Three Healthcare Staffing Trends to Watch

The pandemic swiftly ushered in a new era in the world of work. In healthcare, with lives at stake, staffing firms had to pivot quickly to manage wild swings in demand for workers as the pandemic surged and declined regionally throughout the country. Demand intensified for travel nursing and respiratory therapy and decreased for most locum specialties and physical therapy.

However, as the country opens up, non-COVID-related care is recovering. And, while travel nursing will remain in demand throughout 2021 as firms continue to hire for mass vaccination efforts, it likely will level out in coming months due to cost considerations. As demand becomes more predictable, hospitals will look to do more permanent hiring.

What will a “return to (new) normal” look like when it comes to healthcare staffing? As the pandemic loosens its grip, we have our eye on three key trends ushered in by the pandemic that are here to stay.

Healthcare staffing firms embrace technology and automation

Healthcare staffing quickly transformed over the past year as firms streamlined sourcing, recruiting and credentialing to ensure they could meet demand rapidly. Firms looked to technology and automation to solve problems and gain efficiencies. Here’s how:

Problem: Finding candidates.

Staffing firms struggled to find high-demand candidates such as travel nurses. Yet, many of those same firms had hundreds to thousands of passive candidates sitting in their databases who were not being engaged.

Solution: Automated database mining allows you to seamlessly mine for and engage existing leads through automated engagement.

By doing so, recruiters save time engaging leads and only need to screen candidates that are interested, build relationships with them and match them with meaningful assignments.

Problem: Losing candidates in the funnel.

With high demand, candidates were falling out of the funnel, if the credentialing process was too onerous or if they were presented competing opportunities that resulted in faster placement.

Solution: Pre-credentialing.

One way to do true rapid-response travel nursing – where nurses are placed in 24-48 hours – is to pre-credential them, or have their credentials nearly complete, with only the few state and facility-specific documents remaining to be quickly completed. This process is often handled by credentialing software combined with third-party partners whose offshore recruiters can manage the process in a way that is far more cost-effective, scalable, and efficient, freeing up onshore recruiters to focus on relationship development.

Problem: Retaining talent.

With certain healthcare positions in very high demand, healthcare staffing firms did all they could to make sure they could retain the talent they had.

Solution: Virtual wallets give travelers access to their credentials for future placements, even with competing staffing firms.

The wallet allows traveling nurses to leverage a one-stop-shop app with all credentialing, job search, interview scheduling and time card information. Staffing companies can market through that app for new jobs when the current position is coming to an end.

Virtual wallets provide candidates with easy and rapid access to the hospitals that need them most, making their lives easier in the process, and building loyalty with you.

As healthcare job growth outpaces the market, so does innovation in healthcare staffing

In the long-term, the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics projects overall employment will grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, an annual growth rate of only 0.4%. Healthcare occupations are generally expected to outperform substantially. The two major categories for healthcare occupations, healthcare practitioners and healthcare support, are projected to grow 9% and 23%, respectively, over that time. Supporting that estimation, a recent McKinsey & Company report expects that by 2030, the greatest growth in U.S. labor demand will be among health aides, technicians, wellness occupations and health professionals.

To keep up with this growth, healthcare staffing firms will continue to adopt innovative strategies to ensure client, candidate and employee engagement stays strong. Among our clients, we’re seeing increased investments to build infrastructure, streamline automation, leverage offshore recruiters for labor-intensive processes, and address search to support this sustained growth.

In other words, savvy healthcare staffing firms are taking the lessons learned – and solutions implemented – over the past year and applying them systematically so they’ll be able to meet forecasted demand for years to come. And, they’re maintaining the culture of flexibility, nimbleness, and adaptability that was required of them throughout the pandemic to ensure they’re ready for whatever comes their way.

Growth requires a shift from end-to-end to functional alignment

In smaller staffing companies, recruiters manage the recruitment process end-to-end, from sourcing and recruiting to credentialing and submitting. The problem is that this process will not result in sustained growth. If growth is the goal, staffing firms must move to a model with separate teams for each function. Smaller staffing companies that aim to grow are leveraging this time as an opportunity to build a foundation based on functional alignment versus that end-to-end process.

Recruitment marketing plays a leading role

According to a recent healthcare recruiting trends survey from Jobvite, an overwhelming majority (88%) of healthcare recruiters believe recruitment marketing to be essential in an increasingly digital world. Additionally, healthcare recruiters have precise goals for increasing the diversity of their talent, specifically for race, gender, veterans and sexual identity.

With candidate experience and engagement more crucial than ever, organizations must become experts at how to differentiate their companies and job opportunities, creatively calling out specifics about placements that make them special and unique. If not, they will get lost in the noise. Proper programmatic recruitment marketing casts the widest net for job postings and advertising to attract talent. It optimizes spend by finding the right volume of candidates needed to fill the role but helps stop overspend on more candidates than you need. Doing this broadly for all roles in an organization has a considerable impact.

Lack of speed kills. If you take too long, top talent is gone. Marketing and branding should reflect a sense of urgency and importance related to the candidate experience. Recruitment marketing can ensure you attract the right candidates as efficiently as possible.

For more information about all you need to know about optimizing healthcare staffing in our new world of work, please reach out to us.