Our View: A Great Example of Connecting Brand, Strategy and Metrics to Improve Recruitment Performance

Recruitment and retention often are treated as separate and distinct disciplines in HR. This common misperception tends to undermine an organization’s best recruiting efforts, shifting the emphasis to filling immediate vacancies – often without considering how to keep the person you just spent months recruiting, hiring and training.  This misperception is exacerbated in healthcare, a fast-growing industry that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will generate nearly 16 million new jobs by 2022.

To cope with this anticipated hiring surge, health systems are turning to interdisciplinary recruiting teams to improve their candidate sourcing. Each member of a recruitment team focuses on a different function within the process, such as: sketching out job descriptions, marketing the employer brand, screening resumes, conducting interviews, and helping new hires get acclimated (thus closing the loop between recruitment and retention).

One notable example is the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System, which encompasses a 565-bed medical-surgical facility, nationally ranked schools of medicine and nursing, and employs more than 180 physicians honored by Best Doctors Inc. Those accolades are built into UVA’s marketing and branding efforts aimed at landing top talent.

One problem UVA needed to solve was an over-reliance on traveling nurses, coupled with a high number of staff vacancies. The Charlottesville, VA institution hired RPO provider Cielo to fine-tune its candidate experience, including the development of talent communities designed to boost awareness of UVA’s employer brand.

The health system also is embracing long-term forecasting models to estimate the types and number of jobs it will need during the next several years. John Boswell, UVA Health Systems’ chief HR officer, told Healthcare Finance magazine:

“We have to get good at forecasting what we need now, two years from now, five years from now. We need to be able to find the right people, at the proper time, in the right place.”

UVA Health System tied its in-house branding to metrics-driven recruitment and a better recruitment experience for hiring managers. The payoff? During the first year of its recruiting partnership, UVA Health reportedly filled more than 350 positions, with an average time-to-fill of 64 days. The health system cut costs for traveling nursing contracts by nearly 75 percent, while boosting 90-day retention – widely considered the most vulnerable time period for new hires – by 94 percent.

The UVA example illustrates something we see with our clients every day: employer branding takes a commitment to setting goals and following through. As we can see, connecting your branding, interdisciplinary recruiting team and metrics delivers new candidates while solving a critical retention issue.

About the Author

N. Robert Johnson APR, Practice Leader, Workforce Communications

Bob Johnson has more than 20 years of corporate, agency and internal communications experience. He is currently leading The David Group's Workforce Communications Practice focused on strengthening employer brands, engaging people and cutting the cost of talent.

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