Recruitment and Hiring: A Full Strategy

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By Tracy Maxwell, MA, and Eric Baughman, BS

The challenging processes of hiring and recruiting have never made for a simple recipe. Now, just to add some flavor, throw in a global pandemic that has created new hiring challenges, and sometimes even chaos. In order to find and hire quality employees, it is now more important than ever to have a clear and concise full hiring strategy in place.

I believe when drilling down the process of hiring new candidates, focus needs to be placed in several intertwined areas. This focus is needed to formulate the “big picture,” or full hiring strategy, of moving a candidate from a solid job applicant to a company employee, with the goal in mind of establishing a mutually positive employer-employee relationship geared for the long term.

My full hiring strategy from start to finish includes three crucial elements, consisting of recruitment, onboarding, and retention.

RECRUITMENT

Before we begin our search for the perfect candidate, have we clearly defined the job functions we’re looking to fill in order to establish the specific skill set we’re looking for? Are we aware and able to convey through recruiting messages the rewarding elements of our company’s philosophy, environment, and benefits that are essential in attracting the initial interest in our company?

In the quick-moving and high-demand world of rehab — the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 20.5% employment growth for physical therapists through 2030, with an estimate exceeding 49,000 new jobs1 — we have to hit it hard and be an attractive company to work for.

We need to determine whether we’re getting the message out. What and where is our advertising message for recruitment? Are we actively engaged in looking for candidates using our company career listing website? Are we using job listing platforms and professional networking sites like Indeed or LinkedIn? Are we proactively considering the retention piece, such as looking at reasons for tenure patterns in either the short or the long term? Are we engaging with our educational partners and offering student internships? This is a great way to trial a potential employee! Are we identifying employees who are at risk and triggering a leg up in recruiting a new candidate to fill those shoes?

So now we’ve got our ideal candidate in mind, and we’ve got the message that we’re looking for. We have a great deal to offer. What’s next?

Our management, HR, and recruiters must exhibit active interest in those candidates applying. Are we responding to applicants within 24 hours and demonstrating our company’s interest, organization, and support in all our initial interactions with the candidate?

Interviews: We strive to schedule interviews as soon as possible while remaining flexible to the applicants’ schedules, as they are likely working elsewhere. During the interview process, we’re looking to develop an interpersonal rapport, as well as establish a relationship with the candidate. This also allows us to investigate tenure patterns and potential solutions in landing this person for the long term by establishing why this person has become our candidate while leaving another company. Studies have shown that 23.8% of all new hires leave within one year of hire, while 53.3% of employees that separate from their employers have done so after only two years of employment.2 This is important to understand and address in matters of retention. We also make sure that the candidate has clear instruction as to who to contact if questions should arise after the interview.

LAND AN EMPLOYEE AFTER THE INTERVIEW:

Make a timely offer: If they are interviewing with you, they most likely are interviewing with others. Allow time to process and discuss an offer and make sure that there is a clear company contact to answer questions should they arise.

Respond to the accepted offer: Communicate and map the onboarding process as well as its execution. Is the onboarding process handled in person or online? What are the expected timelines and benchmarks in the onboarding process? Does this potential new employee have management, HR, IT, and payroll personnel contacts?

Making sure the new hire understands the onboarding process in front of them is the first step in welcoming them into the company!

ONBOARDING

Communication and continued support through the new hire process are the keys to assuring that the new candidate will finish processing into an employee without disillusionment or false expectations. Management, HR, and payroll must provide continual support in order to assure the organized completion of paperwork, licensure, and medical requirements in a timely and efficient manner.

The new hire must be extensively trained in specific job duties, with focus on description and expectation of their position, along with all of the tools (EMR, technology platforms, etc.) needed to be proficient in accomplishing tasks. The new hire must also be oriented to the facility and company with clear definitions of the company’s mission, values, expectations, policies, and procedures. Benefits and effective timelines for participation in programs like PTO and the company’s 401(k) should be discussed. Physical orientation to the workplace and introductions to departments as well as coworkers and key personnel must be completed. Participation in a mentorship program also must be reviewed to make the new hire feel welcomed and comfortable in asking for direction during this orientation period.

RETENTION

Avoiding turnover and focusing on retention goes a long way. It helps with saving on the man-hours and effort that must be expended in replacing employees and their skill sets when they decide to move on. Company retention also has a positive effect of boosting morale.

How do we address retention? Professionally, employees can benefit from the mentorships and guidance of other professionals. These, along with the ongoing company offerings for professional growth, opportunities in continued education, and specialization programming within their field of study, can be areas of opportunity and value to an employee.

Management can assist to a large degree with retention by scheduling ongoing meetings to facilitate team development and employee satisfaction as it relates to the clearly defined job expectations.

Employee recognition and reward programs, retention bonuses, and scheduled management meetings focused on facilitating a team development and employee satisfaction atmosphere can contribute toward keeping employees in-house.

Continual research into the competitiveness of the company benefits programs, such as retention bonus programs, recognition of a work/family balance with schedule flexibility, insurance benefits, paid time off, and investment portfolios is integral to ensuring employee satisfaction and retention over the long-term. Don’t be stagnant. Make sure your benefits evolve to meet the needs of your employees.

The full hiring strategy is far from a passive process. It requires active participation, continual development, and monitoring throughout the processes of recruitment, onboarding, and retaining new employees. As the workforce becomes increasingly transient, companies must continue to look to modernize and remain competitive in anticipation of an ever-evolving workplace environment.

References:

1Daily Pay. “Health Care Turnover Rates [2021 Update].” https://www.dailypay.com/resource-center/blog/employee-turnover-rates-in-the-healthcare-industry/. Published June 14, 2021.

2U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Employment Projections.” https://www.bls.gov/emp/.


Tracy Maxwell, President, Apex Rehab Solutions, Inc.

Eric Baughman, Regional Director of Operations, Apex Rehab Solutions, Inc.

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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