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We don’t have to tell you that healthcare staffing agencies are expensive. And yet, for many organizations, they can feel like the only option. High turnover rates and the demand for quality healthcare can easily push you into a corner. But relying on agencies is often not sustainable. Realizing you need to reduce agency costs is one thing, but to actually pull this off you’ll have to dig into the underlying issues. 

So what’s the solution? While reducing dependency on agencies often takes a long-term multi-pronged approach, the right software can make a world of difference. We lay out how you can use tech to your advantage to reduce agency costs and hire faster, better, and smarter. 

The Issues With Relying on Staffing Agencies

While many organizations rely on staffing agencies in an emergency, the practice comes with a lot of problems. Here are some of the most prevalent issues. 

High Costs

Prohibitive costs are one of the biggest reasons why many organizations find agency use unsustainable. Staffing minimums and turnover fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic mean that agency use is rising, but the costs are exorbitant, with some states seeing agency CNA rates at $70/hr. Over time, these costs could drive healthcare organizations deep into the red. 

Agencies Focus On Numbers Over Cultural Fit 

While agencies do have standards when it comes to hiring staff, these standards may not be the same as your own. The staff brought in by agencies aren’t vetted for cultural fit, and may not be specifically invested in your community and what makes it great. At the end of the day, your open shifts may be filled, but you’re no closer to building a cohesive staff with a sense of community. 

In long-term care settings patients may also benefit from continuity and a sense of community, something revolving door agency staff can’t provide. 

A Unsustainable Solution

Because of high costs, agency use isn’t sustainable. But the high costs can also make it impossible for your team to invest the money needed to revamp your own internal hiring process. 

This can quickly turn into a vicious cycle: you need funds to jumpstart your hiring process, but your funds are being drained by high agency costs, so you’re unable to make the changes you need to wean off of agencies. 

At a certain point, changes need to be made. That’s when it’s time to take a look at your hiring process and staffing software. 

How to Use Software to Reduce Agency Costs

Even if you’re focused on reducing agency costs, you’re still juggling a lot of priorities. You need to find more candidates, ensure they’re qualified, maximize your return on investment, minimize lost time, and increase retention. You have a lot to do, but your whole process can be improved with just one tool—better hiring practices. 

But while your approach will be varied, the best hiring software can be the only tool you need for all these strategies—and more. Here are five ways to reduce agency costs. 

1. Increase Your Reach

If you don’t have many candidates, you may be relying on agencies to fill in the gaps. No single tool can fix this problem, but a strong hiring platform can make finding candidates much easier. An applicant tracking system, for example, is a tool that can help you track, sort, and view candidates. The best applicant tracking software can help you easily and automatically distribute jobs to the ideal job sites for healthcare. 

Look out for technology that also offers job templates and career branding pages. These features can help you make your job applications as attractive to potential candidates as possible. Remember, it doesn’t matter how many people are viewing your applications if no one takes the time to apply. 

Learn more about automatic job distribution 

2. Find More Qualified Candidates 

Of course, getting more candidates is only half the battle. If you have a lot of applicants, but none of them are reasonably qualified, you won’t be able to start replacing agency staff. 

Ideally, your hiring platform will help you not just find candidates,but also efficiently screen them. Look for software with these important features.

  • Easy apply allows candidates to upload their resume and information in a few clicks. Candidates will be able to submit their application quickly, avoiding high drop-off rates. 
  • Screening questions (simple questions used to filter candidates as part of their application) can help you ensure that the candidates who arrive in your inbox are qualified for your open positions.
  • An easy-to-use interface can also help you reject candidates, or move them along in the hiring process, based on their profile. A usable interface can help your recruiters work faster, even if they have a lot on their plate. If you’re looking for an ATS and are unsure about whether you’ll find their interface easy to use, just ask for a demo, and see the software in action. 

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3. Decrease Your Time-to-Hire 

In healthcare hiring, time is of the essence. Every moment that a position is left unfilled is a moment that affects your reputation, the workload of your existing staff, and most vitally, patient care. 

If you have a manual process with many steps, then it’s only natural that you’d be forced to rely on agencies. The right software, though, can make your own hiring process as fast and labor minimal as possible. 

With the use of automations and text and email templates, you can quickly communicate with candidates while still being on-deck for any issues or questions that might arise. In other words, your process can be almost hands-off in the beginning stages, but you’ll still be able to personally vet and conduct interviews with the most promising candidates. 

4. Reduce Payroll Error (and Increase Retention)

If you retain more of your permanent staff, you’ll be able to rely less on agencies. While this might seem obvious, we all know it’s not that simple. Luckily, software can help you with retention in one easy way—by ensuring that your payroll is consistently error-free. 

Anyone who’s managed payroll will tell you: it can get complicated, fast. Time cards are fussy. Sometimes, people forget to clock in. Even if hours are logged flawlessly, you still have to account for overtime pay, holiday pay, switched shifts, PTO, and more. 

But getting payroll correct is one of the most important factors in retention. According to one survey from the Workforce Institute, almost half (49%) of workers begin searching for new positions after just two payroll errors or delays. Getting those core business functions mistake free can help you boost retention enough to begin weaning off of staffing agencies. 

Learn more about integrated payroll 

5. Create an Integrated Hiring and Management Process 

Agencies can introduce a slew of costs, and it can get complicated managing both permanent and temporary employees. But with a platform that integrates hiring and management processes—and more—your team can manage candidates and employees from the first point of contact, all the way through the moment the employee leaves the company. And you can do it all without leaving a platform. 

As you look for hiring and management tech, make sure you ask companies about their integration. The more elements of hiring and management in one platform, the easier it is to do your job—and cut down on agency costs. 

Cut Agency Costs with Apploi 

When your whole HR process gets simpler, it’s easier to stop relying on agencies. With Apploi, you can optimize your staffing process from hire to retire, with streamlined recruiting, onboarding, integrated payroll, and shift management. 

Interested in learning more about how to recruit, hire, and onboard staff quicker than the competition? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end 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.