3 New Trends in Nursing Hiring

Changes in nursing hiring and selection are starting to catch up to the transformation of our healthcare system. Input costs are increasing along with consumer expectations. These challenges have forced human resources professionals to play a larger role in organizational success. Three trends are particularly interesting:

1. A New focus on Behavioural Competencies

Hospitals have been traditionally enamored with credentials and technical skills. They are discovering that “performance” today is about creating a patient-centred culture, adapting to change and reaching new levels of collaboration. None of these have anything to do with what’s on the CV. Accordingly, healthcare is learning from other industries and incorporating methods to evaluate behavioural competencies, into the hiring process.

2. Quality over quantity

For decades, HR filled a purely administrative role – to fill vacant positions with people with the requisite technical skills and experience - as quickly as possible. Time to fill was often all that mattered and this led to selection based on an over-emphasis on technical skills. The end result was higher turnover than other industries. HR is now seen as central to identifying the predictors of performance and building a selection system that is more efficient and targets the right candidates – candidates that are right for the culture, and more likely to fit for the long term to help meet the hospital’s overall goals.

3. Developing and Selecting Leaders

Hospitals have figured out that the great nurse does NOT necessarily make the best nurse manager because he or she may not have the leadership skills we need today. More organizations are defining what is necessary to lead and targeting individuals with the right skills, and implementing programs to develop those with potential.

Just as healthcare is borrowing proven strategies from other industries (like LEAN), it is now taking a more progressive approach to hiring, including the use of assessments. Surveys show that as many as 80% of mid-size to large companies use behavioural assessments with the highest usage (66% of companies) for professional positions. Healthcare is just starting to adopt these tools. A recent Harvard Business Review article noted that 61% of new employees at companies using behavioural assessments become top performers within 14 months, compared to 7% for those not using assessments.

Progressive hiring strategies work. Healthcare organizations need every advantage they can get.

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