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Hiring in healthcare isn’t like hiring in any other industry. There are specific stakes and challenges unique to healthcare. This includes hiring amidst a staffing shortage and the compliance costs of improperly trained staff. Understanding healthcare’s distinctive challenges is the first step towards hiring better and faster. Here are eight challenges you’ll encounter in healthcare hiring—and eight accompanying solutions. 

1. Managing Time-to-Hire 

The average time-to-hire for healthcare is longer than almost any other industry. In 2017, it took healthcare employers an average of 49 days to fill a role. That was higher than any other surveyed industry.

The Solution

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. The candidate shortage means that healthcare organizations are often competing for a small pool of qualified applicants. In addition, healthcare hiring often takes a long time because of the vast amount of time it takes to slog through the logistical details of each new hire. 

Automating parts of the hiring process can help decrease your time to hire. Use automated workflows to quickly send receipts of applications, schedule interviews, and move employees along in the onboarding and hiring process. 

In addition, healthcare HR needs to ensure that each hire is licensed to practice in the current state. Collecting and verifying this information can add days to the hiring process. But with the right software, HR teams can collect and verify licenses in just a few clicks—allowing them time to make more big-picture strategic decisions. 

Learn more about time-to-hire in healthcare 

2. Staffing Shortages Are on the Rise 

Very few industries are experiencing a talent shortage to the extent that healthcare is. Certain sectors, such as assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, have been hit especially hard. According to the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living, nursing home staffing levels have plummeted to their lowest point since 1994

But while the nursing shortage often makes headlines, there are other high-demand healthcare positions that are experiencing even more severe shortages. Positions for home health aides for example, are projected to grow 33%  between 2020 and 2030—despite the fact that there are current shortages

The Solution

There’s no one size fits all approach for solving the healthcare staffing shortage, but some key strategies can help. Try:

  • Consolidating your hiring efforts into one platform. Using just one platform, instead of constantly switching between different platforms with differing functionalities, can help you streamline hiring, save time, and hire faster. 
  • Investing in employee referrals. Employee referrals can be a great way to quickly get pre-vetted candidates. Invest in an intuitive employee referral system, and get the word out using internal marketing. 
  • Supporting career paths. It can sometimes be difficult to envision a path forward in long-term care, especially in entry level roles such as LPNs and CNAs. Invest in continuing education and mentorship programs to reduce turnover and improve workplace culture. 

3. Dealing With the Pressures of a Critical Industry 

Nurse shortages don’t just affect your bottom line, they also directly impact quality of care. According to the NIH, nursing shortages and high turnover can increase errors, leading to higher mortality. While employers struggle to hire in healthcare, lives are at stake. As a result, your hiring has a degree of urgency that isn’t present in most other industries. If your hiring practices aren’t up to snuff, then every part of your organization, from overloaded nurses to patients seeking care, will also suffer. 

The Solution 

Hiring practices trickle down to quality of care. To ensure that you provide the best care for your residents, try:

  • Solidifying onboarding. With excellent onboarding, your staff will be fully equipped on everything from trauma informed care, to knowing when to take breaks (and prevent burnout). Use software to standardize your materials across facilities and departments. 
  • Recruiting to retain. Open dialogue with your new nurses, offer surveys, and do your best to understand why your staff stays…and why they leave. Focusing on retention can help increase the consistency of your staff. In a long-term care setting, this can also offer patients a sense of consistency. Employee appreciation and open communication are critical when it comes to retention. 

Learn more about how the nursing shortage affects quality of care (and how to get ahead of hiring)

4. Many Healthcare Workers Face Burnout

Burnout affects healthcare workers in a variety of industries. According to one 2018 survey, burnout levels hover around 30% for nurses and go as high as 50% for certified nursing assistants. Some healthcare workers also have their own caregiving duties at home. They may be caring for elderly family members, or children under 18.. 

According to the Journal of Affective Disorders, employed caregivers are at higher risk of mental health symptoms and concerns. This is because caregiving can be a full time job in itself—it takes time, effort, and energy. When someone is caregiving at home and also caregiving at work, it’s easy to become burnt out—especially when nurse burnout is already so common. Why is this important for hiring? Preventing burnout means preventing turnover, reducing the number of open positions to fill, and generally ensuring that you’re closer to being fully staffed. Not to mention, workplace culture suffers when employees are experiencing a high level of burnout. 

How to Solve This 

  • Providing flexible benefits. Flexible benefits can be a great way to materially support your staff struggling with caregiver burnout. 58% of workers say that non-traditional benefits could help them limit stress. Flexible benefits can help workers prioritize the benefits that help boost mental health and reduce caregiver burden. 
  • Reducing mental health stigma. If you’ve noticed a burnout issue in your facilities, talking about it can help. Host workshops, provide resources, and let your employees know that there’s no shame in struggling with mental health. 

Learn how to combat nurse burnout

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5. Syncing Hiring Across Different Facilities 

If you’re managing multiple locations, you have to be certain that all your locations are synced and in communication. When your HR teams aren’t on the same page, hiring can be stalled. Syncing across facilities is easier said than done. You need to standardize everything from candidate communications to onboarding packets. How do you get everyone on the same page? 

The Solution

Sometimes, a single facility will fall behind on hiring. When that happens, you need to understand why, and what can be done to make a difference. Use recruitment analytics to better understand which facilities need hiring support. 

By digging into the specific issues facing each community, you’ll be equipped to support your team. Is one location not receiving enough applications? It may be time to boost their sponsored posts. Are applications for CNAs piling up, but the team isn’t making enough hires? Work with the team at the struggling location to understand where the stall is happening. 

Learn how to use recruitment analytics to your benefit. 

6. You Need to Be Compliant—or Get Hit With Hefty Fines 

Healthcare organizations need to focus on compliance, which can get complicated in a large network of facilities. According to the American Hospital Association, healthcare organizations spend $39 billion per year to remain compliant. Staying compliant is both necessary and expensive, so it’s in your best interest to ensure that your compliance budget is spent in the right way. 

The Solution

Hiring effectively can help you cut down on this exorbitant cost. With the right software on your side, you can quickly ensure that every new hire has the right licenses and verifications. You can also effectively onboard new hires. Ensure that your new staff is trained in everything from trauma informed care to how long their mandatory breaks should be. Make use of onboarding packets, such as those Apploi’s customer success team provides, so new hires can quickly input their necessary information while still starting their job on time and fully prepared. Apploi is also a full document management platform, that stores the documentation needed for an employee’s entire time with the company. 

7. Poor Payroll Practices Can Drag Down Your Business

What does payroll have to do with hiring? Quite a lot, actually. If you consistently have payroll errors, your reputation will tank. Word will spread that you aren’t a reliable and timely employer, and it’ll become ever more difficult to hire. In fact, half of candidates surveyed by Glassdoor state that even with a pay hike, they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. 

The opposite is also true. The same survey found that a whopping 92% of candidates would change jobs for a company with a stellar reputation. This means that if you ensure your payroll is timely and accurate, you’re on the right track to building your brand as an excellent and reliable employer. 

While all companies have to deal with payroll, healthcare faces unique challenges. Shift differentials, swapped shifts, and more can make payroll a pain to do manually.

The Solution

Partner with the right software to ensure that your healthcare staff are paid as they should be. The best payroll software integrates with other applicant tracking and management functionalities, so you can fully manage your candidates and employees, no matter where they are in the hiring and management process. 

Better Hiring With Apploi 

Not all software is equipped to handle the unique challenges of healthcare. Apploi was made with healthcare in mind, and can help you verify licenses, calculate healthcare payroll, and distribute to healthcare-specific job boards. Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution. 

Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.