You don’t need us to tell you that it’s a tough time to be a healthcare provider. Over the last two years, the World Health Organization has declared two different viruses as global health emergencies, and as a result, healthcare workers are facing higher-than-usual workloads, staffing shortages, and understandably, burnout.
All this considered, it’s no surprise to learn that retaining and hiring healthcare professionals is a priority for medical practices today. The numbers back this up: In a recent poll of approximately 1,200 healthcare workers in the US, 84% report being burned out, and almost half (49%) report that they are likely to exit the workforce in the next few years. And it gets worse: Of those likely to quit, 71% cite staffing shortages as their primary reason.
If you’re a practice administrator or hiring manager who’s determined to get your team’s headcount up during a time of turmoil and turnover, here’s what you need to know: Upgrading your employee value proposition (EVP) is a must if your current recruitment efforts aren’t getting people through the door.
Ahead, you’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of how to strengthen your EVP, including why this is such an important aspect of a recruitment strategy, what to focus on to attract high-quality talent, and how to promote compelling aspects of your employee experience to potential candidates.
First: What is an employee value proposition?
Employee value proposition refers to the set of attributes that potential and current employees perceive as the value they gain through employment with your organization. Many different aspects make up an EVP, including compensation, work-life balance, location, job stability, and respect toward employees.
Why is a strong EVP essential for recruitment efforts?
According to Gartner, 65% of candidates report they have actually discontinued a hiring process due to an unattractive EVP. Even still, the majority of healthcare providers aren’t making an effort to improve their employee experience.
In 2021, Software Advice polled 278 workers as a part of the Healthcare Employee Retention Survey[**]. We asked what actions employers have taken in order to help alleviate the burden caused by the pandemic. Shockingly, most employers are not making any changes to make their employees’ jobs easier:
However, when employees are offered new or upgraded benefits, they respond positively. For example, 64% of healthcare employees whose salaries have increased felt that the change helps to alleviate the burden caused by the pandemic—more on that below.
How to strengthen your EVP
1. Offer competitive compensation
The 2022 Software Advice Compensation & Payroll Survey[***] found that 68% of organizations have increased wages or salaries above organizational expectations as a result of inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic. Failing to follow suit will result in healthcare candidates looking for opportunities with employers who have made this change, and we have proof. Seventy-eight percent of healthcare professionals who work in a nursing home cite inadequate pay as one of the top reasons employees give for leaving the facility in the past 12 months[*].
Refreshing your compensation strategy is a multi-part process. Start by researching what healthcare workers in the position you’re hiring for are being paid today, and adjust the compensation you plan to offer based on the results. Platforms such as Glassdoor and PayScale often have this information available.
Once you have a data-backed salary range in mind, include it in the description of the position you’re going to post to a job board, as it builds trust with candidates right off the bat.
Keep in mind that increasing the salary you offer to new hires without auditing the compensation of your current employees in a similar position can cause friction. It’s best to work this step into your process in order to ensure that you’re not just attracting quality talent, you’re retaining it as well.
2. Embrace remote working options
59% of healthcare employees who are offered remote working options via telemedicine or other virtual collaboration tools report that it makes their job easier, and 56% say that increased paid time off also helps[**].
Employees want flexible work arrangements, and with today’s wide range of healthcare technology, there’s no better time to embrace it. In fact, 42% of employees we surveyed for our Nursing Home Staffing Survey[*] already use telemedicine or remote patient monitoring software to run their facility.
At the very least, consider updating your paid time off policy to give employees a few extra days a year to rest and reset. Alternatively, you can gift employees mental health days once a quarter—but make sure that you create a system for staggered usage of the days so that there are enough nurses and employees around to keep your practice running.
3. Build a healthy, positive work culture
In our Nursing Home Staffing Survey[*], 54% of healthcare professionals report that within the last 12 months, a lack of support from management is one of the most common reasons employees give for leaving the facility. To put this into context, it is the third most common reason workers cite for voluntarily quitting after having too high of a workload (88%) and inadequate pay (78%).
There’s no way around it: If you want to attract and keep healthcare professionals at your practice, you need to have a healthy, supportive work culture. And while this is easier said than done, we do have a few suggestions about how you can accomplish this:
- Define your values: Having a shared set of values to guide the behavior of your team members is an excellent starting point when it comes to building a positive culture. Concepts such as kindness, good communication, honesty, reliability, and trust are all values that translate well in the context of healthcare, both in terms of how you treat patients and how your staff treats one another. If you don’t have a set of core values, get together with senior leaders to come up with them. Then, communicate those values to your team, and make sure that organizational leaders encourage their direct reports to keep those values top of mind when making decisions.
- Ask your workers how things are going: It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of your healthcare organization. In order to identify where things need to change (whether it be operationally or otherwise), ask your employees for feedback on the processes, people, and tools they interact with on a regular basis. You can do this with the help of an employee pulse survey tool.
- Start an employee recognition program: Show appreciation for your team by acknowledging work anniversaries and accomplishments with rewards and praise. Investing in an employee recognition platform makes this easy, but you can also “DIY” this initiative by assigning a point person to manage the task of selecting employees to recognize and authorizing a small budget for rewards.
How to promote your EVP (and attract candidates in the process)
Next, pick up some tips for promoting your EVP to potential candidates. In our Nursing Home Staffing Survey[*], we asked employees what healthcare recruitment strategies they use.
The most common answer (42%) was public job posting sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and ZipRecruiter. Using third-party staffing agencies (25%) was the second most popular answer, and internal referrals (17%) was the third.
These results tell us that when it comes to healthcare recruiting, the strategies that organizations use are all over the place. This makes sense, because medical practices should be doing what works for them when it comes to finding talent.
But it also confirms our point, which is this: The most important thing you can do as a healthcare provider when it comes to attracting talent is create an organizational culture where people want to work. If you do that, you’ll be able to bring people through the door whether you use a job posting site, a third-party staffing agency, or an employee referral program.
On that note, here are three tips for promoting your EVP:
- Create a careers page on your website: When candidates set out to learn more about your practice, they’ll go straight to your website. Having a careers page offers you the chance to clearly communicate your EVP and employer brand. We recommend featuring short quotes or videos from your current employees that communicate why they enjoy working with your organization. Here’s an example of an employee testimonial video from a clinic in Austin, Texas:
- Monitor employer review sites: What is your reputation like on websites such as Glassdoor, HealthGrades, and RateMDs? Assign a point person within your company to regularly check in on your standing on these types of sites, and to respond to reviews where necessary. This will display that your organization actively listens to feedback from former employees and patients and that you are taking steps to improve your work environment.
- Give a glimpse into your employee experience online: Sharing content that recognizes your employees on social channels will attract healthcare candidates by conveying the sense of community and mutual support that’s present in your practice. For example, you can highlight members of your staff throughout National Nurses Week, and make a point to introduce new members of the team in dedicated social posts.
If you’re not yet convinced that getting your EVP in order should be a priority, here’s one last statistic that might change your mind:
It’s very apparent that having a strong team allows you to deliver the highest quality of care to your patients. But without a flushed-out EVP, you won’t just have trouble bringing new hires on board—you’ll also struggle to retain them. And that’s why of all the recruitment strategies in healthcare, this is the one to get right.
Looking for more helpful content? Check out these related resources:
- Widespread burnout among healthcare workers prompts change at hospitals, Covington-Maple Valley Reporter
- Definition of Employee Value Proposition, Gartner
- Employee Value Proposition (EVP) Postpandemic Should Focus on the Why, Gartner
* Software Advice’s 2022 Nursing Home Staffing Survey was conducted in May 2022 among 204 U.S. respondents. We used screening questions to narrow the respondents down to those currently working in elderly care facilities, including nursing homes, geriatric practices, palliative care and long-term care facilities. Respondents were limited to those occupying positions for at least 6 months that would give them access to knowledge required to answer our survey questions, including nursing staff, physicians, practice owners, and office administrators.
** Software Advice’s 2021 Healthcare Employee Retention Survey was conducted in October 2021 among 987 medical employees (excluding practice owners, founders, and executives) who have been working at a healthcare facility with no more than 20 licensed providers for at least six months. From there, we further narrowed the respondents down to 278 who have considered leaving their current jobs since the onset of the pandemic, but haven’t yet.
*** The Software Advice Compensation & Payroll Survey was conducted in July 2022. We collected 279 responses from U.S. workers in HR, accounting, or executive leadership who have thorough knowledge about their employer’s compensation strategy and payroll systems. The goal of this survey was to learn what changes that companies have made to employee compensation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation.
Note: The applications mentioned in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.