Social media outreach and online job boards are useful tools for home health providers confronting a staffing crisis. But Kindred Healthcare (NYSE: KND), the nation’s largest home health provider, is finding continued success with more traditional recruitment methods.
Like other providers across the health care spectrum, Louisville-based Kindred has been utilizing digital channels to reach prospective workers. But that’s not enough, according to Senior Vice President of Human Resources Jeff Jasnoff.
“Don’t forget some of the low-tech stuff, because that works too,” he said last week at the SHINE Senior Care Human Resources Executive Summit in Chicago.
In particular, he advocated for events like “Walk-In Wednesdays” or “Talk to Me Tuesdays.” On these days, walk-ins can simply come in off the street for guaranteed, on-the-spot interviews. These type of events work for all the different care settings offered by Kindred, he said. The company operates long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities, in addition to home health and hospice.
Many people who are interested in senior care work lead busy lives, and they also want a job that is close to home, Jasnoff pointed out. By attending a Walk-In Wednesday, they can learn about available positions and interview for them without having to submit a resume, schedule a time to come in and jump through other hoops.
“If you’re not doing [this type of recruitment], you’re missing a portion of the population and an opportunity,” he said.
Everyone’s a recruiter
A Walk-In Wednesday event will only work if the right culture is in place in a business, Jasnoff emphasized.
Wherever the event is taking place, there need to be people available to talk with anyone who arrives for an impromptu interview. A receptionist should never tell people to come back later, because no one is available to do the interview on the spot. This means that even workers who typically do not conduct interviews might have to learn how.
“Everybody’s a recruiter,” Jasnoff said.
Anyone can learn how to do basic interviewing or even behavioral interviewing, he said. At Kindred, department heads and other senior executives have come in to teach those skills and participate in recruitment days.
“You have to have that culture right from the top,” Jasnoff said. “Our CEO [Ben Breier], he’ll tell you he’s the top HR guy. That permeates throughout the organization.”
Doing interviews can be a nice break in someone’s day, introducing some variety into their jobs, he added. Another way to motivate people to step outside their typical duties and start to do interviews is to stress that they need to be part of the solution to the staffing crisis, not part of the problem.
McLean, Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living, one of the largest national providers of independent living and assisted living, also does walk-in interview days, said Vice President of People Strategy & Field HR Operations Julie Clark.
Her tip: Be sure to hold the interviews during the shifts when workers are needed.
Like Kindred, Sunrise is combining traditional recruiting with tech-driven initiatives, such as using predictive analytics to identify promising applicants.
There will be even more technologies developed to help with recruitment; however, given the margins in senior care, providers need to be selective in their tech investments and keep plugging away at proven methods of recruitment, Jasnoff said.
“We don’t always have the latest and greatest,” he said. “So you’ve got to do the social and mix in a little low-tech. We as an industry are never going to have all the bells and whistles.”
Written by Tim Mullaney