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Challenges with Healthcare Hiring & Retention?

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Employer Branding Can Help

Healthcare recruitment process and solutions

Why are Hiring and Retention a Problem?

The Pandemic

During the pandemic, scores died, millions lost their jobs, parents were overextended and exhausted, and many people felt isolated. Add to that, political polarization and work became less important.

The pandemic also fundamentally changed what people want from a job —which is more work-life balance, flexibility, and a sense of well-being and purpose. And, of course– better compensation.

Since 2020, one in five

healthcare workers has quit their jobs.

In Elsevier Health's 2022, Clinician of the Future, key predictions from clinicians include

  • 47% of healthcare workers plan to leave their positions by 2025

  • 74% predict there will be a shortage of nurses in 10 years

  • 68% predict a shortage of doctors in 10 years

Quiet Quitting

Then there's the trend of "quiet-quitting," which reflects employees contributing no more effort than absolutely necessary in performing their jobs. In 2021, BambooHR surveyed over 1,000 U.S.-based HR professionals and businesses and found that at least 50% of respondents are disengaging from their jobs, the lowest in almost a decade. The Harvard Business Review says, "the forces underlying the quitting trend are here to stay.

The Problem is only going to get worse. Given the aging population's growing complex healthcare needs, healthcare workers must be well-trained for challenging settings, more complicated patients, higher standards, and new technologies. Add to that the rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the increase of infectious diseases, the pandemic issues and Baby Boomer workers leaving the field, and it's obvious why there's a significant problem.,

The Solution is Employer Branding

Today's healthcare professionals have no shortage of job options. To stand out from the competition, healthcare organizations are focusing on developing strong Employer Branding. Employer Branding helps attract the best talent, provides a lower cost per hire, and reduces the time-to-hire. In a candidate-driven market, it's the candidates that have the power. Companies must invest in Employer Branding to stay competitive.

High salaries and unique perks may have once been the keys to attracting top talent. However, a recent survey of over 5,000 respondents from Glassdoor shows that:

A company's brand (reflecting its mission, purpose, story,

values, and culture) matters most to job seekers.

What is Employer Branding?

Employer Branding is a human-focused approach using the discipline of branding to attract and retain top talent, which becomes a sustainable competitive advantage.

Employer Branding also directly impacts Employee Branding, which focuses on stimulating current employees to embrace and embody the spirit of the company's brand, its values, and its messaging. It also engages them in delivering on the "Brand Promise" –what you say and what your customers expect. This results in higher morale, greater collaboration, lower turnover, and improved retention.

Employer Branding has become an essential tool for recruitment.

A strong Employer Brand can

and increase the number of

qualified applicants by another 50%.

You may be asking yourself, are we investing in the development of our Employer Brand and sharing the essence of our brand as much as we should?

Healthcare professionals struggle to keep up with the demands of running a medical practice and finding qualified staff, so they turn to companies like Brands that Deliver for help.

Here are some thought starters for developing an Employer Brand.

The Employer Branding Plan and a Process

BTD Healthcare Employer Branding Program

Creating an Employer Brand requires an honest evaluation of your organization, the brand itself, management, present employees, and processes. This allows you to build a strategy based on insight from employees, potential employees, customers and partners.

Before we start, it's critical to understand the power and impact your brand has on employees and recruitment.

75 % of job seekers

consider an Employer's Brand

before even applying for a job.

A Brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that

taken together, account for a candidate's decision to choose your brand and company.

Your brand combines the brand experience that lives in the hearts and minds of your candidates, employees, customers, and stakeholders. It includes the company's authentic application of its purpose, mission, values, culture, attributes and associations; the name, logo, style, symbols, graphics, look, feel, colors, sounds, and all the senses. It's also a result of the quality of your products, customer service and the total brand experience.

Branding is the discipline of defining the brand, ensuring the quality of your products, creating a competitive position, and paying off your "Brand Promise."

Your branding is the magnet and

marketing push of the brand and the brand message.

Create an Employer Branding Plan

Build a Candidate-Employee-centric strategy:

  • Get management on board and engaged

  • Pick a team

  • Develop metrics

  • Build a strategy based on insight from employees, potential employees, customers and partners.

  • Define your goals, objectives, metrics and measurement plan.

Assess Your Brand

Ensure your Employer Brand is clear, differentiated and authentic.

A brand is driven from the top down. It is critical that leadership fully understands their brand and how it impacts both employer and Employee Brand Alignment. Leadership must be engaged in communicating and managing critical messages and objectives to their teams.

Below are some steps to getting clarity on the present state of your Employer Branding. (If you find your company brand unclear, consider digging deeper with a Brand Audit.

  • Do an Employer Brand Audit and find out what is working and what is not.

  • Get objective, third-party input from multiple stakeholders.

  • Clarify your organization's Purpose, Why, Mission, Story, Values and Culture. Brand authenticity and trust are paramount.

  • Review your critical brand messages.

  • Review outside factors: your market and competition.

"Job seekers want to be paid fairly,

but they too want to work for a company whose values align with their own

and whose mission they can fully get behind."

~ Christian Sutherland-Wong, Glassdoor President and COO

Check-in with current employees.

The healthcare staffing industry is changing, and it's changing fast. Take their temperature. Are they aligned with management/the company on the brand, mission, purpose, culture, healthcare delivery, and the brand messages you send? If your existing employees don't believe in your employer's brand strategy, how can you expect prospective candidates to feel anything?

Employees will appreciate that you listened.

  • Recognize that your healthcare workforce comprises individuals who must be treated as whole people. The complex challenges of the pandemic only highlighted your workforce's complex needs for belonging and support.

  • Understand their views on compensation, well-being and personal growth.

  • What inspires them to stay with you?

  • Do they trust management?

  • Allow employees to be involved in hiring solutions and understand how doing so benefits them and the company.

  • Get your employees on board and excited. Reconnect with your mission; that's why your workforce chose to be in healthcare in the first place.

  • If employees express issues, solve problems before they get too big. Address concerns.

You don't want your employees' reviews on Glassdoor to look like this!

A poor Glassdoor rating of Company X

Nextdoor rating of a company with poor Employer Branding

Define the right target candidate.

Based on insights from employees, candidates and customers, identify the optimal target candidate. A well-defined candidate persona helps recruiters obtain the best results.

  • Understand current trends and changing job candidate sentiments.

  • Create segments to match the different targets interested in the job.

  • Look to other industries.

  • Develop or refine your Employee Value Proposition (EVP), the unique value employees can expect to receive from the organization (e.g., career development, training opportunities, etc.) and the value they are expected to contribute (e.g., commitment to growth).

  • Develop or review a "Candidate Journey Map." This identifies problem areas that need attention. I can develop this with you.

Canididate Journey in Employer Branding


Sweeten the job

To make up for a poor employer brand, companies may offer

a 60 % pay increase to attract the right candidates

You may not have to do that if you have a powerful Employer Brand. However, as balance and well-being are more important than ever, consider additional benefits and perks balanced with the needs of your customers and the company's financial health. Some benefits and perks you may want to highlight include:

  • New workframes that offer greater flexibility to employees: remote work options, variable work hours, four-day work weeks, job share, and/or reduced workloads.

  • Consider mentoring programs that help employees build meaningful relationships within the organization.

  • Demonstrate how you leverage technology to enable employees to work at the top of their field.

  • Offer to uptrain the employees, especially for hard-to-fill positions. Employees given internal opportunities are 3.5x more likely to be engaged than external hires.

For example, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn., partnered with Nashville State Community College to train current hospital employees to become medical assistants amid a shortage of those workers, which included cleaning workers and truck drivers. Workers in the program were offered tuition reimbursement and their salaries during their full-time training.

Vanderbilt's solution to problem in hiring Medical Assistants

Review your application process and technology.

It's vital to understand the applicant's point of view. Conduct a survey and secure feedback from employees, recent hires and candidates about their recruitment and hiring experience.

  • Revisit your structures, processes, and systems.

  • Highlight what makes your candidates' experience unique throughout the application and hiring process. Many organizations are hiring; what makes your company different?

  • Humanize the tech in the recruitment process. Build thoughtfulness into your workflows.

  • Treat candidates with dignity and respect. All letters, including rejection letters, must embody the brand's spirit and reflect your appreciation for their interest. Who knows, they may be your next golden candidate or boss!

Create strategic messages and use them consistently.

Be consistent and authentic in sharing your brand throughout all channels, messaging, recruitment, and marketing.

  • Customize content to engage with different audiences, various generations or segments.

  • Share your purpose, mission, values, culture, and the position you may take on important issues.

  • Offer a day-in-the-life story providing insight into the job's role and responsibilities. Use staff's personal stories (which also functions to engage employees on a deeper level).

  • Write job descriptions so that job seekers can envision themselves at the organization and understand what it takes to succeed in the position.

Reconsider channels and media outlets.

Review your present channels and media outlets. Millennials and Generation Zers will soon make up a majority of the workforce as older generations retire. All your channels should consistently reflect your culture, brand message, look and feel.

Review Sites

  • Monitor all review sites that impact your reputation regularly. Most candidates will research these in detail before deciding on their next employer.

  • Review sites include Glassdoor, Indeed, Career Bliss and Vault.

  • Respond to negative reviews as much as positive ones immediately.

  • Add all reasonable reviews to your Career Pages,

95 % of candidates identify reputation

as a critical factor when considering a new job.

Social Media

If you're not already using social media as part of your Employer's Branding, it's time to start. Here's why:

65% of healthcare professionals use social media

for professional reasons in addition to personal.

81% of candidates say that a strong social media presence

is an indication that a hospital offers cutting-edge technology,

which is important to younger candidates.

  • The best sites for Employer Branding are #1 Facebook, #2 LinkedIn, #3Instagram, #4YouTube, #5 Twitter, and #5 Snapchat.

  • Other US recruitment mediums that can reflect the Employer Brand include Jobvite, Quora, GitHub, Reddit, Medium, and Pinterest.

Boulder Community Health's Social Media on morale

Check out a brand-reflecting social post from Boulder Community Health:



  • Maximize the multi-sensory benefits of video.

  • See CVS's Recruitment People, Passion & Purpose Video that reflects their brand, passion, and culture, demonstrating how they share a single, clear purpose: helping people on their path to better health.

CVS's Recruitment People, Passion & Purpose Video


  • Make your Website Career Page come alive, reflecting the organization's culture.

  • Email is still important. Email is ranked the most used (51%) and most effective (39%) channel to reach candidates.

  • Networking hosting and attendance opportunities.

  • LinkedIn says companies can expand their talent pool by 10x by recruiting through their employees' networks.

  • Job Ads and Follower /Group Campaigns

  • Use text messaging whenever appropriate

  • Go beyond health care. Be open to bringing in talented people from outside who may live digitally in other non-healthcare channels and outlets.

Start building your Employer Branding today.

Don't underestimate the importance of your Employer Branding, as it impacts just about every facet of your business, from recruiting and retention to performance and profitability.

If you haven't yet devoted time and resources to building your Employer Brand, there's no better time than to begin now.

What will it cost you now and in the future

not to have a powerful Employer Brand?

Please share if you know anyone who needs this kind of support.


Brands That Deliver™ and Laurie Pillings Rinker, a brand-driven marketing strategist.

Laurie Pillings Rinker Branding expert brand strategy

Laurie is a consultant, author, speaker, podcaster, and Principal of Brands That Deliver™. Clients hire her to clarify, define, and transform their brands and revenue using her step-by-step process. After refining the brand and implementing the strategy, we develop successful brand-driven marketing programs while encouraging social good.

You can reach Laurie at


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