While healthcare providers are facing a number of challenges today, attracting and retaining critical nursing talent sits at the top of the list. From an aging population to family obligations and burnout, the nursing gap is growing, and the country now needs more than 1 million nurses to combat the current shortage. To do this, a compelling and accurate employer value proposition (EVP) is essential. In fact, Gartner research found companies that deliver an effective EVP can lower their annual turnover rate by 69%. By being proactive and transparent, healthcare organizations can secure the top talent they so desperately need.
When showcasing their offerings to today’s diverse talent pool, healthcare organizations should first consider the development of an EVP. A company’s EVP is what differentiates them in the talent marketplace – it’s the sum of all the experiences employees have with their employer. In essence, it is a promise a company makes to their employees and what the employee looks for in return. The EVP begins with research, which can be both internal and external in order to collect data from external target candidates, as well as, current employees through surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
Marco Abato, VP of Brand, Digital & Communications at Cielo, says companies should study this research and use this to identify their differentiation as an employer. “There isn’t a one-size-fits-all messaging that works. But through an EVP, the organization has an opportunity to uncover what makes them unique as an employer, which will be used to support their ability to attract the nursing talent they want to hire in this competitive talent marketplace,” he says.
Healthcare organizations may find things like empowerment, purpose-driven roles, career growth, and benefits that nurses are seeking from employers. Armed with this knowledge, they can build an authentic, inclusive EVP that allows them to differentiate themselves from competitors. Once formulated, an EVP must be communicated. This can be achieved through a multi-pronged approach:
- EVP activation. Activating an EVP begins with research that’s then validated by leadership. Once endorsed, the EVP can be introduced to all employees by way of town hall-style meetings or company-wide correspondence.
“Employees are seeking authenticity in all communications. That said, they will also want to know the C-suite is supporting and validating the importance of an EVP to support successful growth,” Abato explains.
- External EVP communication. Abato says a great EVP remains consistent but tailored for specific audiences. “Internal talent acquisition communications as well as externally owned, earned, and paid channels should consistently represent the EVP. Understanding your EVP might mean different things to different audiences, so it is imperative to find that overarching ‘true north’ and segment based on the audience you are speaking to.”
Abato also notes that recruiters and hiring managers are also key to drawing interest—and therefore talent—to a healthcare organization. They should be well-versed in the facets of the EVP and trained on the messaging matrix, the key pillars, the research, and critical employee stories that support the EVP.
Healthcare organizations should also consider sharing current employee feedback and testimonials, especially when it comes to DEI experiences. This is a great way to showcase a solid, effective EVP and the influence it’s had on a productive and engaged workforce.
With this in mind, Jacquese Brown, Senior Director of DEI programs at Cielo, asserts that candidates aren’t looking for the perfect company but a healthcare organization that is cognizant of the strides they’ve taken and those they plan to take. “Include authentic testimonials around the company’s inclusive culture from current employees. Also, manage your reputation by responding to concerns, comments, and positive feedback online,” Brown says. “Have a clear and communicated stance on what your DEI standards and goals are for your organization. Remember, no one is looking for perfection—they want honesty and authenticity.”
With nursing candidates of differing backgrounds and various requirements of the right employer, TA leaders should prioritize partnership and representation to ensure their organization’s EVPs stand out. This can be done by utilizing inclusive videos, images, and various communications on company websites and in external marketing materials.
In the end, a continual audit for efficiency must be in place for an EVP to remain effective. “Ongoing validation and testing should be performed. Surveying new joiners ensures the experience as a candidate is the reality as an employee,” says Abato.
Zee Johnson of HRO Today contributed to this article.