Employer Branding Plays a Lead Role in These Healthcare Staffing Stories for Good Reason
As competition for talent escalates, these leading healthcare staffing companies are turning to employer branding to differentiate their company’s core values and those of their clients.
By: John Rossheim
Most healthcare providers, whether they’re hospitals, rehabs and skilled nursing facilities, share a common recruiting goal: they’re looking to persuade job candidates that its top priorities are patient-centered care, a supportive organizational culture and clinical innovation.
That similarity tends to flatten what is otherwise an important message. “It’s very hard for these organizations to differentiate themselves,” says Marcia Faller, Ph.D., RN, chief clinical officer for staffing firm AMN Healthcare. “Their mission statements are very often the same.”
If you’re wondering how your company can differentiate itself from the pack, we have the answer. The key to standing out is having a distinct and clearly-defined employer brand that’s delivered to the right audience at just the right time.
We checked in with a number of healthcare organizations that are doing a great job of aligning their employer brands with core values, while managing to stand out with distinction. Their stories will help inform your company’s own employer brand journey.
AMN brands its healthcare staffing business in more ways than one
As one of the largest medical staffing firms in the country, AMN Healthcare meets the needs of hundreds of provider organizations. Thus the agency must project its own employer brand to job candidates in a very competitive talent market—as it helps clients project their own brands as healthcare employers.
In filling thousands of requisitions for contract healthcare professionals, “we move nurses and other clinicians around, so we need a national footprint,” says Faller. It requires a robust brand message to qualified clinicians that focuses on the variety and volume of job opportunities that the agency offers.
To meet that need, social media has become the key medium for offering proof of the brand message to healthcare professionals, targeted by occupation. “We track results for which social platforms work for each occupation that we staff,” says Faller. Many of AMN’s healthcare provider clients call on the firm to create marketing materials to help them promote their own brand to candidates.
But the greatest branding potential that social media provides is in the conversations that healthcare professionals have about their employers.
“With social, it’s what people are saying about you that’s most important,” says Faller. Does the organization staff its facilities adequately? Is the culture supportive or toxic? Do doctors listen to nurses? All candidates want to know.
With so much as stake, “we monitor social sites and talk with clients about what we find, good or bad,” says Faller. For larger clients, AMN also monitors company review sites. “We report negative posts to clients.”
Since entrants to the healthcare professions nearly all skew young, AMN customizes its approach to a younger point of view. “We pay close attention to Millennials and create short branding videos for clients,” Faller says.
Clover Health promises to address clinicians’ pain points
As a preferred provider organization, Clover Health must project its employer brand to multiple talent pools, and clinicians are one of the most important audiences to reach.
“A lot of our clinicians are nurse practitioners and physicians, and they didn’t go to school to do paperwork,” says Rachel Fish, chief administrative officer at Clover Health. For Fish, streamlined processes—from charting to care coordination—are a key element of the Clover brand.
As part of their brand strategy, Clover emphasizes sending its own clinicians to see patients in their homes to provide high-quality healthcare, thus avoiding preventable hospital admissions and other unnecessary utilization.
“Our clinicians are not compensated by the number of home visits they make, so they can spend time in patients’ homes,” says Fish. This distinction is important to the doctors, nurses and medical assistants that make these house calls, and to job candidates, adds Fish.
Additionally, Clover chats with clinical candidates about the organization’s IT structure. Engineers work side-by-side with clinicians to reduce the frustration of complex electronic health records with the goal of making them more user-friendly.
Clover takes an analytical approach to its investment in media for employer branding. The organization’s marketers have concluded that not all social platforms are created equal, and many are not worth the necessary resources, even if they’re free. “We haven’t found Instagram or Twitter to be very productive,” Fish notes.
Meanwhile, old-school legacy media, which has fallen out of fashion with employers in some industries, has a logical place in Clover’s employer branding and marketing strategy. “Nurse practitioners are in the car all the time, so we’re actually going to be running some billboards and bus shelter ads,” says Fish.
Providence St. Joseph lends its brand to a pipeline university
It turns out that a healthcare system can make a big splash with its employer branding, simply by changing its name.
With 50 hospitals, 829 clinics, 20,000 doctors and 38,000 nurses in the West and Southwest,
Providence St. Joseph Health (PSJH) is one of the largest healthcare systems in the nation. Given the predicted tidal wave of retirements over the next decade, PSJH must hire four times as many nurses per year in 2028 as they do currently.
Recruiters and candidates took notice last year when PSJH announced that the 1,000-student University of Great Falls in Montana would be renamed the University of Providence. The name change encompasses the new educational and training programs for a range of healthcare careers and a pipeline to jobs at Providence St. Joseph and other facilities.
“It was part of our strategic vision to have a fantastic university as part of our healthcare system” and to brand PSJH as a leader in clinical training and education, says Carol Kubeldis, vice president of talent acquisition.
The new name points to the advantage of having an integrated health system with its own university. As recruiters talk to nurses about coming to PSJH, they can highlight tuition-subsidized certification programs and a broad range of professional development options. “The university also serves directly as an internal recruitment pipeline for the health system,” Kubeldis says.
Each of these stories demonstrates the effectiveness of a strategically-delivered employer brand message, whether the end goal is to attract and retain top quality talent or to create a better match for clients.
By developing your own employer brand message, you can communicate your company’s unique value proposition to clients and candidates. Soon, you’ll be standing out from the crowd--for all the right reasons.