Talent Acquisition’s Impact on Quality Patient Care

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Exploring the link between talent acquisition and operational business outcomes

As president of a provider of recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) services for the healthcare industry, I’m fortunate to interact with clinicians, administrators and human resource leaders on a daily basis. Our discussions vary, but the topic is often focused on quality patient care and its direct relation to talent acquisition. This trend has become increasingly popular in recent years and we expect it to continue as our industry faces epic labor shortages countrywide. In short, does talent acquisition have a direct impact on quality patient care? We think it does.

Hiring Challenges

Healthcare is an ever-changing industry and providers are experiencing hiring challenges finding experienced clinical staff. Factors include the increasing complexity of patient care, a severe shortage of clinical talent and the enactment of the Affordable Healthcare Act, which was introduced to increase the quality and affordability of healthcare while providing affordable insurance and reduce healthcare costs. Additionally, with the Baby Boomer generation, we’re seeing early retirement trends, which leaves a deficit in experienced healthcare professionals, as well as an increased number of people from that generation seeking healthcare.

Our teams support healthcare systems across the country with talent acquisition needs. We see and understand how our efforts drastically impact patient care. As our teams support the attraction and acquisition of specialized nursing talent, we reduce stress on the nursing staff, which allows for better patient care.

The American Nursing Association recently published the results of a wide-reaching survey to nurses and the findings are startling. Fatigue, short-staffed units, inadequate staffing plans/levels and a myriad of other areas are tied to the common thread that labor shortages are impacting patient care. If my father, mother, grandparents or children were in need of critical care, I’d expect quality care delivered by a professional who is well rested, engaged and working reasonable shift hours. Wouldn’t you?

Human Resorces and Business Outcomes

In addition to the impact on patient care, our teams interact with healthcare administrators and executives daily as they passionately navigate financial and budget constraints related to acquiring new talent. So how can we show the link from talent acquisition to operational business outcomes? How do we make a business case powerful enough to empower new and innovative decision making within the talent acquisition landscape? Our opinion is straightforward; underfunding the efforts to attract and hire quality talent will negatively impact business outcomes. A recent study by HRO Today and Clinical Magnet explored the link between human resources and business outcomes in hospitals and health systems, and how different levels of investment in the hiring process can lead to varying outcomes.

Study participants included those involved in staff hiring decisions in hospitals, those identified through the QuestionPro Panel Network and HRO Today magazine subscribers. The responses show a strong correlation to a variety of business outcomes, including staff wellness, engagement, profitability and how the staff impacts talent acquisition:

  • Hospitals and health systems have underfunded human resources, which results in lost revenue opportunities.
  • Healthcare C-suite leadership have asked human resources teams to accomplish nearly impossible tasks in workforce recruitment and retention given the current investments in infrastructure, technology and HR staff levels. This is true in both for-profit and not-for-profit institutions.
  • There is significant opportunity for higher occupancy. Hospital HR staffing professionals contend the lack of staff to cover demand is a major contributor for not achieving a higher census.
  • Lack of staffing also adversely impacts patient care, and puts added stress on staff, which results in increased turnover.
  • Additionally, wellness programs that have a high ROI often can’t be implemented due to staff shortage limitations.
  • The major factor for the lack of staffing is the inability to find the right people, cited by nearly one-half of study participants.
    In a world always in need of top talent, hospitals are not positioning themselves in a way to be competitive.

Demand Support

This labor shortage is real and so is the impact on our patient care. So what can we do? The following are some ways that innovative talent acquisition and management strategies can be utilized to support the demand faced by so many:

  • Place more of a focus on brand marketing and experiential recruiting to attract and engage passive talent. Talent acquisition is becoming more of a marketing function than an HR function, so the ability to share your story, culture and opportunities are critical.
  • Leverage innovative, mobile friendly technology, which fosters more timely engagement of clinical staff. Maximize technology that enables SMS (texting) to alleviate the time required to apply, review and engage on a new opportunity.
  • Market competitive pay, supported by business outcomes analysis and business planning. Our business outcomes show that we could support shorter shifts, support higher pay and support additional wellness programs that create a new level of enticement with applicants.

Quality healthcare is top priority. It is our intent to support organizations with the critical thinking around business outcomes and the impact tied back to talent acquisition. Consider how your talent acquisition and engagement strategy separates itself from your competitor. Could your processes receive a “boost” when compared to the national market? In the end, we are striving for positive outcomes created by closing the gap on the continuous labor shortage and enabling our partners to find the budget for technology, people and process that will provide our healthcare systems with an increase in clinical staff.

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About Author

Travis Furlow

President, Clinical Magnet

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