Did you know we’re living in the fourth industrial revolution? Charles Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, posits that AI, robotics, biotech and more are driving us toward “a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work and relate to one another”.

Without innovation — introducing new methods and technology to long-standing practices — you stand still. In a time of accelerating change, that means getting left behind.

Now, it’s fair to say that the long-term care sector isn’t known for leading technological change. But we need to start to, and shrug off any misconceptions of a slow-paced industry. Indeed, LTC is beginning to manage a social wave. Three million Baby Boomers, 70% of which are expected to long-term services at some point, are expected to enter retirement every year for the next two decades.

The obvious barrier to facilities meeting demand is nurse staffing. Every week, we test innovative sourcing and screening strategies to help overcome this challenge.

Here are my five stand-out, innovative home care nursing recruitment strategies: proven to work.

Marketing automation

Observe how innovative industry leaders conduct their marketing. Uber was able to reduce post-request cancellation through a simple psychological concept: operational transparency. Namely, by keeping consumers busy with clear data on their ride’s price and location. We’d rather know a taxi will arrive in 50 minutes than sit for 30 unsure of if, or when, it’s coming.

Facilities can alleviate uncertainty by integrating marketing automation. This includes sending automated text and email messages to applicants when they apply, when an interview is booked, sending reminders, or rejecting applications. Additionally, setting rules to turn off campaigns once a position is filled can help agencies manage recruitment more efficiently. As a takeaway, review your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and candidate communication process. If it’s all manual, you’re being operationally opaque, and you may need to upgrade.

User-generated content

Ninety percent of the U.S. population uses social media. The numbers mean you should too, but also there’s a cacophony of noise on the channels. (Just scroll on Facebook for five minutes to see what I mean). 

How can time-pressed facilities mobilize the power of social media? Through user-generated content. Create a scheme for your staff to create content-sharing images and videos of the working environment, team collaboration and company culture. Nurses trust nurses. They believe the message more if it comes from someone dressed like them who obviously filmed it without duress. This approach humanizes the employer and can be expanded through paid ads.

Technology-empowered work

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of telemedicine and remote work options in the healthcare sector. Creating and then highlighting your flexibility in job ads can attract nurses seeking a better work/life balance. This is crucial, with one-third of nurses considering leaving the profession. LTC facilities can offer opportunities for nurses to work from home one day a week or more, making it a selling point in their recruitment efforts. With technology-enabled work, staff can balance their professional and personal lives more effectively.

Tech-empowered referral and reputation management

Everyone has a referral scheme, but is yours tech-empowered? Are you actively and routinely staff to invite their friends to apply? Consider creating a referral strategy that incorporates marketing automation, tracking data of referrals sent and achieved, and making the process digitally streamlined for staff. There are a host of platforms available to help. 

Equally, managing reputation and reviews on platforms like Glassdoor is essential: the platform receives over 55 million views per month. Utilize their Review Intelligence feature to scan posts for recurring issues, respond to everything, implement changes at work, and track your score over time. 

Virtual interviewing

Early-stage candidates are notorious for ghosting in LTC, particularly CNAs, who have many options. An initial virtual interview — pre-recorded or live — eliminates friction. Applicants don’t have to travel, can reschedule easily, and require less preparation. No-shows are less impactful to you. 

Additionally, virtual interviews can include features such as resume display on screen, prompted interview questions, and recording capabilities, simplifying the hiring process and providing valuable insights for decision-making. Again, many platforms are available. Microsoft Teams is free.

Innovation isn’t an option

“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty — a fad.” So advised the president of the Michigan Savings Bank to Henry Ford’s lawyer in 1903.

The bank went bust and Ford drove off into the sunset, taking the country with him.  For LTC providers, Ford-like innovation is essential to addressing the challenges faced by pressures in the resident population and workforce.  As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution takes shape, the sector has a bright future. More people need care, and it’s our duty to find innovative ways to find the talent to provide it. 

Adam Chambers is the president of Nurse Recruitment Experts (NRX). Since 2019, NRX has sourced and hired 10,000s of RNs, LPNs and CNAs for health systems across the United States and Canada.  Adam has sat on the Social Media Committee of the National Association of Healthcare Recruiters, the Healthcare Council of the American Staffing Association and currently is a member of ASA’s Direct Hire Council. 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

Have a column idea? See our submission guidelines here.