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Hiring Strategies Successful Healthcare Employers Implement

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Hiring Strategies Successful Healthcare Employers Implement
Eoghan Scully
5 minute read
Talent Acquisition

Recruiting in today’s competitive talent marketplace requires innovative methods, but care should be taken to avoid reinventing the wheel. By peeking over the shoulder of HR teams, we will find many, ready-made hiring strategies, or even some inspiration.

Dropping these plug-and-play solutions into your organisation could save you significant time versus developing such a solution from scratch. Therefore, we researched and found 10 hiring strategies that successful healthcare employers implement.

1. Recruiting via social media to diversify the application pool

Social media recruiting works to great effect in the NHS: the hiring team at Blood Cancer UK advertised jobs on social media, especially Linked In and managed to increase and diversify its talent pool. They attracted:

·         23% more candidates from outside of the charity sector.

·         7% more 16–24-year-olds

·         16% of 45–54-year-olds

·         10% increase in men applying for roles

2. Employer branding videos that drive engagement

Blood Cancer UK knew from their own internal data that job adverts with an employer branding video are viewed 5 times more than a standard advert on Linked-In. As a result of this, the HR and comms team developed a video showcasing the role and culture of the fundraising team and wider organization. You can see the video here.

3. Digital Locum GP Banks In Areas of the UK

To retain and attract new medics and GPs back into practice, the NHS has established Digital Locum Banks which GPs can join, and which are designed to allow GPs to have greater autonomy and flexibility and control over their workload.  Last year’s, NHS Winter Access Fund came with an expectation that all trusts and regions in the UK should have established such a locum GP Bank by the end of December 2021. The BMA has also created a Locum GP Handbook to build clarity and support the attraction and recruitment of GPS into the digital locum banks.

4. Target Career Changers with Apprenticeship Open Days

In our recent State of Hiring in the Healthcare Industry Report, we highlighted this case study from the NHS Programme, ‘Maximising the Effectiveness of Recruiting New People to the NHS’ of how the NHS is attracting post-pandemic career changers over into the healthcare sector.

In this example, University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Liverpool developed apprenticeship open days to create awareness in the local area of Healthcare Support Worker Vacancies (HCSW), as a plausible career-switch option.

5. Values based-recruitment

One of the barriers to attracting workers to the NHS is that people often feel that a lack of a nursing or doctor qualification bars them from working in any healthcare role at all. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Many people have personal experience in care provision or have the appropriate transferable skills from another sector, (staying calm under pressure, compassion, caring), which would make them excellent HCSWs. By focussing on Values-based recruitment NHS employers successfully hire workers from other sectors who might not be a typical fit.

Case Study: Leads Teaching Hospital NHS Trust

This Trust uses the HEE values-based recruitment framework and toolkit to recruit apprentice clinical support workers, based on values. On the Assessment-Day candidates take part in situations such as caring for a patient complaining of pain. The candidate’s response is assessed in line with the Leeds Way Values - patient-centred, accountable, collaborative, empowered and fair, to see if they are suitable for the role.

6. Career Confidence Programmes

North Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Trust needed to source workers to address a surge in vacancies for HCSWs from a local area which included deprivation and mixed educational attainment levels. They developed a ‘Career Confidence Programme’ to ‘widen participation and routes to entry’ to create clear pathways into the NHS from the local community. It enabled people to consider HCSW roles via a redesigned apprenticeship route.

Download our newly published State of Hiring in the Healthcare Industry Report for 2023. Packed full of insights obtained from the hiring practices of over 125 healthcare companies in the UK.

7. Centralised Recruitment to Accelerate Hiring

Many healthcare organizations advertise for multiple HCSW roles on a separate basis. As a result, candidates can be unsure of which roles they are most suited to and subsequently apply for several roles. This can reduce the quality of each application and the same applicant may end up being interviewed several times, putting an unnecessary load on the hiring process. This inefficient hiring process can be streamlined by centralizing recruitment.

The University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust developed such a centralized strategy which involved allowing multiple HCSW vacancies to be recruited via a single advert. The recruitment team and not clinical hiring managers are given responsibility for shortlisting staff for an assessment centre (conducted by clinical staff). This has reduced the clinical time required to recruit HCSWs without compromising quality.

8. ‘The Once a Nurse Always a Nurse’ NHS outreach campaign to attract nurses and midwives back into the NHS

 ‘The Once a Nurse Always a Nurse’ outreach campaign is trying to open the door for willing former nurses and midwives to re-enter but who don’t know if they can or how to go about it.

The NHS has developed a toolkit of resources under this ‘once a Nurse, always a nurse’ campaign designed to help individuals and organizations recruit more nurses and midwives back into the profession. The toolkit includes:

·         posters and leaflets,

·         example social media posts

·         downloadable videos for presentations, social media, and websites

·         imagery that can be used for social media.

We are seeing evidence of the effectiveness of this campaign in our internal data which shows a 7% increase in applications for nursing and midwifery roles versus last year on national jobs boards.


9. Flexible Working Policies Tailored to Your Workforce

For some time now, flexible working policies have been used in the NHS to varying degrees to aid recruitment and retention. But these have often been generic policies and not specifically tailored to the workforce.  Camden and Islington Trust used a survey to find out staff’s individual flexible working preferences, particularly to establish the appetite for remote and hybrid working. They used this data to update and more effectively tailor their policy to their workforce, making their flexible working policy more relevant to the current marketplace.

10. Staff Referrals Bonus

Employee referral schemes have been used in the private sector for some time now. We are also seeing examples of such tactics in the NHS: the Leicester Partnership NHS Trust use a ‘Refer a Friend Scheme where employees receive £250 if they refer someone to the trust who is successfully appointed. The refer-a-friend policy can be viewed here.

Many of these hiring strategies may transplant straight into your organisation after a little tweaking. Alternately, they may just be used as inspiration to enhance an existing policy. Download our newly published State of Hiring in the Healthcare Industry Report for 2023. Packed full of insights obtained from the hiring practices of over 125 healthcare companies in the UK.


About Occupop - an ATS for Healthcare Companies

Occupop is a beautifully simple recruitment software. At Occupop, the automation and digitisation of the recruitment process for healthcare companies has been our key area offocus for the past 6 years. We have helped healthcare companies like the Beacon Hospital, HFH healthcare, GPDQ, Carechoice and more across the UK and Ireland, turn manual, laborious volume hiring processes into efficient, candidate friendly digital experiences.

Try Occupop, the recruitment software for healthcare companies today with a free 14-day trial. We’ll have you up and hiring in hours, not days.

Summary Points

Hiring Strategies Successful Healthcare Employers Implement

  • Recruiting via social media to diversify the application pool
  • Using Employer Branding Videos
  • Digital Locum GP Banks In Areas of the UK
  • Target Career Changers with Apprenticeship Open Days
  • Values based-recruitment
  • Career Confidence Programme's
  • Centralized Recruitment to Accelerate Hiring
  • Specialist campaigns to attract specialist talent
  • Flexible Working Policies Tailored to Your Workforce
  • Staff Referrals Bonus
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