Strategies for U.S. Healthcare Staffing Agencies to Stay Competitive
Of all the industries reeling from the effects of global events completely out of their control – the healthcare industry in the U.S. might very well top the list. Even before the worldwide pandemic, the industry was already struggling with unprecedented nursing and physician shortages. Now, post-pandemic, the situation has only gotten worse with a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) estimating the shortage of physicians in the U.S. could rise as high as 139,000 by 2033, and a similar report by McKinsey projecting a shortage of 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025.
The massive shortfall is rising to critical mass and has the potential to impact patient care and the overall health of the population on a fundamental level. This has healthcare staffing agencies desperately looking for ways to fill the void. Fortunately, there are solutions, but healthcare staffing agencies will need to adjust their recruiting methodologies and develop the right strategies to remain competitive. Before we explore some of those strategies, let’s take a closer look at the current state of healthcare staffing in the U.S.
The Healthcare Staffing Industry Landscape
The healthcare staffing market in the U.S. in 2021 was valued at $40.1 billion and is projected to more than double by 2031. There are a number of factors contributing to this growth that are also responsible for the workforce shortage across the spectrum in healthcare.
- The expansion of public healthcare as a result of legislation – The Affordable Care Act served to make healthcare more accessible to more people, resulting in more hospitals, and ultimately, the need for more healthcare workers.
- Growing skills gap – According to one survey from PwC, 58% of CEOs worldwide believe a skills gap could hinder company growth, and 92% of healthcare officials expressed concern about finding applicants with the necessary skill sets. The complex skills and experience required in the healthcare industry are unlike any other industry. Advances in medicine and technology have increased the skills gap in technical areas, but there is also a growing soft skills gap to content with.
- An aging population – Has increased the demand for healthcare services.
- Current healthcare professionals exiting the industry – A third of all active physicians are baby boomers heading for retirement, which is increasing the demand for healthcare professionals with specialized skill sets.
- Ongoing shortage of healthcare workers – Particularly in certain specialties and geographic areas. This shortage can make it difficult for staffing agencies to find qualified candidates and may also lead to higher compensation costs.
To stay competitive in this challenging landscape, healthcare staffing agencies need to deploy a multi-faceted approach to recruiting in order to acquire and retain top talent.
Build a Robust Talent Pool
In an industry where so many roles require specific skills, education, and experience, it can be challenging to build a robust talent pool. However, with targeted recruitment strategies and effective healthcare hiring tools, healthcare recruiters can get there. This is where an AI talent sourcing platform like Arya can be a game-changer when it comes to identifying and engaging the right talent quickly. With the largest talent database (850+ million candidates sourced across 70+ platforms) in North America, Arya analyzes over 300 attributes, advanced search and match technology, and talent scoring and ranking to identify the talent most likely to succeed in a particular role. Healthcare staffing agencies are able to source and engage relevant candidates faster, giving them an edge over the competition.
Another way to beef up your talent pool is by partnering with nursing schools and allied health programs. Building strong relationships with these entities provides access to newly graduated healthcare professionals and can also help staffing agencies keep up with evolving trends in healthcare across the board.
Retain Top Talent
Retaining candidates is just as important as recruitment. Healthcare staffing agencies can develop targeted retention strategies such as offering competitive compensation, benefits, and professional development opportunities to keep talent in the pool. This can be especially useful if your agency specializes in temporary staffing or travel nursing where having a robust pool of contingent labor is critical. Creating a positive work environment, fostering strong team dynamics, and promoting a healthy work-life balance can also help retain top talent.
One of the most effective ways to retain healthcare staff is through continued education and professional development opportunities. By investing in staff development, agencies not only keep their employees engaged but also position them for career advancement, which ultimately improves the agency’s overall recruitment and retention success.
Make the Candidate Experience Unparalleled
According to a survey by Glassdoor, organizations who delivered a stellar candidate experience increased their quality of hires by as much as 70%. So, what is candidate experience and what are the elements of a good one?
Simply put, the candidate experience is the job seekers’ perception of the company brand throughout the recruitment lifecycle. In an industry where competition for top talent is fierce, a positive candidate experience can be the thing that converts an exceptional candidate into a successful hire.
Candidate experience also directly affects your employer brand. In an increasingly connected, digital workplace, word travels fast and a negative candidate experience can damage your company’s reputation, and potentially your overall success. One survey illustrated this point quite clearly with 72% of respondents indicating they had shared a negative candidate experience online or with someone directly. Talk about a hit to your company’s reputation! Some critical elements to a great candidate experience include:
- A simple, easy application process – Examine your own application process through the eyes of a candidate. Was it overly long and cumbersome? What areas could be simplified to make the process easier? Try to avoid making candidates register for an account in order to apply or sending candidates to multiple sites to complete an application as this can lead to a high candidate dropout rate. One research study found that a staggering 92% of candidates who hit apply never completed the application.
- Keep the application process mobile-friendly – 68% of job seekers between the age of 18 and 25 (Gen Z0 use their mobile devices to search for jobs. With numbers like that, it’s absolutely essential to ensure your application process is optimized for mobile devices.
- Craft inclusive job descriptions – Make sure your job descriptions are clear and compelling, but not overly long and restrictive in terms of the necessary qualifications. And keep the language inclusive to attract diverse candidates, and to avoid alienating a specific demographic.
- Make clear communication throughout the process a priority – One of the biggest reasons for a candidate’s negative perception of a company brand is a lack of communication. Keep your candidates informed at every stage even if it’s to let them know you’ve chosen a different candidate. They may very well be a good fit for a different role at some point but it’s also critical to keeping your employer brand intact.
In addition to all of the above, healthcare staffing agencies can leverage technology to improve the candidate experience. The Arya platform features a powerful candidate communication dashboard that offers multi-channel communication options including talk, text, email and a chatbot that serves as a 24/7 digital recruiter. Automating communication can save recruiters valuable time, while simultaneously keeping candidates engaged, and contributing to a positive candidate experience.
Mitigate the Skills Gap
Another strategy for healthcare staffing agencies to stay competitive is related to the skills gap. Investing in continuing education and professional development for healthcare professionals can help bridge the skills gap and also attract more healthcare professionals to your agency.
Continuing education can take many forms, from on-the-job training to external conferences and workshops. But providing opportunities for candidates to improve their skills and knowledge base can help you fill more roles, boost your agency’s reputation, and increase revenue. Investing in continuing education and professional development also demonstrates a commitment to excellence and staying up to date with the latest trends and best practices in the industry. This can give your agency a competitive edge and help you stand out among the many healthcare staffing agencies vying for clients and candidates.
Suggested Read: Five urgent challenges and solutions for bulk healthcare hiring
Network and Partner with Healthcare Organizations and Industry Associations
One of the best ways U.S. healthcare staffing agencies can stay competitive in the market is by developing partnerships with healthcare organizations and industry associations. These partnerships can help staffing agencies to tap into a larger pool of qualified candidates and gain access to valuable resources and information.
Partnering with healthcare organizations also allows staffing agencies to establish strong relationships with healthcare facilities, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers. This can lead to a steady stream of referrals for staffing needs and can also help to build a reputation for quality staffing services in the healthcare industry. Healthcare organizations often prefer to work with staffing agencies that have a proven track record of delivering high-quality staffing solutions, and partnerships can help agencies to establish that credibility.
Industry associations, such as the National Association for Healthcare Recruitment (NAHCR), provide a wealth of information and resources for healthcare staffing agencies. These organizations often offer educational programs, networking opportunities, and industry insights that can help staffing agencies to stay updated on industry trends and best practices. Membership in industry associations can also provide valuable marketing and branding opportunities, as well as opportunities to participate in advocacy efforts on behalf of the industry.
Invest in the Right Technology Tools
Having the right technology is critical to maintaining a competitive edge in the healthcare staffing industry. An AI powered platform like Arya can not only speed up sourcing, reduce manual screening time, and enhance candidate quality, it can also completely eliminate the burden of sourcing from healthcare staffing agencies with Applicants on Demand. (AoD) With predictable, pay per applicant pricing, AoD does all the legwork for you. From sourcing and engaging the most compatible candidates, to pre-qualifying and managing the application process, AoD delivers AI-vetted applicants directly into your ATS.
Staying competitive in the U.S. healthcare staffing industry requires a fresh approach and the right resources. Arya’s AoD service is the most powerful resource on the market for capturing top talent before the competition. If you’d like to learn more about AoD by Arya, contact us today.
What is the current state of healthcare staffing in the U.S.?
The U.S. healthcare industry is facing unprecedented nursing and physician shortages. Reports predict that there could be a shortage of 139,000 physicians by 2033 and 200,000 to 450,000 nurses by 2025.
Why is there a shortfall of healthcare professionals?
Factors contributing to the shortfall include the expansion of public healthcare as a result of legislation, growing skills gap, an aging population, and current healthcare professionals exiting the industry.
What is the value of the healthcare staffing market in the U.S.?
The healthcare staffing market in the U.S. in 2021 was valued at $40.1 billion and is projected to more than double by 2031.
How can healthcare staffing agencies build a robust talent pool?
Healthcare staffing agencies can build a robust talent pool by utilizing targeted recruitment strategies, effective healthcare hiring tools like Arya’s AI talent sourcing platform, and by partnering with nursing schools and allied health programs.
Why is it important to retain top talent in the healthcare industry?
Retaining top talent is important because the healthcare industry is in critical need of qualified candidates, and retention can help agencies keep a robust pool of contingent labor.
What are some strategies for retaining top healthcare talent?
Some strategies include offering competitive compensation, benefits, professional development opportunities, creating a positive work environment, and promoting work-life balance.
What is candidate experience, and why is it important in healthcare staffing?
Candidate experience is a job seeker’s perception of a company brand throughout the recruitment lifecycle. It’s important in healthcare staffing because it affects employer brand, and organizations that deliver a positive candidate experience can increase the quality of hires by as much as 70%.
How can healthcare staffing agencies craft an inclusive job description?
Healthcare staffing agencies can make their job descriptions inclusive by keeping the language open, avoiding restrictive qualifications, and crafting a clear, compelling description.
What is the communication dashboard in the Arya platform?
The Arya platform features a powerful candidate communication dashboard that offers multi-channel communication options including talk, text, email, and a chatbot that serves as a 24/7 digital recruiter.
How can healthcare staffing agencies mitigate the skills gap?
Healthcare staffing agencies can mitigate the skills gap by investing in continuing education and professional development for healthcare professionals.
Why is it important for healthcare staffing agencies to network and partner with healthcare organizations and industry associations?
Healthcare staffing agencies can tap into a larger pool of qualified candidates, gain access to valuable resources and information, and establish strong relationships with healthcare providers.
What are some benefits of partnering with healthcare organizations?
Benefits include a steady stream of referrals for staffing needs, building a reputation for quality staffing services, and establishing credibility as a reliable staffing solution.