Leveraging Your Nursing + HealthCare Talent During Uncertain Times

Justin Hess
March 30, 2020

The healthcare field is no stranger to a workforce crisis -- almost 20% of new nurses leave their job within a single year, and on average it costs almost $60,000 to replace them when they leave. Couple this with the fact that 1 million RNs plan to retire by 2033 and over 68% of hospital staff say they plan to leave their job within the next five years, it’s no surprise that most hospital systems are already looking at how to reimagine their healthcare talent. What happens, then, when a national crisis hits on top of this already turbulent workforce dynamic? We find ourselves in situations like what New York City is experiencing now, where nurses working at insurance companies are being redirected to medical care and an executive order enlists all nurses to help with the crisis.

You’re probably thinking, “I know all of this! I need to make sense of what this means for my current staff, recruiting efforts, and my entire workforce in the short- and long-term!” As you embark on this difficult journey, we wanted to share some best practices and available solutions to help you navigate this chaotic environment:

Leverage Your Existing Healthcare Talent

It’s no secret that hospitals are going to have to find creative and effective ways to better leverage their existing nursing talent for rapidly responding to the current crisis and our ongoing workforce challenges. One option is to look toward better leveraging your existing nursing staff. For example, if your Emergency Department (ED) is inundated with patients and you have a severe need for nurses, can a Labor and Delivery (L&D) nurse step in to ease the workload? 

Your next question might be: “How will I know if some of my L&D nurses could float to my ED?” If your nurses all have the same level of education and training, it’s then critical to identify the cognitive, emotional, and social demands unique to each speciality. Think of it as the DNA that makes each specialty unique and what makes one nurse thrive and love their work in one department but burnout and dread work in another. Having an idea of which nurses could float to other departments and adjust quickly and painlessly sounds great, right?

You can do this by assessing the unique cognitive, emotional, and social traits of your entire nursing force, powered by pymetrics. It involves your nurses playing just 20 minutes of fun and engaging mobile-compatible exercises which are based on behavioral research to help you determine what makes each of your specialties or departments unique and identify where overlap exists. 

This heat-map demonstrates where individuals in one unit strongly overlap with those in another. For example, employees working in Labor & Delivery are well suited to work in the ICU, so if you are short on staff there, you might consider optimizing your current workforce and hiring internally.

This high-level perspective on what departments may be able to float nurses with similar cognitive, emotional, and social profiles enables you to efficiently and thoughtfully leverage your existing talent. You can then action on this data by using pymetrics’ matching engine, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify the nurses that are most likely to perform well in those different departments.

Remove Barriers to Bringing in Qualified Candidates

Okay, you’ve improved your current situation by better leveraging your existing healthcare talent, but you’re likely thinking, “I still need more nurses!” (and let’s be real -- this need will probably never go away completely). Now what?

In a world where nurses are in exceptionally high demand and can have their pick of where they want to work, you and your hospital need to be strategic about preventing nurses from self-selecting out of your early recruitment process. Additionally, if you’re handling a high volume of recruiting, especially during a crisis, you need to be able to make the most out of your recruiters’ and hiring managers’ time. Removing barriers at this point of your hiring process will allow your hospital to be flexible and respond quickly to staffing needs.

Digital interviewing is a solution that can help streamline your hiring process for all parties involved. By implementing digital interviewing, you invite candidates to conduct their interviews quickly, efficiently, and most importantly on their own time and on their own terms. From a candidate perspective, it would work like this: They apply to your hospital and receive an email prompt to record responses to interview questions. They’re taken to a landing page with your branding and given an introductory video -- this could be about your hospital or the job itself. Then, they’re presented with question prompts to which they record responses and submit. Easy and quick!

From a recruiter or hiring manager perspective, the benefits are two-fold. First, the interview questions are standard and given to every single candidate, asked in the exact same manner. This helps protect you from a legal perspective. Second, your staff no longer have to bear the burden of trying to schedule interviews -- they can review and respond to clients on their own time. This process allows you to be much more agile in your hiring and significantly reduce the time it takes to hire candidates as you eliminate the hassle of trying to coordinate schedules. One final, and very important, benefit is that candidates do not have to come onsite for an initial interview, which can help protect both them and your vulnerable populations through social distancing.

In order to help our partners in healthcare during this chaotic and challenging time, pymetrics is offering both our Internal Mobility and Digital Interviewing solutions completely free through June 30, 2020. If you’re interested, contact us to talk through the details.