Staffing: Recruit, Train and Retain

In 2008 Forbes named healthcare the largest and fastest growing industry in the nation.  While other industries are shrinking, the healthcare industry continues to make strides in growth.  According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the healthcare industry supports approximately 14.3 million jobs. Furthermore, the BLS states the healthcare sector grew by 720,000 jobs from December 2007 – September 2007.  During this same period, all other industries lost nearly 8.5 million jobs.  It is projected that the healthcare industry will generate an additional 3.2 million in new jobs by 2018.

What does this mean to Health IT recruiters?  It means to remain competitive in a growing market you must employ a repeatable and proactive recruiting approach. Recruiting is a process NOT an event.  It is a methodical approach that delivers specific performance benefits to employers and/or customers.   The most effective recruiting methodology is simply “Recruit, Train, and Retain.”

Recruit: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) stated in a 2010 study, that he “average time-to-fill a position is 46 days.”  To decrease time-to-fill your recruiting approach must be proactive.  This requires close collaboration with hiring managers to anticipate current and/or emerging staffing requirements.  It is a focused, continuous process of sourcing candidates and maintaining a stable of qualified candidates across targeted healthcare hiring needs.  This model creates an environment where recruiting is not a reaction to a hiring request. Constantly working with a talent pool of candidates that meet the requirements for one or many healthcare positions drastically reduces hiring cycle times. Harnessing and maintaining the interest of both passive and active healthcare job seekers will produce a candidate friendly experience that allows for creative, resourceful, and functional relationship driven recruiting possibilities.

Train: According to a study by American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) in 2003, “41% of employees at companies with poor training planned on leaving within a year vs. 12% planned departures at companies with excellent training.” In a growing and competitive healthcare market with 15.6% turnover, this is still equally important today.  Today, a happy and well-trained employee is productive and loyal.  Realizing the importance of developing personnel assets and providing training to your staff will ensure healthcare currency and maintain a motivated and constant healthcare workforce. Training programs must incorporate a wide range of training options to meet employer/customer needs and employee objectives.

This is especially true in Health IT where employees that understand your critical IT infrastructure, for example, may need training to help you launch mHealth solutions and migrate from paper based records to electronic health records (EHR). For maximum benefit, you should align training topics closely with your company’s goals.  Organizations including The American Health Information Management Association ( and Health IT Certification offer specific Health IT certifications while the American Society for Quality ( offers a version of its Lean and Six Sigma quality certifications customized to the healthcare industry. Employee development programs should include certification and refresher training, academic training, access to online healthcare and management courses.

Retain: According to turnover for the Healthcare industry in 2010 was 15.6%, while all industries averaged 15.9%. This makes the retention of qualified, skilled healthcare employees critically important to you and your company. Your employees must be provided the necessary tools, time, and training to be successful. Work with your healthcare personnel to enhance their academic skills, increase employee satisfaction and retention.  Creating a company culture that provides career-oriented growth opportunities where your healthcare employees are valued and respected is essential.

In summary, your recruiting process MUST be more than a series of independent events.  Rather it MUST be an integrated continuum of recruiting, training and retaining highly qualified employees proficient in Health IT.