The story of Indiana Jones includes many dangerous and menacing adventures to locate the “Ark of the Covenant.” I believe this is how nursing home administrators feel in trying to consistently recruit staff for their facilities. But just like Indiana Jones, if you have the right plan and a little luck you will have a higher probability to find those future leaders for your team. 

The scarcity of talent is becoming more apparent with record unemployment rates and with the number of “baby-boomers” leaving the workforce. This is creating a talent shortage and making it more difficult to recruit the best team for your nursing home facilities. Like the “Temple of Doom,” this challenge is especially true in skilled nursing, where the regulations and requirements to be a licensed nursing home administrator or director of nursing doesn’t allow a direct recruitment strategy from different industries for new talent. 

You can’t just become a licensed NHA or DON without the proper education, licensure, and experience. This high barrier to entry for long-term care creates recruitment challenges many other industries don’t face. In this current competitive environment for talent, you need a multi-faceted plan that includes both a long-term and short-term hiring strategy. What is your plan to find the “Holy Grail” of candidates for your facility?

The unilateral approach to recruiting by simply posting ads is no longer an effective strategy. Here are a few ideas that will help you get the boulder rolling in finding those rare jewel candidates:

  • Referral program – create an incentive for your staff to share your facility name for candidate referrals. Sometimes your best resource for top talent is your current team. Who better to tell your story about the impact you are having on residents and staff members lives? You can provide incentive programs with gift cards or employee recognition by celebrating with your team. My recommendation would be to make it fun for all involved.
  • Have a work program for part-time team members. The pool of candidates to consider would be some of the baby-boomers that are leaving the workforce. This is a great plan to utilize knowledge of professionals that have work experience in the industry. 
  • Social media – this needs to be a long-term strategy. By building a brand on social media, it creates an effective way to share your nursing facility story and culture. Ideas to share would be: weekly or monthly updates on motivating stories about residents or employees, sharing stories that reflect your facility’s culture, and how you are impacting lives in a positive way. This consistent branding message will bring future quality prospects to your facility. 
  • Create an internal leadership program to develop talent for future openings within the team. This is a long-term strategy where you can incentivize employees at all levels to help them achieve their career goals. The opportunity to promote from within is very motivating for team members as they look for career advancement. 
  • Partner with local colleges and universities to help build your identity for students that have an interest in the healthcare field. Job fairs and co-ops with academic institutions can provide another path for a new crop of candidates to consider your facility for future employment.   
  • Build a long-term relationship with a recruitment firm that can help you find talent from outside the organization. This will provide a fresh perspective and challenge the status quo. This is where a good recruitment firm can provide a competitive advantage in accessing top performing passively looking candidates.    

If you take the time to create the right talent acquisition strategy, I am confident you will see more quality applicants knocking on your door.   

Stay the course like Indiana Jones and your recruitment efforts won’t be as menacing!

Neil Hefta is the vice president at Govig.