Hospital Uses Good Benefits, Own Website to Compete for Scarce Talent

A combination of issues is reshaping the war for healthcare talent in the American Southwest.

If the scarcity of healthcare talent wasn’t enough of a challenge, consider how a spate of recent deals that has resulted in the sale or closure of hospitals and California laws that regulate minimum nurse staffing levels have stressed the region’s healthcare recruiting market and increased the competition for the best talent.

Kristin W. Alexander, senior healthcare recruiter with Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center, a Catholic Healthcare West institution in Glendale, California, says her hospital’s top priorities are filling hard-to-recruit positions, much the same as with many of the Catholic system’s 43 other hospitals in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

“The focus right now is on the tough-to-fill positions, and what’s always tough to fill is the registered nurse positions, along with pharmacy, occupational, and physical therapy, and radiology positions,” Anderson says. “So it’s not just nursing. We’re trying to look at the bigger picture of the hospital.”

Alexander says the hospital’s own Careers website has been its most effective recruiting channel, responsible for as much as 60 percent of its candidate traffic. “All of our applicants are forced through the website,” she says.?

Keeping the site’s content fresh and appealing to allied healthcare professionals who have a lot of employment choices because they’re in such high demand. “A lot of it is updating the site and changing the message and the photos,” Alexander adds. “We crunch a lot of numbers about [online] visitors, who returns more than once, how long they stay on our site. That’s all a part of engaging with potential employees.”

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Alexander says the hospital’s non-profit status and its now 80-year history of serving the Glendale community have helped attract trained healthcare talent. But it takes more than that to compete against some of the region’s other outstanding hospitals.

Also key to Glendale’s recruiting success is its recipe of offering competitive salaries, what Alexander calls a “good retirement package,” and the promise of free healthcare for all employees and their immediate families. “Things like that provide a quality of life and makes it a nice, stable place to work,” she says.

Glendale has found that professional association channels have provided the biggest return on its recruiting budget, because given all the training, education, and certification that healthcare professionals must attain, sourcing talent through healthcare associations delivers the right job candidates.

Besides the professional association channels, Alexander says her employer also tends to employ direct mail and e-mail campaigns to bring targeted messages to various groups of healthcare professionals.