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Nursing recruitment

Are your 2018 recruitment and retention strategies ready?

BY: Eileen Williamson on December 6, 2017

As you worked on your recruitment budget for 2018, I’m sure you participated in many meetings during which you received input and ideas from staff, discussed goals and objectives, crunched numbers and prepared for final review and approval.

You studied news on the internet, kept up with your professional journals, spoke with your HR and recruitment colleagues about the applicant pool and what they were experiencing and schooled yourself on predicted marketplace trends for the new year.

You probably spent most of the fourth quarter, in fact, thinking about the first quarter of next year and what it would bring.

As every year, leadership spoke about rising costs, decreased revenues and the need for lowering expenses.

“Everyone needs to do more with less” was a phrase you heard frequently. You agreed with it, but at the same time, you wanted to do all you could to make your recruitment plan one that ensured you’d be prepared to bring in the best of the best.

Nursing recruitment strategy for New Year

Recruiters know the drill; you’ve been through it many times. It never gets easier; the stress never goes away; and your brain never stops whirling with questions:

  • Will your budget be considered carefully?
  • Is there a chance you’ll get approval for that extra full-time employee or the increase in advertising dollars?
  • Will the addition of new programs or expenditures in other departments mean fewer dollars for your program?
  • What if your proposed budget was not increased by even the small percentage you asked for, or worse, what if it were to be cut?
  • What additional challenges would this present to you in the new year?

Well, it’s December, and by now the budgets are finalized, and you have the answers to your questions. You’re ready to start the new year, and you feel good because while you did everything the budgeting process called for, you also worked on some “what ifs,” backup plans, and “just-in-case” lists to handle all you may face.

You spent time researching what the experts were writing about regarding current recruitment strategies and tools. You studied the various retention methodologies and the issues, trends and challenges they predicted for 2018 so that you could hit the ground running right after the holidays.

Recruitment predictions for the new year

Let’s take a look at a few things the experts predict, and I’ll share a few thoughts on ways you can prepare for changes. In a 2017 report, Undercover Recruiter shared 4 recruitment challenges:

  1. How to deal with fewer qualified employees. If the pool of seasoned, talented applicants is not all that deep, don’t wait to seek the nurses you need until the experienced ones you have resign.
  2. How to rate candidate education versus experience. This one is not new. Recruiters have struggled with weighing education against experience, and vice versa for a long time, and the struggle is not going away. Be ready to weigh the pros and cons of experience versus education for each applicant.
  3. How to compete for new graduates. For the past few years, millennials have gone into nursing in large numbers, and a big race among employers for these new grads is coming. Prepare now for how you’ll recruit them, onboard them and engage and retain them.
  4. How to prepare for baby boomer retirement. Know the number of nurses who might retire soon at your facility. Don’t let the news take you by surprise, and prepare ahead for the fallout from the loss of experience it will bring.

According to a 2017 National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report from NSI Nursing Solutions, Inc., hospitals have increased their recruitment and retention efforts in response to healthcare’s current challenges. More people need and are receiving care; competition for patients is fierce; and worker shortage is a major issue.

“The value hospitals place on their people will have a direct correlation to their commitment, confidence and engagement,” the report stated.

Hospitals believe that retention is a “key strategic imperative.” Make sure that dealing with both of these facts is on your 2018 to-do list.

job application process

10 final tips

  1. Stay abreast of all current recruitment tools and use the best ones at your facility.
  2. Don’t rely on a steady stream of good resumés and CVs. Market, market, market.
  3. Understand the key role technology plays in your recruitment/retention initiatives.
  4. Monitor hard-to-fill positions closely and identify those most likely to turn over.
  5. Hone your selling skills and have a great “elevator pitch” for the best interviews.
  6. Continue making your facility’s recruitment/retention program one that’s top-notch.
  7. Remember you find and keep the very best hires by putting yourself in their shoes.
  8. Keep in mind that good work-life balance is crucial to today’s new job seekers.
  9. Be active in your local and national talent acquisition and human resource groups.
  10. Identify the best conferences taking place in the coming year and attend them.

Happy New Year to all!

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Eileen Williamson

Eileen Williamson, MSN, RN, is a former senior vice president and chief nurse executive at OnCourse Learning, where she led nursing programs and initiatives. She continues to write and act as a consultant for Nurse.com. Before joining the company in 1998, Williamson was employed by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York, where she held a number of leadership positions in nursing and hospital administration, including chief nurse at two of the system’s member hospitals. She holds a BSN and an MSN in administration, and is a graduate fellow of the Johnson & Johnson University of Pennsylvania Wharton School Nurse Executives program. She also is a board member and past president of the New Jersey League for Nursing, a constituent league of the National League for Nursing.