The struggle to attract qualified employees seems never-ending lately, and the impact on both the bottom line and your organization’s desired outcomes is significant.

The financial strain is evident, affecting your ability to pursue meaningful projects and impeding the consistent delivery of excellent care. Furthermore, it hinders your reputation, customer satisfaction and occupancy rates. 

But there’s hope! It’s time to revolutionize your recruitment strategies with some unlikely, but highly effective, recruitment ideas!

1. Engaging your team

To drive change around your recruitment strategy, first, involve your entire leadership team in understanding the impact of current practices on their budget and time. Use a worksheet to determine each leader’s personal recruitment time and recruitment costs so each person can feel the impact. Plan to do this at your next leadership meeting. 

Yes, your leaders know they are short-staffed, but too often, leaders take on a victim mentality rather than one of problem-solving. I’ve seen many times how leaders become more open-minded and more motivated to seek solutions when they find out how staffing is actually impacting them personally.

2. Tracking data

Before making any changes, take just a few minutes to gather and analyze data on your current recruitment processes. Measure the number of applicants received per month, by position and by shift. This data will serve as a baseline to identify areas of improvement and measure the success of your future strategies. 

It’s fabulous to get excited about diving right into making changes, but how will you know what’s working, or not working, if you have no baseline data? Don’t overthink this. Simply set a timer for 10 minutes and gather one data point that is important to what you want to improve. When you’ve made some improvement on it, choose a different data point to track. 

3. Casting a wider net

Good people know good people, so tap into the networks of your best team members. I once did focus groups with a number of staff members of our client, Rowntree Gardens. They were identified as “A-players” by the organization. It turns out 95% of them had been referred by a family member or friend!  

Spend just 10 minutes to encourage staff to refer individuals who would be a great fit for your organization, even if they’ve never worked in the field. You can jog people’s memories by asking specific questions about the best individuals they have worked with in the past, someone they went to school with, or suitable candidates from their social networks like Facebook or Instagram. 

Then make sure to keep them in the loop about where the person is in the applicant process. This has been shown to increase the number of employee referrals more than referral bonuses! (Obviously, you have to have an organization that they are proud to refer to their friends. If it isn’t, you need to work on your culture!)

4. Crafting a compelling careers page

Review your organization’s careers page on your website. Ensure it accurately reflects your culture and stands out from the competition. 

Here’s a red flag: If you can change out the name of your organization to a different one and it still fits, it is not unique enough! What’s different about your organization? 

One of our clients, Sequoia Senior Living, focuses on personal growth for both residents and team members. That’s unique! Another client, Piper Shores, has residents and staff that are very focused on the environment. That’s not something most organizations could share. You have a culture that is uniquely yours. Use it to recruit!

5. Streamlining the application process

Evaluate the ease and efficiency of your online application process. When I “secret shop” for clients and apply online for jobs, I sometimes want to cry. Too many organizations are making it too hard! 

Test your application yourself and gather feedback from applicants or new team members. Consider simplifying the process by asking only essential questions (name, phone number and email) or utilizing a “quick application” form. 

Recognize that the majority of people access information on their phones. Ensure that your career page is mobile-friendly, providing a seamless experience for potential applicants. Google offers a free test to check the mobile-friendliness of your web page.

By implementing these proven tactics, you can revolutionize your recruitment and strategy! With a committed and talented team at your side, you can overcome staffing challenges and achieve exceptional outcomes for your organization and residents.

Denise Boudreau is President of Drive, a consultancy firm that helps to create thriving organizational cultures, resulting in better recruitment, retention and morale. She is a former nursing home and assisted living administrator and a serial volunteer who serves on numerous state and national boards. 

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.

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