Guide to high volume healthcare staffing

Author Mike Marschke Date 13 Dec 2023

If you know someone who works in healthcare, you’ve probably heard about the chaos that erupted in the industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff shortages, worker burnout, and sooner-than-anticipated retirements are just a few issues that emerged on the heels of this global crisis. This begs the question: How has the industry recovered in terms of healthcare staffing? And what can recruiters do to ensure their practices align with the new needs and expectations of healthcare workers?

In this post, we’ll explore the challenges that have emerged in healthcare hiring as the pandemic era heals, and reveal how recruiters can equip themselves with the best solutions to hire quality workers and continue to meet their high standards of care.

The new landscape of healthcare staffing

In the years since the pandemic, turnover rates for healthcare positions reached 94% at nursing homes, 65% among at-home care providers, and 19.5% at hospitals that same year. Resulting staff shortages have prompted a huge demand for workers, while employers have been trying to juggle the tasks of finding new talent and retaining existing staff or risk losing them to skyrocketing turnover.

Meanwhile, healthcare workers have new expectations of their employers, especially when it comes to flexible work arrangements and mental health.

According to a survey from the Workforce Institute at UKG, 60% of workers reported their job to be the most significant factor in the state of their mental health, and 70% want their employers to do more to support their mental health. 

Despite this new landscape, one fact holds true: Humans will never stop needing healthcare. In order to address staff shortages, high turnover, and dissatisfied workers, hiring teams need to thoroughly assess how they recruit, hire, and retain this ever-important workforce.

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The future of healthcare staffing is fast and flexible

Your choice of hiring process can make or break your success in the current healthcare hiring crisis. Today’s healthcare workforce is quickly reshaping expectations around engagement, the hiring process, and what it takes to earn their loyalty. This shifting demographic and candidates’ eagerness to connect more personally require hiring systems that do more than simply track scheduled interviews or collect paperwork.

Read 11 ways to maximize your high volume hiring strategy

Allowing candidates to dictate the schedule of events while still working quickly toward a common hiring goal translates into more efficient hiring cycles, reduced time-to-hire, and the ability to manage thousands of applicants in a way that feels personal and convenient.

To achieve this, recruiting teams need a hiring process that optimizes efficiency, delivering high-performing candidates and making it easy to get them on board fast. They need to lean into technology, especially automation, to save time and consolidate resources.

The pillars of an efficient high volume hiring process

The healthcare industry has never been one to shy away from the latest technology, and hiring for this industry should naturally follow suit. When considering how to implement technology to improve your hiring process, you need to think not only about your recruiting team’s abilities and preferences but also about the preferences of your ideal candidate

Unfortunately for healthcare recruiters today, traditional hiring models and clunky applicant tracking systems were not built with these applicant preferences in mind. This has left recruiters scrambling to attract job seekers who are quick to click out of a slow process and shift their attention to one that’s swift and simple, yet still feels personalized.

Click here for top processes, tips, and tools to enhance your high volume hiring process

Challenges for high volume hiring in healthcare today

The following five problems are hindering healthcare recruiting teams from finding the best talent and getting them hired in a timely fashion. 

  • Competition. Healthcare workers are in high demand, which means hiring teams need to diversify and get creative with their recruitment efforts in order to catch the attention of the limited pool of job seekers.
  • Lengthy processes. According to Lightcast.io, the average time-to-hire in the health-care industry can be as high as 42 days 6, but job seekers aren’t going to wait around for an offer to materialize. They’ll move on to the next opportunity at an organization that can hire them faster.
  • Disjointed communication. In today’s mobile-first world, hiring teams must have clear communication guidelines in place to keep candidates engaged, informed, and interested in the job, or risk losing them to competitors with better engagement.
  • Lack of visibility. Traditional hiring systems provide little to no visibility into metrics like cost-per-hire, nor are they able to inform recruiters of the location of candidates in the hiring funnel. And, with time-to-hire reported as the biggest pain point among recruiters, having insight into where candidates are getting stuck is crucial to getting ahead.
  • Turnover. Healthcare workers are leaving their jobs at alarming rates. Employers need to devise ways to foster interest early on in the recruitment process, engage applicants, and ensure workers have the support they need to succeed.

The role of intelligent tools for healthcare staffing at volume

How can you solve these healthcare staffing woes? By adopting an ATS that is built specifically for frontline hiring. 

An ATS for frontline hiring has the speed to get candidates hired faster, the capacity to handle a large number of candidates simultaneously, and the capability to automate tasks and allow recruiters to focus on more human-centric aspects of the hiring process. They can help healthcare institutions fill openings fast and make in-the-moment changes to build the ideal hiring solution.

stethoscope next to a laptop computer

How does software refine the healthcare staffing process?

Whether you’re new to the idea of a high volume ATS or you’re well into your search for the best solution, we’ve put together a checklist of features and functions your hiring process should have for optimal hiring success.

Integrations

  • Seamlessly integrates with the hiring tools you already use—like document uploads and background checks—in order to efficiently source, screen, and hire workers. Workers can easily upload their nursing licenses, CPR certifications, and other credentials to verify their identity and education

Read: 15 candidate sourcing strategies to help you find better candidates

Automation

  • Automates tasks that used to be manual with previous systems, like routing candidates to the appropriate stage of the hiring funnel based on answers to knockout questions, or scheduling interviews.

Customization

  • An ATS enhanced by AI in high-touch areas—like the early stages when applicants may have commonly asked questions—allows you to respond to candidates with ease and speed while attending to other duties that require the human touch.
  • Customization creates workflows tailored to candidates’ preferences while allowing them to choose when and how to interact with you.

A full guide to Ai recruiting software: Features, functions, and benefits

Communication

  • Keeps the conversation flowing with automated SMS reminders, WhatsApp messages, and emails; uses integrated, personalized, and automated communication methods that send reminders and follow-ups, keeping applicants engaged.

Data and reporting

  • Captures the big picture of your hiring funnel to make more informed decisions; optimizes the hiring process by building upon the features that are producing results and removing or replacing the steps that are slowing candidates down. 

Fountain’s approach to high volume healthcare staffing

Fountain integrates with hiring tools you already use and connects to external job boards so you can expand the reach of your openings. Hiring managers can chat directly with candidates through standard text messaging or WhatsApp, and can track KPIs using robust reporting and analytics tools. Customers who have used Fountain to hire high volumes of healthcare workers have hired in as little as eight days, compared to the industry standard of 42 days.  

To learn more about how to overcome healthcare staffing challenges and set your talent acquisition team up for success, click here to read our Modern Hiring Guide for Healthcare.

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About the Author

Director, Strategic Programs

Mike Marschke

Mike Marschke is Fountain's Director of Product who has a passion for innovation and optimizing talent acquisition strategies, enhancing candidate experiences, and driving organizational growth.