare organizations like yours improve their recruitment and hiring efforts by offering a streamlined, efficient healthcare background screening process. Healthcare organizations that partner with Verified First experience faster background check turnaround times, streamlined compliance, and improved time to hire and fill. Plus, we integrate with over 100 (and counting!) industry-leading hiring and talent-management solutions. 

Verified First offers healthcare organizations like yours the flexibility and customization they need to efficiently recruit and retain qualified talent. With industry-specific screening solutions like professional license verifications, a System for Award Management Checks (SAM), and more, plus our a la carte options, your organization can build a package based on its unique needs. 

Get started today.

About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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