Healthcare staffing is facing new challenges and opportunities as the 2021 year continues. For many of us in the healthcare staffing industry though, remote onboarding has been part of the process for years. Throughout the changes our industry faces it is exceptionally important to keep the first part of your recruitment (and retention) workflows optimized.
For clinicians and healthcare staffing, onboarding is different from orientation, onboarding is more the procedural necessities and ensuring compliance, proper credentials, certifications, scheduling, etc. It is a massive barrier between your candidate and their placement. Your speed to market is driven by your onboarding and how efficient it is. Below, we will dive into what you can do with your current applicant tracking system to improve your onboarding process and achieve success without adding costs.
Typical recruitment difficulties are not disappearing.
Unlike traditional industries, contingent clinical staffing is less about personality fit, more about credentialing and compliance management. Bear in mind that clinicians of all calibers are inundated with over-communication from recruiters, head hunters, employers and the like. Especially now, having a deliberate and honed communication strategy improves many key performance indicators.
Don't generally over communicate, but do communicate deliberately. Your candidates are not going to be interested in opening that email just to see "hey how are you doing?" when they are running shift to shift and managing the madness.
I know, this really seems counter-intuitive but fortunately we have unique insight into this industry and the communication habits of its recipients.
Your applicant tracking system should accommodate automated outreach for key items. Licenses and certifications should be the most recent, and a reminder should go to a freshly proposed candidate that they're being reviewed. Regularly scheduled reminders should go out to candidates and clinicians with expiring certifications or credentials. Your team should review your candidate pool and prune inactive or inaccurately credentialed entries annually. This ensures a few things.
Email outreach deliverability improves, because if you're spamming people who don't care, you're bringing down your own deliverability rates.
The actual human engagement improves, since we all know we ignore those cookie-cutter emails if they are sent to us literally daily.
Your position of authority and rapport improves, since anytime someone recalls hearing from you, it's been a valid and necessary communication.
Your human resources team has a little footwork to do.
These could be your recruiters, they could be a pre-established HR team, it could be you. Whoever it is, as soon as onboarding is set to begin get a formalized package of information to your placement as quickly as possible.
Potentially this can integrate with your current HRIS system and streamline the entire process.
Your applicant tracking system may require a specific setting for the clinician to log in to their mobile app and log time, attendance, submit expenses, and more. By encouraging your HR team and system to provide time for your clinicians to learn the technology and process is critical for success.
Performance check ins need to happen, don't huff at the thought.
When's the last time your team checked on a clinician after their first shift and notated in your ATS software system their responses? If the answer isn't on hand, this point is for you. In new situations people feel vulnerable, they're always going to feel more engaged and welcome if the employer who placed them in this location remembers as much, and encourages them to communicate openly. Your retention will increase too.
Your workforce management software, or ATS standalone, can be programmed to send automated outreach, even personalizing it with clinician names or tiny "fluffy" details (think marketing!) to feel more deliberate. It is definitely time to get the day-one check in scheduled with your HR team.
It's probably more helpful to think of your ATS as a human resources software.
You'd be right to do so. The primary purpose of an applicant tracking system is to fine-tune this portion of human resources. While it's considerably more important to catch the fish before planning how to prepare it, thinking of the process and software tool as a whole will bring your team more success over time.
Your ATS or workforce management software can also help with engagement that would otherwise be difficult to obtain. Yes, of course we want to know which clinician said what about such and such hospital. However, removing test-taker bias by allowing anonymity will also provide you with a massive amount of data for business intelligence reporting.
For example, you are constantly receiving low placement rates for a specific unit or facility. Your clinicians are leaving and never coming back, won't answer a call, completely fell off the map. They do not want to be blacklisted from their industry, that's a critical piece of their lives. However, if you are welcoming candid feedback you may learn of a toxic reason and thereby implement a solution that improves your placement, retention, and rapport.
Your human resources software tools, including your ATS and VMS, should be cloud based and accessible.
Gone are the days of effective paper onboarding. A proper ATS can accommodate the tedium of outdated practices but with the flair of convenience in the form of a clinical mobile app and ever expanding security features. Your team can work remotely, you can place caregivers remotely, you can pay them remotely, you can maintain security remotely. Once you've been set up with the proper tools, it just takes a little organizational effort.
Ask us how BlueSky's Vendor Management Software, Applicant Tracking Software, and credentialing management tools can help your team put the best foot forward.
Closing thoughts and other tidbits.
It's always easier to document as you go, so document your onboarding process and build a standard operating procedures (SOP) manual. You won't regret it.
Build a library of resources to share with your clinicians and candidates on your Applicant Tracking System bulletin board. Things like a list of contract-friendly travel housing options, great places to eat healthy, local "anomalies" and other items come to your team naturally over time but tend to get lost in the ether. These little things are indicators of a positive company culture, a considerate environment and employer, and are just convenient for the candidate who is the real variable in the situation!
Are you having a hard time getting candidates to provide their paperwork quickly? Incentivize them to complete it "the first day" with rewards or gamification! This cuts back on email and phone spam, saves your FTE team the time, and improves speed to market.