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If there’s one thing that unifies healthcare managers, it’s this: hiring skilled and passionate employees during a talent shortage is hard work. Fortunately, some hiring approaches are tried and true. We explored some of these strategies in our free Digital HR Playbook, from clear communication to hiring best practices. Whether you’re trying to attract candidates already in your ecosystem or looking toward passive candidates who have never worked in healthcare before, employer branding is critical to making sure you stand out as an attractive employer. 

What’s an Employer Brand?

Quite simply, your employer brand is your reputation as an employer. This has to do with both how your organization represents itself and how employees represent it to outsiders. Marketing efforts, job descriptions, social media, your communication and timeliness during recruitment—it’s all a part of your brand. 

Organizational reputation is probably even more important than you realize. In fact, a full 95% of candidates say that it’s one of the things they consider before accepting a new job. This is especially critical in healthcare, where the talent shortage and high demand for qualified staff make every candidate that much more valuable. Because of healthcare’s high turnover rates, it’s also likely that your employees know workers at other facilities. Many of your candidates will have a good idea of your culture and pay rates before they even interview. If you’re constantly competing for top candidates, your employer brand is one way to rise above the pack.

What’s the Benefit of Employer Branding in Healthcare?

Every healthcare manager knows that passionate workers are what make organizations tick. According to one cross-industry survey, 88% of companies get their best candidates through referrals, and report that referred employees are less likely to churn. This is huge for healthcare, where improving employee retention is a common struggle. 

In order to benefit from referrals, you first need a strong reputation. No one is going to suggest their friends apply for a job at an organization where they had a poor experience. By the same token, good business branding will make top candidates more likely to accept your offer, no matter how they heard about the opening. By some accounts, effective employer branding can halve your costs-per-hire and even reduce turnover by 28%. Constant recruiting costs and high turnover are common pain points for healthcare organizations, so strengthening employer branding should be a top priority. 

The best nurses are motivated by a passion for their work, and employers should recognize this when they think about their outreach efforts. Offering competitive wages and benefits is one part of employer branding, but it doesn’t stop there. Your business’s mission, and ability to live up to it, are also important parts of your brand. By showing strong communication, respect, and support for career growth during recruitment, you’re effectively demonstrating your best qualities in action. That can be as meaningful as any flashy advertising campaign. 

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Who Handles Employer Branding in Healthcare?

Employer branding includes a little bit of everything. Since your branding is partially about how employees perceive their healthcare organization, almost every team contributes to it in some way.

When it comes to managing your public voice, branding efforts often fall to recruiters and whichever members of leadership act as ambassadors for your company. Sometimes businesses hire external marketers to handle marketing, but this can be an issue when these marketers don’t truly understand the building and culture they’re promoting. 

Writing good job descriptions is one part of employer branding, as is emailing or texting applicants in a friendly and timely manner. Your social media presence, the language and appearance of your website, and your appearances in the news all contribute.

Finally, your reputation is informed by how you actually treat your staff. Because of this, the best employer branding strategies also involve participation from nurses and other employees. Inquire about their pain points and gather ideas for improvement through regular staff interactions or short surveys. When you lend a willing ear, you make it more likely that your employees will represent you well in their circles. 

Steps to Building Your Employer Brand

Ready to start improving your employer brand? Great! Let’s go over the steps. 

1. Make a Team and Set a Baseline

Gather your team and decide who will be involved in this process—most likely hiring managers and key leaders. These are the people who will aid your fact-finding mission. Together, conduct a brand audit by reviewing your website and social media. Review your recruiting process, asking yourself if you’re efficient, courteous, and pleasant with candidates. Consider taking an anonymous survey of your employees to inquire how satisfied they are with their work. This will give you an idea of where your employer brand stands today. 

2. Articulate Your Value Prop

Your value proposition is a statement that sums up your key differentiators. In other words—why are you a great employer? Maybe you have cutting-edge technology. Perhaps you have a great track record promoting your staff through the ranks. Or maybe it’s your shift flexibility, or your benefits package, or your ties to the local community. Whatever sets you apart, it’s time to name it explicitly. Share this widely with your team so they understand how you want to represent your organization.

3. Revamp Your Online Presence

Understanding your value prop will give you a new lens to look at your entire online presence. Take a look at your website to see if there are places where you could communicate what makes you such a strong employer. Do the same with social media, posting about your facilities, team, culture, or other strengths. Finally, extend this to your job posts. If you don’t already, make sure you start folding key differentiators into your job descriptions. Not sure how to do this? We’ve got a whole guide to writing job descriptions that work. 

4. Take it to the Candidates

You can show what a great employer you are upfront by making your recruiting process smooth and candidate-friendly. Stay in touch with candidates about the status of their application, and use standardized message templates to make sure you always come across as friendly and professional. A staffing platform that integrates different elements of hiring, like Apploi, will help you maintain an organized hiring process and keep your candidates engaged across multiple communication channels. 

Better Employer Branding with Apploi

Apploi is on a mission to help healthcare recruit, hire, and manage talent more successfully. We give employers more control over their brand by making hiring simple and painless for both candidates and managers. 

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? 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.