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Data-Driven Healthcare Recruiting

March 19, 2012
by Jennifer Prestigiacomo
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A competitive job market forces organizations to act on metrics in the process of hiring their staff

Predictive analytics are driving many healthcare organizations’ hiring decisions in today’s competitive market. It’s important for organizations to capture the right data to help optimize their recruitment strategies and eliminate the time and money holes spent on untargeted recruitment campaigns.

In today’s competitive hiring market, it’s especially important for healthcare organizations to optimize their recruitment strategies to help attract quality healthcare professionals. For instance, the Health Resources and Services Administration projects that by 2020, there will be a shortage of more than 1 million nurses in the U.S., and with labor-intensive efforts like the ICD-10 transition and meaningful use, the industry is in the midst of a talent shortage crisis.

In order to streamline current processes, human resources departments are now implementing human capital management solutions to capture the data needed to fuel predictive analyses and continuous process improvement for recruitment. According to a recent KLAS (Orem, Utah) report, among human capital management solutions, talent acquisition systems are one of the most widely implemented modules, and healthcare organizations are clearly focusing on these modules to address their immediate hiring needs.

Predictive Analytics and Hiring
Over the last five to 10 years, many healthcare organizations have often used backward-looking metrics to predict recruitment success and identify necessary improvements. “When you ask managers what’s important to them, four things always pop up—cost, quality, responsiveness, and efficiency,” says David Szary, founder of LEAN Human Capital, a Plymouth, Mich.-based healthcare recruiting consultancy. “Your recruiting solution has to be at a fair cost; you need to have quality candidates and quality service; you need it to be responsive to [organizational] needs and [positions] to be filled quickly; and [it needs to] be an efficient process, so it’s easy to engage.”

David Szary

In the process of hiring staff for her organization, Miranda Maynard, employment supervisor at EMH Healthcare, a three-hospital system based in Elyria, Ohio, uses many key metrics to analyze her organization’s recruitment efforts and continuous process improvement. These metrics include:

  • Percent of current positions open more than 60 days;
  • Percent of positions filled in less/more than 60 days;
  • Time-to-fill for positions filled in less/more than 60 days;
  • Vacancy rate for critical positions;
  • Turnover rate; and
  • Termination data (voluntary and involuntary) in less/more than 90 days.

Maynard uses predictive analytics for workforce planning activities like examining metrics to determine how many of a certain type of position was filled in the past, in order to predict what’s going happen in the next 30-, 60- or 90-day recruitment cycle. These metrics also give a good picture of what types of vacancies, turnovers, and retirements are in store for the future, she adds.

Miranda Maynard

Another predictive metric that Szary recommends that recruiters use to manage their requisition loads efficiently and to effectively isolate bottlenecks is what he calls the “seven-day stuck metric.” This metric highlights on a weekly basis all the requisitions that haven’t changed status within the applicant tracking system (ATS). “If nothing has happened with that requisition within seven days, it’s a predictive metric to say, ‘wow, why hasn’t anything changed?’” Szary says. “It might be because I sent five resumes and the manager hasn’t responded back to me, and I want to know that before I get any further down the road.”

Prioritizing Hiring
Many in the industry are now linking recruitment to their organization’s bottom line. One of Szary’s key recommendations is to not treat each vacant position equally, and instead determine the position’s cost of vacancy and prioritize which positions to fill first. Many elements define cost of vacancy like agency costs, recruiter time, and overtime costs. Szary recommends careful analysis of the costs associated with positions remaining vacant and filled by agency or overtime personnel, generally in allied health fields like pharmacy, physical therapy, respiratory, radiology, and nursing. He also advises recruiters to partner with managers to view positions through a lens of patient safety to assess the cost to the organization if the positions remain vacant. For instance, he says organizations would probably weigh an IT manager’s position, whose main purpose is to implement an information system for patient safety, higher and more important to fill, than say a food service position.