Nurse recruitment will remain one of the most significant challenges to healthcare organizations in 2023. The headlines call out the challenges of the nursing talent shortage—from retirement and burnout to compensation and competition. 

But amid the unpredictable economy and competitive talent landscape, there is some good news. We can look to the digital age for lessons and experiences to apply to your nurse recruitment strategy that will help address these challenges:

  1. Without a data-driven strategy, you'll fall behind your competition. Embrace new technologies and use data to improve your nursing recruitment strategy.

  2. Building authentic relationships requires an understanding of your audience—it's not about you, it's about what’s in it for them. To communicate this effectively, you’ll need to engage nursing talent with empathetic messages.

  3. Trust is the currency of the digital age, earned through experiencing your brand. This requires iteration and that you play the long game with nursing pipelines.

Let’s dive into each. 

1. Use data to improve your nursing recruitment strategy

Our digital age is built on and powered by data. Accurate, affordable data has leveled the playing field for recruitment, allowing small firms to compete with large enterprises for top talent. But this hasn’t exactly been the case for nurses, compared to other talent that’s more commonly found on social and professional platforms, like LinkedIn. So where are you supposed to find qualified candidates? 

Best-in-class recruiting platforms are finally offering some sweeping changes to nurse recruitment. By aggregating states’ licensed nurse information with public profiles, you now have access to nearly 10 million licensed nurses that you can search by geography and specialization. Now you have email contact information for over 70% of the nurse database. Plus, having home addresses within the state licensing information allows you to go beyond sending postcards and add personalization to your direct mail strategy. 

For 2023, data-driven recruitment will be the cornerstone of talent engagement. A modern recruiting platform will allow you to identify specialized nursing talent in the regions you need from a much larger talent pool than was previously possible. Plus, this data helps you move beyond job board advertising to directly engage nurse candidates with a multi-channel approach. 

2. Engage nursing talent with empathetic messaging 

The dynamics of nurse recruitment require you to monitor the sentiment of your nursing audience. This is best done by surveying your existing employees and reviewing external studies of nursing sentiment research. There are numerous sources available from research firms, nursing labor unions, staffing firms, and profession-focused associations.  

Once you understand the needs and desires of your audience, then you can tailor your messaging to resonate with them. Telling an authentic brand story is the best method of proving it. Personal relationships with your target talent audience are necessary to demonstrate that you’re a fit for their needs—not just that they’re a fit for yours. 

“In this day, with so many generations in the workforce, it’s important to understand what’s important to them, their ‘what’s in it for me?’” shares Theresa Mazzaro, RN, CHCR, RACT, President of the National Association of Health Care Recruitment. “Depending upon what stage they are in their life or career, benefits like loan forgiveness, tuition reimbursement, or internships could be very important—or perhaps their motivation is paid parental leave, flexible shifts, or hybrid work. Messaging needs to be authentic and with empathy.”

Exploratory conversations with nurse prospects are a best practice to explore motivations, career aspirations, and fit. For example, if you are in a skilled nursing facility or an assisted living facility, you may have the budget to afford a money-motivated candidate. On the other hand, you might be the perfect environment for a nurse who wants to serve patients’ long-term needs. 

You won’t discover the subtleties of a nurse's career motivation with automation, applications, or job postings, but with connection and conversation. Help them understand why they’ll thrive in your culture. And for any unresponsive candidates in your talent pool, continue to iteratively engage until the time is right. 

3. Play the long game with nursing talent pipelines 

In the face of immediate talent shortages, it doesn’t come easy to think long-term. A proven talent acquisition strategy has been to segment your target audience to create and nurture relationships with top candidates. In other words, identify the pool of nurses with the skills and qualifications you need and cultivate a relationship with them. 

Creating talent pipelines for nurse recruitment has several advantages. You can:

  • Target and connect with a qualified nursing pool, fast. No need to wait for talent to come to you through job postings, third parties, or advertising. Reach out directly to get a meaningful conversation started.

  • Proactively build a more extensive and diverse pool of talent. Source nursing candidates that meet the criteria you need most.

  • Save on recruitment costs. Reduce or reallocate spending on advertising, third-party firms, additional recruiter headcount, and technology investments.  

  • Educate through your brand. Share your brand story to build relationships even before your prospect is interested in changing roles. 

  • Improve talent forecasting and workforce planning. Talent pipelines help you more accurately predict how many people you need to identify and contact to ensure success. 

  • Set your recruiting organization up for future success. Top candidates may not always align perfectly with the open roles you have today. But building relationships keeps you top of mind for when the timing or opportunity is right, giving you an advantage in a continuously competitive landscape. 

The current environment demands more than a sign-on bonus and a significant salary to hire and retain nursing talent. Remember that in the digital age, you don't pick talent—talent picks you. This requires that you build meaningful connections, and that you offer a transparent view into your culture. 

To help your candidate understand how they’ll thrive in your organization, design talent engagement campaigns that illustrate your understanding of their challenges. Then, nurture a long-term relationship with your target audience to show them that you are part of their community—and ultimately, that they’ll succeed as a part of yours. 

Technology can give you a leg up by opening the door to the right nursing candidates and the data you need to grow your talent pool and begin building relationships. To get started, learn more about SeekOut for Healthcare, which includes a first-of-its kind nursing talent pool.

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