In the South we have an old saying—“There’s a Lid for Every Pot”—which refers to the belief that there is, romantically speaking, someone for everyone. Well this is the best way I can answer Becky Hall, Vice President of Human Resources for Baylor Health Care System, when she asked how, when you are recruiting for a wide variety of facilities, to be just as successful for the seemingly least desirable of all the facilities within a system as you are for what looks to be the most desirable.
Becky oversees a system with 19 hospitals, primary care centers, long-term care facilities, day surgery centers and rehabilitation centers. Recruiters for Baylor cover a wide swath of Texas and they are headquartered in Dallas, one of the most competitive areas in the country. Like all big systems, each facility has strong areas as well as weak areas.
The first thing I do when faced with a recruitment challenge that encompasses a whole facility is to look at the personality of the facility. Who is successful at that location and why? Why do people stay and what unique fit can we offer employees to make that facility the right one for them individually? There are basically two things I figure out initially: what personality fits in this location and what unique things can I offer each individual that will make this a good choice for them.
When a facility is in a bad location you cannot convince people it is in a good location. You shouldn’t even try. Never lie to a potential employee—don’t ever stretch the truth or they’ll walk out the door as quickly as they walked in. But the bad location may not look as bad if you offer them something else—like a manager who inspires, or a team worth driving for. The building may be old, but if it is spotless and everyone is proud, there are lots of people who will be willing to sign up and be happy with their choice.
One of the first things I tell recruiters is to take that dusty booklet that lists the company’s benefits off the shelf and learn everything the company has to offer. When interviewing a potential employee, attempt to offer every benefit up front that you think they may be interested in. While legally you cannot ask many questions, there are lots of ways you can sell what an individual facility has to offer to each potential hire. It is important to remember that hard dollars make up just part of what people are looking for in compensation.
Of course, sometimes it is difficult to find the silver lining for a facility. Maybe the Chief Nursing Officer is less than pleasant or the Department Manager has been lodged in her position for so long she has forgotten the world has moved on and dictating is not acceptable. Maybe the clientele is not appealing. I’ve seen busy Emergency Departments with clients out the door, not looking so much for medical care as for a free meal.
It is a rare facility that has nothing that separates it from the competition, but changes that can have the most impact, are the ones that improve the practice environment. Managers are the key. If you cannot convince them to build a team, provide one-on-one attention and allow the use of benefits such as career pathing. Then you need to document what it is costing the facility in turnover, hiring and training by not having a good practice environment.
Most managers want to lead well, but they need the tools. In the long run it is easier to provide those tools than it is to keep hiring people who end up walking out the back door. Think of it as a mission to change people’s lives for the better.
If you have a question related to healthcare recruiting you’d like me to answer on a future blog, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.