Recruiting and retaining healthcare staff is a considerable challenge in Ireland’s health and social sector and, indeed, on a global scale. The consequences of the worldwide pandemic have impacted all healthcare sectors and put hospitals under increased pressure to provide essential healthcare. An ageing population and rising need for neonatal care have further increased the urgent drive to recruit more healthcare staff.
Using the services of a professional agency is an excellent way of finding reliable and experienced healthcare staff quickly. Irish nurses have long had a reputation for excellent training and quality care provision and are in demand everywhere. Medical and nursing staff are leaving Ireland in high numbers to find jobs with higher compensation, better career development opportunities, and an improved work-life balance.
Although this is not just an Irish problem, overwhelming workloads, long shifts, and other factors within the Irish healthcare service, combined with the ease of finding work elsewhere, have pushed trained staff to leave.
Tips for Recruiting Healthcare Staff
The following section considers 12 tips that may help attract and recruit healthcare staff in your organisation:
1. Offer a good compensation rate and an attractive package. Healthcare workers need competitive salaries with rising inflation rates and high rental and property costs. They are also more likely to remain in a job with a clear career progression route. Be transparent in your job advertisement and be prepared to explain the career advancement opportunities clearly to candidates.
2. Prioritise the recruitment experience for new healthcare staff. Communicate well with interested candidates at every stage of the recruitment process. Ensure that the interview process is a positive experience for them. Taking the time to respond to applications promptly has become essential today. If candidates have to wait for a response to their application, they may lose interest and look elsewhere. Job seekers are also likely to share their experience of the recruitment process widely, so it is essential to make the experience positive.
3. Embrace AI and recruitment technology. Finding the right person for any healthcare position is a top priority. While recruitment tech will not replace the human element when selecting staff, it may speed things up and help eliminate unconscious bias. Invest in technology to manage rote tasks like writing job advertisements and arranging interview times. Invest in good video conferencing software for interviewing candidates online. Consider using chatbots to update candidates or answer inquiries from interested applicants.
4. Implement data-driven recruitment techniques. Data analytics helps find and track qualified candidates for upcoming jobs. It also helps to inform the success of your job listing and will indicate how many people have clicked on a posting. It will also help you measure metrics and help determine how long it takes to recruit a new hire.
5. Outsource screening processes. Screening is a top priority in healthcare recruitment, but thorough candidate screening can be lengthy. Consider outsourcing screening processes to an expert screening agency. Specialist screening agencies will have the technology and human resources to deliver results.
6. Advertise job vacancies on social media pages. Jobseekers today commonly use social media to look for listings and employment opportunities. Social media can also be an effective way for employers to source candidates. Some candidates will have professional profiles on platforms like LinkedIn or specialised platforms.
7. Raise awareness of your healthcare setting on social media. Creating a positive company culture and brand will help your healthcare setting stand out. Share photos and details on social media if your staff is involved in community initiatives like fundraising or health and fitness days. Engage with people who respond and build relationships.
8. Create a career page on your website. A career page can be an excellent way of informing people about job opportunities. It is also a perfect way to promote your company culture and highlight the positive aspects of working within your team. Showcase examples of how your company values work-life balance, employee well-being, and career progression opportunities.
9. Focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). While DEI has become a top priority within any business and healthcare setting, it is a critical aspect of healthcare today when caring for people from various backgrounds. Statistics from The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) reveal that most new registrants to the nursing profession in Ireland over the past year came from countries outside the EU. Promoting DEI recruitment processes is essential for attracting candidates from a range of backgrounds.
10. Think ahead. It has become crucial to consider the future recruitment needs of your organisation and how to meet them. Consider partnerships with schools and community colleges to engage prospective candidates. Foster positive relationships with student nurses or care workers on placement in your setting. Communicate with them and ask for feedback so that you can optimise the experience and make them more likely to want to work there in the future.
11. Look within your organisation. Internal mobility has become an increasing trend within settings experiencing freezing hires and recruitment challenges. Encourage and support qualified staff to upskill and take on roles with better pay and increased responsibilities. It is a strategy that can boost staff morale and loyalty.
12. Implement remote biometric tools where possible. This means patients can take their own blood pressure, temperature, oxygen levels, or heart rate at home and send the results in digital form. These measures can relieve the workload when the healthcare setting is understaffed.
Tips for Retaining Healthcare Staff
Once your healthcare organisation has hired a new staff member, the next goal is to ensure they will be happy and productive in their new role. The following strategies may help ensure that your new recruit stays in the position for as long as possible:
1. Optimise the onboarding process. First impressions last, so it is crucial to ensure that new healthcare recruits are welcomed into the organisation and given vital information to understand their role correctly. Send them information and a staff handbook before they start. Prepare a welcome pack with their ID and other essentials, including treats.
2. Appoint a mentor to help the new staff member settle in. Explain the company’s expectations of them in the first few weeks. Communicate well with them and advise of dates and times of important meetings. Encourage them to participate in team-building activities or events to meet other staff members.
3. Professional development. Give staff access to information on career development and progression. Implement a career progression path that is easy to follow. Find out staff career goals and discuss ways of meeting them.
4. Seek feedback. It is worthwhile interviewing new hires to learn how they feel about their new role. Identify areas that your company can improve. Allow staff to provide feedback through online surveys or anonymous messages.
5. Consider hiring temporary staff. This measure is helpful during hectic periods to take the pressure off your healthcare team when they are overburdened. It shows that you value their efforts and care about their well-being.
6. Update policies. Ensure that new staff know what to do in threatening situations with patients or their families and have a process in place to deal with incidents in the workplace. Ensure that new employees know how to issue a complaint about conditions or colleagues in confidence.
7. Focus on well-being. Healthcare staff are prone to experiencing burnout at work. Support staff by providing a comfortable staff room where they can relax and rest during breaks and make an effort to acknowledge their hard work and dedication. Organise wellness workshops and stress management training where possible. Consider checking in with them regularly and following up on their feedback.
For more information, contact Access Healthcare today for any healthcare staffing needs in your organisation.