By Tom Decker, HHS Chief Administration Officer
We often don’t fully understand the real life situations of the people we’re recruiting to work as housekeepers, cooks, floor techs, and other support services positions.
But if you’re unable to step into their shoes and see things from their perspective, you can’t effectively recruit them and build a strong team.
This is a foundational challenge that hospitals deal with when hiring for these roles. On top of that issue lie several obstacles that must be overcome.
Four Main Obstacles to Recruiting Hospital Support Services Staff
It’s important to identify specific challenges healthcare facilities face when recruiting for these positions. These include:
• Emotional and physical demands of the job
• Competitive Job Market
• Location and transportation obstacles
• High turnover rates
Emotional and Physical Demands
Support service roles require physically demanding tasks in an emotionally intense environment.
Competitive Job Market
People searching for these positions have other options to choose from, and there are various reasons they may choose one employer over another.
Location and Transportation Obstacles
Location and transportation can also hinder the hiring process. If your labor pool doesn’t live close to your facility and there’s a lack of affordable public transportation, you’ll find it hard to compete with employment opportunities closer to their home.
High turnover leads to a perpetual “now hiring” status and can create negative morale amongst team members, which causes burnout and a tense work environment. Prospective employees can sense the type of culture you have, and a frustrated and burned out team can quickly turn a candidate away.
Strategies to Successfully Recruit Support Services Staff
It’s nearly impossible to completely eliminate these challenges. You can, however, reduce their impact by adopting the following strategies:
• Developing leaders who build an appealing work culture
• Teaching team members the “why” behind the job
• Implementing a streamlined onboarding process
• Viewing recruiting as a mindset
Leadership and Culture
What is it like to work at your hospital as a housekeeper? As a cook? Is there camaraderie amongst the team members? Do they enjoy coming to work?
The answer to those questions will reveal what kind of culture you have. A welcoming and empowering workplace is a strong recruiting tool, and it starts with your leaders.
A passionate leader creates a positive culture that people want to belong to. This helps your recruiting effort in two ways:
• Improves employee retention. Removing the stress and burnout caused by high rates of turnover makes you a more appealing employer to prospective candidates. It also empowers you to be more selective with who you hire to be a part of your team since you’re not as desperate to fill positions.
• Encourages team members to recruit. People who enjoy their jobs are great recruiters for the companies they work for and are eager to invite their friends to come work with them.
When it comes to assessing culture, hospital support services staff are often overlooked. By developing leaders who understand and value their team members, you can set yourself apart as an employer.
A Training Program that Teaches the Why
A successful training program is attractive to job candidates. It communicates to them that you’ll support them and provide them with the tools they need to succeed in their role.
It’s also a great opportunity to teach your team members the “why” behind the job.
Hospital support services staff positively and meaningfully impact the lives of the patients they serve. Your team members should understand from day one that caring for the patient and their loved ones is their ultimate priority.
Most people want a job where they can make a difference while feeling supported. An effective training program helps you communicate both of those things to prospective candidates.
A Streamlined Onboarding Process
Healthcare facilities often lose candidates because of an inefficient onboarding process. Speed and efficiency make it easier for candidates to choose you over another employer.
Rather than having multiple rounds of interviews, conduct one interview with everyone needed to make the hiring decision.
Include team members and multiple managers in the interview to gain the various perspectives needed in order to make the best decision. If the candidate is a good fit, be ready to immediately make an offer.
For things like drug screenings, make it as convenient as possible. Find the facility that’s closest to them rather than making them go out of their way or have to find means of transportation. Make sure to be aware of any pre-screening requirements and protocols so you can expedite the process.
At first glance these things may seem like insignificant details, but making the process more convenient for your candidate can go a long way.
Recruiting as a Mindset
Recruiting is a mindset that should be hardwired into every leader. When out in public, be on the lookout for potential candidates and ready to discuss a position with them.
Don’t limit yourself to people who have hospital experience. Instead, open your search to include people who may currently be employed in another industry, but have drive and a passion to serve others.
It’s difficult to find and retain quality support services staff. Too often, hospitals make it harder on themselves by neglecting the development of their leaders and overlooking inefficiencies in their recruiting process.
Start by stepping into the shoes of who you’re hiring and consider things from their perspective. What really matters to them? What are their needs?
Be the kind of employer that seeks to understand what your team members and job candidates care most about. Then you can develop a culture and establish systems that make them feel valued and supported.