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10 Ways to Recruit Healthcare Workers for Better Patient Satisfaction

Sarah Archambault
September 28, 2023
6 min read

Today’s record healthcare staffing shortages are resulting in burnt-out workers and decreased patient satisfaction. In this article, we’ll review ten strategies for recruiting high-quality healthcare talent that can help you provide improved patient care, achieve better patient outcomes, and reduce employee turnover.

The great healthcare worker exodus during the pandemic (and beyond) has left many hospitals and other medical facilities grossly understaffed and, in some cases, unable to provide adequate patient care. The pandemic pushed an already strained industry to its brink; nearly 1 in 5 clinical and non-clinical workers left their jobs and another 19% considered leaving the industry altogether, according to an industry study by Morning Consult. Further, 12% of healthcare workers were laid off and 12% thought about leaving their existing role for another healthcare job.

Today, while healthcare organizations continue to scramble to attract new talent and keep the workers they have, patient caseloads are showing no signs of slowing down. The result? Patients face longer wait times for appointments and may get inconsistent treatment due to understaffing and high turnover, all of which lead to decreased satisfaction in their level of care.

Hiring qualified employees, from surgeons to support staff, can help employers lower turnover rates, improve patient outcomes, and reduce risk to patient and employee safety.

Let’s take a look at ten ways you can recruit (and retain) ideal healthcare candidates and ultimately increase patient satisfaction:

1. Entice top candidates with sign-on bonuses

The American Medical Group Association (AMGA) found 78% of respondents representing nearly 8,000 clinics and 30,000 physicians use sign-on bonuses to attract new talent. While they’re especially popular for nursing positions, many healthcare organizations also offer bonuses for other roles.

If you’re not already promoting sign-on bonuses, adding them to your overall compensation packages may make your offers more competitive. Sign-on bonus amounts can range widely, from a few hundred to thousands of dollars, depending on the role, experience level, and specialization.

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2. Provide more remote work options

The same AMGA survey showed that 94% of respondents use virtual and remote work options to bring in new staff. A 2022 McKinsey American Opportunity survey also found that 45% of healthcare employees are doing some work remotely. Plus, a 2021 US Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found that nearly 20% of healthcare careers (and social assistance jobs) allow employees the flexibility to be fully or or partially remote.

Offering telehealth appointments can benefit both providers and patients, creating space for fast consultations in cases where a trip to a medical office isn’t necessary. Other healthcare roles like patient care coordinators, insurance verification specialists, and patient advocates can also utilize remote work options to increase efficiency and worker satisfaction.

3. Support work-life balance for employees

In addition to providing employees with remote work options, today’s healthcare workers are looking for other ways to better balance their job and their personal life—especially Gen Z employees. The AMGA survey revealed that nearly 72% of healthcare organizations are winning over new workers by offering more flexible scheduling options and job-sharing.

Job-sharing allows two employees to split the duties and hours of a full-time role and usually determine their own schedule. Other ways to add flexibility include allowing staff to self-schedule or bundle hours into fewer shifts to give them more free time during the week. Offering overtime hours and pay also continues to be an incentive for some workers eager to maximize their paycheck.

4. Promote upskilling and reskilling opportunities

Many roles in healthcare require workers to hold active certifications and professional licenses. Covering the cost for employees to maintain or earn additional certifications can be an attractive selling point for new hires, as well as a retention incentive for existing team members.

Consider offering reimbursement for:

  • Continued education and license fees
  • Specialized clinical certifications and skill workshops
  • Training for managerial or administrative positions

This recruitment strategy is often a win-win for you and your team—your staff stays compliant with licensing requirements or even adds to their qualifications, and you get better care for your patients plus lower risk for your organization.

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5. Use paid internships to boost your workforce

Educational institutions often partner with healthcare organizations to provide on-the-job training that lowers barriers to education and reduces healthcare worker shortages. These programs typically help students get the credentials they need to join the healthcare industry through paid training or internships at healthcare facilities.

After completing their training, students may transition into employee roles at the sponsoring facility. Employers who want to participate can check with state or local educational institutions to learn about opportunities that may be available.

6. Pay employee referral bonuses

More than 88% of healthcare organizations offer referral bonuses, according to the AMGA industry survey. Sometimes called recruitment bonuses, referral bonuses can go to existing staff who bring in new, qualified talent.

While all healthcare organizations structure their referral bonus programs differently, waiting to send a payout until the new hire works a minimum number of hours is common practice. In some cases, employers don’t even require the referral to come from an employee, allowing the general public to submit new hire recommendations and receive a reward.

7. Elevate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices

Creating a work environment that welcomes all employees is critical to attracting top talent—especially Gen Z and millennial workers. In fact, 76% of candidates consider how diverse an employer’s workforce is when evaluating a job offer, according to a recent Glassdoor study. Studies also show that a more diverse healthcare workforce leads to better patient care.

Incorporating modern DEI practices into your organization’s work environment may include:

8. Provide more wellness benefits and perks

Today’s healthcare workers want more than traditional benefits from their employers. While health insurance, life insurance, retirement, and PTO are important, they are just the bare minimum when it comes to perks employees find desirable.

To help attract new staff and keep existing employees happy, consider what extras you can offer. Employee reward and recognition programs can be a great way to help keep morale and motivation up. You can create programs in-house or work with a third-party employee recognition platform.

Healthcare workers also want more wellness and mental health support. Think about providing perks like:

  • Fitness memberships
  • Access to employee resource groups (ERGs) or peer support groups
  • Stress-management support
  • Mental health check-ins
  • Subscriptions to services that promote mental health (such as meditation sites or virtual therapy)

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9. Revise job responsibilities to avoid burnout

According to an AMGA study, 66% of employers are providing employees the chance to change their job requirements or responsibilities.

Before hiring to fill new positions, consider asking existing staff where they need the most support and what duties can be shifted among the team to increase job satisfaction. Also, consider creating clear career pathways to help current employees stay motivated and let job candidates know about the professional opportunities and potential of joining your team.

10. Make applying easy

Changing jobs can be a stressful process, but a smooth healthcare hiring process from application to offer can help keep more candidates in your funnel. To attract the best talent, consider placing job ads on healthcare-specific job boards like HealthcareJobsite, Health eCareers, and MedJobCafe.

A positive candidate experience can influence the decision to accept an offer, and gives a great first impression of your company. Keep candidates engaged with mobile applications, application progress transparency, user-friendly communication tools, and a stress-free background check process.

Checkr helps you recruit qualified healthcare talent

Keeping healthcare organizations staffed with top talent is critical to creating a positive patient experience and better treatment outcomes. Healthcare workers today are looking for more competitive offers, job flexibility, and perks that go beyond their salary. Putting these ten recruiting practices into place can help your organization not only attract and win over the best candidates, but keep them happily employed for years to come.

Employers that partner with Checkr during the recruiting process benefit from faster background check turnaround times, smooth compliance workflows, and 100+ ATS integration options. With our industry-specific healthcare sanctions checks, professional license verification solutions, and much more, you can be confident that new hires have been thoroughly vetted and are qualified to provide the type of care that keeps your patients safe and satisfied.

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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.

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About the author

Sarah writes about small business topics and corporate communications. She has written on a wide range of topics, including background checks, hiring trends, company culture, and employee training and development. Her work includes educational articles, press releases, newsletters, and employee onboarding collateral. 

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