This just in — the Great Resignation is here. According to the Labor Department, 4.3 million workers left their jobs in August — a number that hasn’t been seen since December of 2000. Among the majority? Frontline workers.
A shortage of critical talent is something healthcare providers are all too familiar with. In fact, it’s exactly what Kayla Drady, Director of Talent Acquisition Strategy & Operations at Mercy, and her team faced in the throes of the pandemic.
The result? The need to completely shift university recruiting strategies to bring in new nursing talent. Drady shared the innovative ways Mercy is using Phenom’s AI-powered Talent Experience Management (TXM) platform to hire hundreds of recent grads and fill their candidate pipeline during the most competitive healthcare hiring environment in recent memory.
View all of Drady’s insights on combining impactful virtual events with omnichannel recruitment marketing campaigns in the video below — or read on to catch key takeaways!
Taking Candidate-First Connections Virtual
Mercy, which operates more than 40 facilities across four states, typically has several hundred open nursing positions at any given time. Up against chronic nursing shortages, even pre-pandemic, Drady knows first-hand the importance of a strong on-campus presence to recruit nursing students.
But with the Mercy TA team’s university recruiting toolbox limited by restricted campus access, they had to get creative to connect with students. “We could no longer go onsite, no longer do the career fairs that we once did,” Drady said. “So how do we make sure that we're continuing to have our pipeline and not [take] our foot off the gas, and really continue to recruit those new grads?”
Like most of us, nursing students are more overwhelmed than usual, Drady noted. They’re learning remotely and feeling the stressors of the pandemic. With that in mind, the TA team used Phenom University Recruiting — complete with events, campaigns and analytics — to bring best-fit opportunities and personalized, relevant content to students as quickly, conveniently, and seamlessly as possible.
Their top 5 types of virtual events included:
Online career fairs gave busy nursing students a quick and easy way to log in from anywhere to view open jobs and get a sense of Mercy’s amazing employer brand.
Recruiter chats enabled instant connection with recruiters so students could learn more about specific job opportunities — and schedule an interview in less than 10 minutes.
Webinars covered topics nursing students don’t necessarily learn about in school, such as transitioning to a full-time position, job search tips, and how to write resumes, cover letters, and more.
Virtual Q&A sessions with recruiters supplemented webinars and were held throughout the day to allow maximum flexibility. Providing candidates with an SMS keyword added to the overall convenience and sharing of information.
Virtual classroom visits via Zoom let Mercy recruiters share job opportunities with entire classes of nursing students. One thing the pandemic was unable to upend? The strong relationships Mercy has with area university faculty members, which gave them a natural point of entry.
5 Essential Frontline Hiring Hacks
With a digital advertising strategy employing AI and automation, email and SMS campaigns, social media, and more, Mercy generated strong interest, response, and registrations. Here are Drady’s top recommendations for advertising virtual university recruiting events to increase speed of frontline hires:
Showcase events on your career site. Mercy posts every event front and center on its career site homepage regardless of size, Drady says. They also use Phenom’s event building capabilities to create event landing pages and registration pages where students can find all essential event information, add events to their calendars, and share with their networks.
Pro Tip: Make your registration form as quick and easy to complete as possible for multi-tasking students on mobile devices.
Maximize your reach with SMS and email campaigns. A combination of email and text campaigns are the way to quickly reach thousands of students. Drady recommends scheduling your first campaign blast one week before the event. "That’s the sweet spot we found,” Drady said. It gives enough notice, but isn’t too far in advance that the message gets buried and forgotten. Reminder messages the day before and the day of are also common best practices, but Drady urges others to test to discover what works best with their audience.
Pro Tip: Use AI-powered talent analytics to see who’s opening messages, and prioritize candidates who are most engaged.
Market on social. Advertising on social media offers great visibility — and you can do a lot of it for free. Mercy creates related events posts for the organization’s social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Pro Tip: Link back to your event registration page to capture candidate information in your CRM.
Send digital flyers. Mercy creates digital flyers for university contacts to share with students via internal job boards and email blasts. The flyers include all relevant event info and link back to the registration page. “I would recommend creating a list of all of your contacts at the universities that you have partnered with, whether it's professors, faculty, staff, admins, deans of the colleges — anybody that you can build that relationship with — and then create a list of their contact information within the CRM,” Drady said.
Pro Tip: Cultivate and leverage strong relationships with key universities. (Check out how TRC is doing just that and exceeding their DE&I goals with Phenom!)
Use SMS Keywords. Just like with in-person career fairs, a major goal of virtual events is to capture leads. That’s where Mercy’s use of an SMS keyword is critical.
Within the Phenom CRM, the team is easily able to create a 5-digit text code that candidates can use to instantaneously send their resume, apply for a job or receive information about open roles, FAQs, or upcoming events and connect with a recruiter to learn more.
“It allows us to have their information in our CRM in a matter of seconds,” Drady noted — a sharp contrast from manual resume collection and data entry. “And we were able to capture so many leads from those sessions.” Drady’s team is then tagging students in their CRM according to their graduation year. That means a few years from now, when they need a more experienced nurse, they can identify and target 2020 grads.
Growing Through Challenges
Despite the need to pivot under incredibly challenging circumstances, Drady’s team was well prepared thanks to their comprehensive talent experience platform. In fact, having to go completely virtual with university outreach produced several unexpected benefits.
Without the need to travel or prep for in-person events, time-strapped recruiters gained countless hours to perform other tasks, all multiplied by the convenience of automation. Even more importantly, Mercy was able to cast a much wider net to recruit talent.
“Now all we have to do is post one event and we're able to reach students from all across the country. So that really opens up our talent pool. They no longer have to live in one of our markets to attend one of our events, so it allows us to be more efficient while reaching more students,” reported Drady.
“Using the technology ... we can now reach so many more candidates than we have ever been able to before.”
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