2009 will soon be coming to a close and recruiters have had a very different year. Turnover has decreased, numbers of open positions are down and many new graduates are being turned away. This has given human resource professionals a few extra minutes to think about other things. Many have spent time getting their house in order because we know what is going to happen in the next few months. Whether it is three months or nine months—it is going to happen. The craziness will return and we had all better be ready.
This past year has continued to exhibit the fallout from the economic impact on the health care industry. The loss of jobs, layoffs, rise in uncompensated care, decreased margins and capital projects on hold have been steady around the country. According to AHA, 70% of hospitals have reported a decline in overall financial health and 90% have had to make cutbacks to address these issues. Health care job growth in 2009 is forecast to be only 24% of that documented for 2008, yet we know the statistics of what we have ahead of us in the continued need for health care professionals. In the next six years we will need over 20% increases in many of the hard-to-fill positions including nursing, pharmacy, PTs, OTs and home health aides, yet getting those positions filled will be challenges for the entire country as Boomers retire.
When we think of some of these statistics and wonder how in the world we are going to survive, it brings to mind the Items we should have been thinking of and working on during the past 12-18 months. We have seen many clients take the extra time to revamp their websites, especially the career pages. Making sure they are full of rich content, easy to navigate and supporting the overall corporate brand have all become necessary goals.
Spending the time making sure sites are "socially" enabled has certainly been a huge change in the past year, even for health care. Even though health care is normally quite conservative, we see clients using Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn with great success. They have accepted the concept of casting a wider net; yet also have accepted the need to make sure statistics are available for everything they do. ROI is the mantra and strategies can change in an instant when one has the data to drive those decisions.
Another area that clients have spent time on this past year is the onboarding process. Many have chosen to have most of the steps housed on the intranet and new hires are able to complete 90% of pre-hire work before they ever attend the first day of orientation. This has provided more meaningful orientations that are now based on current data, people and policies rather than hours of tactical assignments. These onboarding programs extend throughout the first year and have had a definite positive effect on first year turnover.
The hiring process is another area where human resource professionals have focused their attention during the past year. The realization that a quick, thorough process is necessary has been another focal point as the "race does go to the swift". From new ATS systems, better background check protocols to candidate/recruiter/manager relationships—they have all been put under a microscope for a reality check. Some organizations have centralized while others have decentralized. But the important thing is that the processes have been studied, enhancements made and people are ready for the new wave of hiring in 2010.
Whatever you might have accomplished at your organization, I applaud you. It means you took the time to consider where you have been, where you were in 2009 and where you need to be in 2010. We have busy times ahead of us and the way we will source and hire the best candidates is to make sure that we have carved out all the pieces of the puzzle and that they now fit together perfectly.