Need talent? Get in line. Today's tight labor markets compounded by hard-to-fill recruiting positions have many organizations simply treading water with the employees they’ve already got.
Some companies, however, are ideally positioned to perform high-volume recruiting while simultaneously improving three vital TA metrics: quality, volume, and speed of hire.
This is the case for Mercy — one of the largest multi-state healthcare systems in the U.S. — whose critical hiring needs for nurses preceded the pandemic and precipitated their investment in a unified talent experience solution.
When COVID hit, Mercy was more prepared than most, according to their Director of Talent Acquisition Strategy and Operations, Kayla Drady. Using Phenom’s AI-powered Talent Experience Management (TXM) platform — and creative expertise from recruitment marketing agency Bayard — their TA team was able to combine strong brand messaging and targeted advertising to best-fit candidates to drive the results they needed.
The initial pre-COVID revamp of Mercy’s career site played a vital role in attracting and communicating to job seekers during the ups and downs of the pandemic. “When COVID hit, I felt like we were in a really good spot and set up for success,” said Drady.
Previous challenges Mercy already overcame included lack of:
- AI for personalization and lead capture
- On-the-fly career site customization for visual appeal and engagement
- Email and SMS capabilities to streamline and optimize campaigns, events, and university recruiting
- Analytics to test, track, and optimize performance
The flexibility afforded by Phenom’s cohesive solution enabled Drady and her team to seamlessly make changes to the site in real-time, allowing it to become a dependable source of truth and engagement for candidates. For example, Mercy added a banner at the top of the site with specific COVID updates; enhanced their chatbot FAQs with updated information about virtual protocols; featured upcoming recruitment events front and center; and ensured their unique employee value proposition was conveyed authentically with video and employee testimonials.
Quality of Hire
Despite Mercy’s challenge to fill so many positions at once at the height of the pandemic, “We never wanted to compromise the quality of hires, because these are the people that are taking care of our patients and our community,” shared Drady.
While Bayard helped Mercy with the right employer brand messaging for candidates, the TXM platform contributed to Drady’s goals in another way. In addition to helping her team find ideal external candidates based on skills, experience, location, and more, Drady was also able to focus on best-fit internal candidates using Phenom Employee Experience.
Internal mobility. Leveraging the platform for internal mobility quickly became a key element for Mercy’s TA team as they started expanding their volume of hire and sought agility among staff members. Visibility into open opportunities and career growth became a great motivator for internal movement, and is currently part of their larger retention strategy.
Referrals. Another feature that’s instrumental to driving quality of hire includes referrals from existing employees. “Talent knows talent,” said Drady, and with Phenom, the referral process is quick, easy, and transparent. As an incentive, Mercy issued referral bonuses to employees whose contacts were later hired.
Volume of Hire
Faced with the challenge of a national nursing shortage and increased demand for hires, Drady and her team needed a way to balance both quality and quantity of hire. “We wanted to open up the funnel as wide as we could to then be able to narrow it down to the quality candidates,” she shared.
To deliver, Drady used the following tactics:
Omnichannel marketing campaigns. Sending CRM-enabled emails and SMS campaigns was a primary driver to attracting a larger candidate pool. The setup for a campaign took a matter of minutes — and with a single click, Mercy could reach thousands of candidates with personalized content based on their application status, interests, and other profile information. Drady’s top tips for success?
- Optimize talent marketing strategies leveraging analytics that measure engagement and identify trends
- Nurture and follow up with candidates who are interacting with your content
- Send engaging content with a compelling CTA that goes beyond “Apply Now"
- Rotate who is sending out content so candidates don’t get bored hearing from the same recruiters over and over again
Events. With in-person career fairs and university recruiting events on pause, Mercy quickly adapted to hosting virtual events — including career fairs, webinars, and informational sessions — which they were able to quickly promote on their career site, as well as through email and SMS campaigns.
All events were prominently displayed on their career site, and communications featured convenient
text codes to send resumes for available positions.
Paid Advertising. In order to drive more traffic to their career site, Mercy partnered with advertisers like Google, YoutTube, Spotify and Pandora to help increase their brand recognition. Drady’s advice to maximize paid ads? Change up your media mix to engage different audiences.
Social Media. Crafting and maintaining a strong social presence enabled Mercy to keep up with real-time reputation management with direct audiences and passive candidates. Mercy channelled their efforts toward Facebook, where they posted engaging content regularly and followed a dynamic content calendar to avoid spamming their audience with continuous job postings.
Speed of Hire
Simultaneously, Mercy needed to speed up the hiring process to fill the growing number of empty nursing roles with quality candidates. Drady’s go-to strategies included:
Virtual interview days. Mercy’s team chose select days to conduct as many back-to-back virtual interviews as possible to increase the likelihood of offering positions to more candidates. Using social media, CRM and SMS campaigns, and cold calls, Mercy quickly attracted a high volume of potential hires in a market that was extremely competitive.
1:1 texts. Communicating with candidates in a fast and personalized way through SMS campaigns quickly became invaluable to Drady and her team. “Everyone is checking their text messages,” noted Drady. “They might not be checking their email, but they’re checking their texts throughout the day constantly.” By leveraging one-on-one communication, Mercy was able to alleviate more time-consuming back-and-forth emails and calls.
Conversational chatbot. When the pandemic began, everyone turned to the healthcare industry for answers. Having a place on their career site that offered FAQs on COVID procedures and updated protocols was the best way to keep Mercy connected with their community. Their conversational chatbot became a 24/7 workhorse that not only enables candidates and employees to ask questions, but also saves recruiters valuable time answering them while capturing passive leads.
Additional measures Mercy implemented to speed up hiring included standardizing their interview process, and providing more flexible onboarding for
both clinical and non-clinical support roles
Mercy’s Phenomenal Results
In just 6 months, Mercy’s team transformed their talent acquisition strategy and met their hiring goals — all while combating the unpredictability of the COVID pandemic.
Check out just a few of the amazing results they experienced as a result of their efforts:
- 26% increase in hires from last fiscal year to this year
- 11 day decrease in time to fill for nursing positions
- 576 referrals
By leaning into a robust talent experience solution that unifies and simplifies the way talent is attracted, hired, and retained, Mercy was not only able to overcome one of the most challenging times across the healthcare and HR industries — they were able to thrive.