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Let’s face an uncomfortable reality about HCM and talent acquisition: When it comes to innovation, the industry is a laggard.

I don’t think I’m going out on a crazy limb here, either. After 2+ years of attending conferences, hawk-eyeing hashtags, and immersing myself in industry publications, it’s pretty clear that this wild world of ours is abnormally comfortable with the norm.

I’ve even experienced this personally, having watched the excruciating process of my husband – a military veteran – trying to find a job in the civilian world: clunky applications that ended up a black hole, little outreach or progress updates from recruiters, talent network sign-ups that never sparked any more information. But I’ve also heard it directly from dozens of talent acquisition leaders and practitioners who begrudgingly live the status quo every day — many of whom see the value of disrupting traditional recruiting “best practices” with a transformational, marketing-focused, insight-driven approach.

Problem is, those bold leaders face resistance — often from those more comfortable in a world of spreadsheets and broken ATS workflows, than in one driven by intelligent automation, AI, and truly personalized candidate experiences.


Healthcare’s Confounding Relationship with Innovation

Nowhere is this truer than healthcare — a historically conservative industry that, by its own right, isn’t usually the first to adopt new operational innovation. Many clinicians still rely on pagers and fax machines. Point made.

I read in a blog post: “Healthcare is conservative, but it is conservative for a reason: lives literally depend on it. Every new piece of technology needs to be bulletproof.” It’s hard to argue with that. When something works in healthcare, why mess with it?

I generally understand this sentiment. But transformation, disruption, change … whatever you want to call it … can be a godsend.

Remember the last big technological overhaul for healthcare? Electronic health records (EHRs) – a nightmarish upheaval of an age-old process that turned out to be essential to ensuring a better standard of quality, safety, efficiency and care coordination. But it wasn’t until the government essentially forced the industry to change – and rewarded it with incentives – that meaningful transformation occurred. Based on a 2015 report by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, 96% of hospitals have an EHR system, up from 71.9% in 2011, the first year of incentives.

One Chief Medical Informatics Officer said: “It was a disruptive and transformative change for our physicians … But moving to EHRs was not an issue of if; it was an issue of when.”


Risk vs. Reward: What the Industry Gains from Transformation

So … when, not if, will healthcare innovate recruiting? When the government mandates it? (Just kidding! Although HR technology vendors everywhere wouldn’t mind that nudge…)

Really – it’s not a matter of if, and for the sake of healthcare providers hiring amidst a nursing shortage, increasing competition and retiring Baby Boomers, when needs to be now.

Because when it comes to recruiting, the standard healthcare playbook isn’t working.

I’ve spoken with quite a few healthcare recruiters who tell me that they still use spreadsheets and handwritten notes to track candidates. Think about that. At a time when recruiters have powerful automation and AI at their fingertips, they’re using the same technology their counterparts relied on 20 years ago.

Even worse, there’s little to no communication across hospital systems, and rarely a centralized platform to share leads and track candidate progress. Silver medalists at one hospital in a broader healthcare network aren’t notified of an opening at a sister hospital in proximity. Instead, those warm, qualified candidates turn back into cold leads. And they likely find a job at a competitor.

Sounds about as efficient as manually writing and filing thousands of patients’ lifetime health records, right?

It’s an operational abomination (and I think most healthcare recruiters would agree). Particularly when there’s a better way — like a centralized Recruitment Marketing Platform that could provide eerily similar benefits to EHRs, just in a different function.

Let’s compare:

  • Maximizing Cost-Efficiency: When recruiters can work in harmony to track candidate interactions, create workflows to progressively nurture candidates, and develop targeted pipelines of qualified candidates, it equates to time, money, and resources saved. It’s a win, win, win. Individual recruiters — and the organization as a whole — becomes more efficient, informed and productive.
  • Optimizing Coordination and Communication: A Recruitment Marketing Platform improves recruiter-to-recruiter communication, recruiter-to-hiring manager communication, and recruiter-to-candidate communication. With one centralized technology, recruiters can help each other across facilities – sharing leads, candidate profiles, and silver medalists to improve time to hire. Recruiters feel supported – and candidates who might not find the right fit or role at one hospital or facility can be referred to a different role in the system. 
  • Minimizing Errors and Improving Accuracy: Adios spreadsheets. A Recruitment Marketing Platform pulls in resume info and social media profiles automatically, while also tracking every candidate interaction with your brand. There’s no greater accuracy or visibility into the people you want to hire. Most importantly, you can trust your data for better insights – with job-level and CRM-level pipeline metrics to see what’s working and what’s not to better standardize your strategy and tactics.

With this as the end game, fear of transformation goes out the window.

The reality is that healthcare recruiting is at a crossroads: You can continue down the road you’re used to — the one that looks flat, safe and steady. Or you can take the fork — the road that looks a little unsettling at first, but ultimately sets you on a path to a destination that’s much better for everyone (and ahead of everyone else). Better for your staff. Better for your patients. And better for your organization’s bottom line.

You have the power to avoid another EHR scenario. But that means not waiting for change to be mandated and instead choosing to mandate your own transformation.

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