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- Automated workflows will improve time to fill
- Mobile-optimized tools will take center stage
- Candidate-focused communications will combat ghosting
- Pay transparency will be the norm, not the exception
- Retention tools will merge with the hiring process
- More flexible work options will widen candidate pools
Employee turnover and job vacancy rates for healthcare organizations remain at record highs as we head into 2024. Learn how healthcare employers are embracing technology, automation, flexible work, and a focus on retention to boost their hiring success and stay competitive.
The pandemic and ensuing burnout drove record-setting shortages in healthcare staffing whose impact continues to reverberate for employers. Between 2019 and 2022, the US nursing workforce alone lost over 100,000 individuals, according to the American Hospital Association. In the past five years, the average hospital experienced workforce turnover of 105%.
Although healthcare employment began to recover in 2022, turnover and vacancy rates remain above pre-pandemic levels, and healthcare employers are facing major hiring challenges that can negatively affect their ability to serve patients. Some 89% of healthcare managers report problems finding skilled employees; and healthcare staffing companies rate their recruiting difficulty at 3.7 out of 5, according to Staffing Industry Analysts.
In this article, we’ll explore six key healthcare hiring trends for 2024 and beyond, including automation, transparency, clear communication, and flexible work options.
Leading healthcare organizations are embracing these trends to help them attract and retain the right candidates; doing the same can help you fill more roles at a faster pace so you can deliver better patient outcomes.
1. Automated workflows will improve time to fill
Compared with other industries, healthcare has a notoriously long time to fill. On average, it takes 56 days to fill an open healthcare position, with 37 days between application and hire date. One-third of healthcare workers in Bullhorn’s latest GRID Recruitment Trends Report cite time-consuming onboarding processes as a problem; 70% admit they have given up on a potential job because the hiring process took too long.
When candidates drop out of your hiring flow, critical positions may go unfilled, putting your ability to provide patient care at risk. Some 84% of employers in a 2022 survey said staffing shortages prevent them from caring for more patients.
To speed up hiring, a growing number of healthcare organizations are automating workflows related to background screenings, interview scheduling, and candidate notifications. Automation can expedite the hiring process, deliver a better candidate experience, and help healthcare employers hire faster without compromising patient safety.
2. Mobile-optimized tools will take center stage
Candidate experience was named a top priority for healthcare staffing companies for the first time in Bullhorn’s most recent Recruitment Trends Report. Recruiting technology that’s mobile-first—not just mobile-friendly—can enhance your candidate experience, increase hiring teams’ efficiency, and help you hire faster.
When busy candidates can complete applications and background checks, upload required documents, or get answers to their questions quickly on their phones, they’re more likely to continue with the application process instead of dropping off.
Mobile-first hiring platforms also benefit hiring managers and other employees involved in the hiring process. For example, healthcare workers who are often away from a desk during their typical workday can use a mobile app to respond to messages from candidates or hiring managers, review documents, and even conduct interviews during brief windows of time in their busy day.
3. Candidate-focused communications will combat ghosting
Healthcare employers report that candidate drop-off and ghosting (meaning the sudden stop of all communication) are on the rise. Candidates may drop off before completing applications, fail to keep interview appointments, or even accept job offers and then neglect to show up. Because ghosting often occurs when a candidate gets another job offer, it’s important to engage candidates consistently and act quickly to keep them moving through the pipeline.
Keeping candidates engaged via short email and text messages (or mobile app notifications) can prevent them from dropping out of your hiring flow. Automating these messages ensures that no matter how busy you are, you can nudge candidates to the next stage in the application process, respond rapidly to their questions, or remind them to upload a missing document.
Pair these notifications with a mobile-optimized online portal that lets candidates easily see the status of their application or background check, and you can make sure you stay on your ideal candidates’ radar from application to onboarding.
4. Pay transparency will be the norm, not the exception
Demand for pay transparency is on the rise; more than half (53%) of workers say they wouldn’t apply for a job that doesn’t list pay information. In addition, posting salary information in job listings is required by law in some states and cities.
Healthcare employers seeking qualified candidates are taking the concept of salary transparency to a new level. Many healthcare employers go beyond base salary information and include bonuses, overtime pay information, and other types of compensation in their job postings.
In 2022, healthcare employers boosted salary budgets by an average of 4%, the highest in 20 years, and they indicated plans to do the same in 2023. In addition, some 20% of healthcare positions and more than two-thirds of hospital jobs offer some type of sign-on bonus to new employees. Signing bonuses are an especially effective tactic for promoting in-person jobs, which are often less appealing to candidates than remote work.
5. Retention tools will merge with the hiring process
The average cost of turnover for one RN is $52,350, Advisory Board reports; each 1% decrease in RN turnover can save a hospital an average of $380,600 per year. Turnover not only costs healthcare organizations money, but also costs them employees: Short staffing is the number-one reason nurses quit in 2022.
In today’s labor market, healthcare workers have plenty of options. Healthcare workers are more optimistic about their ability to find work than employees in any other industry, Becker’s Hospital Review reports. No wonder nearly half (47%) of healthcare workers expect to leave their current jobs within two to three years.
To lower turnover rates, deliver more consistent patient care, and reduce labor costs, try baking retention strategies into your hiring process. Consider these tactics:
- First and foremost, identify qualified candidates. Working with a background check provider to verify candidates’ experience, education, and licensing status can ensure candidates are eligible to work and well qualified.
- Pay sign-on bonuses over a period of time. You can also offer retention bonuses to discourage turnover.
- Promote your investment in building a positive work culture. Stress is a top reason employees leave their jobs. Many healthcare jobs are inherently stressful, but policies that support work-life balance; physical and mental health; and diversion, equity, and inclusion can enhance job satisfaction and reduce stress.
- Be upfront about your work expectations and organizational culture. Openness about what candidates can expect from a new job—and what will be expected of them—will help to weed out candidates who are a poor fit for the role.
- Inform candidates of upskilling and continuing education opportunities. More than half (53%) of healthcare workers say they are interested in upskilling. Of those, 55% say they are likely to quit their jobs for another employer that offers training and education. Offering education and training not only boosts retention, but also reduces recruitment costs by enabling your organization to promote from within.
6. More flexible work options will widen candidate pools
Offering remote or hybrid options can help your organization compete for scarce talent. Half of all healthcare professionals surveyed want hybrid (50%) or fully remote (48%) work.
Since the pandemic, remote work has become possible for a wide range of healthcare roles, from back-office staff to administrators and clinicians. Telehealth, which is now a standard for patient care, is projected to grow by 24% annually through 2030, and two in three clinicians express a preference for virtual-only or hybrid care delivery.
Making telehealth services and work-from-home options available can boost healthcare worker retention rates, increase job satisfaction, and help prevent burnout. It can also expand the pool of available job candidates—for example, non-clinical roles that don’t require state licensing can now be done by employees in other states.
For positions that don’t lend themselves to remote work, offering flexible scheduling, such as allowing nurses to choose their own shifts, can help your organization stand out.
Choose the right background check provider to streamline healthcare hiring
To attract and retain the best candidates, forward-thinking healthcare organizations are embracing technology, transparency, and flexibility. Choosing the right background check partner can give your organization a competitive edge.
Checkr’s advanced technology delivers fast, accurate background checks—including healthcare sanctions and licensing checks—so you can fill more roles rapidly. Our compliance workflows help you simplify your compliance tasks and streamline hiring—all while protecting patients. Candidates enjoy a positive experience with Checkr’s mobile-first candidate dashboard, real-time status updates, and rapid turnaround, reducing churn and enhancing engagement.
With Checkr as your background screening partner, you can hire safely and swiftly, keeping your healthcare organization fully staffed and ready to deliver quality patient care.
The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.
About the author
Karen Axelton writes about business topics and best practices. She has written hundreds of articles on business subjects, including background screening, hiring and employment trends, human resource management, and the use of technology in the workplace. Her work includes educational articles, e-books, white papers, and case studies.