Creating an Engaging Employer Brand: Attracting and Retaining Healthcare Talent

For healthcare employers, recruiting and retention remains a heavy lift. Recently, the President of the American Medical Association sounded an urgent alarm concerning the national physician shortage. It’s no longer down the road; the talent drought is already here.

And it’s not limited to physicians, either. More than 200,000 RN positions go unfilled every year, ratcheting up the pressure on already overworked staff.



That’s left many healthcare employers asking: how can we possibly fill our open positions when there’s not enough talent to go around?

Well, HR, here’s a fresh idea: consider borrowing some moves from your colleagues in Marketing. Start thinking about your employer brand—and how to enhance it. Here’s how.


What’s an “Employer Brand,” Exactly?          

Generally speaking, an organization’s brand is its image—i.e., how it’s perceived by the public. In healthcare, most branding efforts are directed to patients. That’s why many hospitals brand themselves as providers of patient-centered care.

Yes, that spills over to how hospitals are viewed by healthcare personnel. But in competitive markets, it’s not enough. Employer branding means presenting your organization in a way that appeals strongly to prospective employees, by embodying the qualities they seek.

In other words, it’s not simply about how healthcare organizations take care of patients, but also their people.


7 Ways to Elevate Your Employer Brand  

Employer branding means leveraging the qualities that make candidates want to work for you and employees want to stay with you. It means enhancing your strengths and shoring up your weaknesses as an employer. Here’s seven ways to do just that.


1. Articulate Your Mission and Values

Creating an engaging employer brand starts by communicating a clear, compelling mission and value set, such as your commitment to exceptional patient care and/or dedication to medical innovation. When you convey your values well, it attracts people who share them.

For example, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is widely admired for its mission to treat and cure pediatric cancer, while caring for families and pioneering new cures. That admirable, well-defined purpose resonates soundly with like-minded healthcare professionals.


2. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Admittedly, not all healthcare organizations are in a position to offer top compensation, but it’s important to be competitive in your market. In addition, make an effort to offer a broad, thoughtful benefit package. Beyond traditional benefits like comprehensive healthcare coverage, consider offering novel perks that your peers have yet to discover.


3. Practice Recognition; Show Appreciation

Acknowledging the hard work and dedication of healthcare workers is crucial, especially now. That means implementing vibrant recognition programs, such as awards for excellence and peer-to-peer recognition. In addition to formal programs, find small ways to show your appreciation to staff throughout the year.



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4. Nurture a Positive Workplace Culture

Every healthcare employee wants to feel respected and supported. An employer with an exceptional workplace culture offers an upbeat, encouraging work environment while providing professional development opportunities and promoting diversity and inclusion.

Take the Mayo Clinic, for example, which is famous for its outstanding workplace culture. They are consistently rated one of the best places to work in the U.S.!


5. Prioritize Workplace Well-being

Burnout continues to plague healthcare professionals at record-high levels—and that’s not good for employees or patients. Make sure that you’re offering state-of-the-art wellness programs, mental health benefits and stress management resources. If you can possibly offer your people a lighter work schedule, that will also go a long way toward burnishing your employer brand.    


6. Build Vigorous Two-Way Communication

It’s important to know what your employees want and how they feel—so keep asking them. Seek feedback through pulse surveys, then use it to make improvements to your work environment and policies. Address negative feedback promptly as well, putting your commitment into action.


7. Give Candidates and Employees Awesome Experiences

From medical directors to part-time hourly workers, every employee wants to feel valued. When candidates come in for interviews, welcome them warmly. When new hires come on board, make sure they feel like they’re part of the team. Continually find new ways to show your veteran employees your appreciation and make them happy.

In short, the key to elevating your employer brand is to treat people the way they want to be treated while delivering exceptional patient care. In the healthcare universe, that’s a compelling brand story. And at UrbanBound, we’d love to help you tell yours.

Human Resources Today