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Episode 15: Clinical recruiting is a buyer’s market (so act like it!)—Best practices for healthcare staffing with Anthony Gentile of Katon Direct

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October 06, 2022

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Episode 15: Clinical recruiting is a buyer’s market (so act like it!)—Best practices for healthcare staffing with Anthony Gentile of Katon Direct

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COVID-19 didn’t kick off the healthcare staffing crisis, but it sure didn’t help. Justin is joined by Anthony Gentile, managing partner at Katon Direct, to prognosticate the current state of clinical recruiting and prescribe some potential solutions for healthcare organizations looking to attract top talent. Anthony shares his ideas on how to address the dual-shortage of candidates and educators, why providers need to rethink employer branding, and what three items every healthcare organization should have on their staffing to-do list.

Anthony and Justin take a closer look at the big questions surrounding clinical recruiting: How can healthcare orgs fill the growing gap in rural care? What can staffing professionals expect as COVID shifts from pandemic to endemic? And how can employers change their working conditions to encourage providers to stay?

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Episode transcript

Justin Steinman:
Definitively Speaking is a Definitive Healthcare podcast series recorded and produced in Framingham, Massachusetts. To learn more about healthcare commercial intelligence, please visit us at definitivehc.com.
Hello, and welcome to the latest episode of Definitively Speaking, the podcast where we have data-driven conversations on the current state of healthcare. I'm Justin Steinman, chief marketing officer at Definitive Healthcare and your host for this podcast. I'm joined today by Anthony Gentile, managing partner at Katon Direct. Katon Direct provides holistic recruitment solutions designed to help any recruiter or recruitment department find and attract qualified healthcare professionals. In other words, Katon Direct provides rec tech. Anthony has more than 19 years of experience in the healthcare human capital space and is on the board of directors of the National Association of Healthcare Recruitment. As regular listeners of this podcast know, the concept of employment in the healthcare industry is changing fast, sometimes by the day. I thought that Anthony May have an interesting perspective on what's going on and how employers need to change if they want to attract the best doctors, nurses, and executives to their network. Anthony, welcome to Definitively Speaking.

Anthony Gentile:
Thank you, Justin. It's great to be here.

Justin Steinman:
Hey. Well, thanks taking the time to talk with me. To get things started, can you tell our listeners what's going on in the healthcare industry today on the hiring front?

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah, well, Justin, it's interesting to say the least. I've been in the healthcare human capital space coming up on 20 years now, and I remember talking about labor shortages and difficulty recruiting clinicians back then. It's only gotten worse over the last 20 years, and I'd say exponentially worse over probably the past five to 10 or so. I mean we're experiencing workforce exodus like never before. 10,000 Americans turn 65 every single day in this country. The US census bureau projects that by 2050, 83 million Americans are going to be over 65. I'll be one of them. And guess what? Healthcare professionals are Americans too, and they're aging at the same rate as everyone else and retiring in droves. And on top of that, we see just medical professionals are leaving the industry in alarming numbers due to stress and burnout, rising patient ratios, elevated occupancy rates, high acuity, negative outcomes. These factors are just causing huge talent supply shortage at a time when demand has really never been higher.

Justin Steinman:
So how do we address that supply shortage? I mean, there's still a lot of people who want to be doctors. A lot of people want to be nurses. There's still medical schools. What's causing the shortage to become so acute?

Anthony Gentile:
I think there's a couple of things. When you talk about candidates entering into the workforce, well, we know that the shortage is really acute based on the workforce exodus. Candidates just retiring, leaving due to burnout and stress, but we're not graduating enough net new candidates into the labor force. I think one of the last projections I saw was we needed to add close to 200,000 nurses a year based on to keep up and we're not coming close to that. Entry into four year nursing programs is lower than it's ever been. So it's a problem, and it doesn't seem like it's getting any better.

Justin Steinman:
Yeah. I saw that the American Nurses Association said there's going to be a shortage of 1.1 million nurses in the US by the end of this year, 2022.

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah. That's alarming, because 2022 is now. I remember hearing this 10 years ago and I'm like, all right, I won't even be there. I'll be long, dead and retired and gone by then. But here we are and still plugging along. So it's definitely alarming to say the least that it's happening in front of our faces without much...
There's no light at the end of the tunnel right now.

Justin Steinman:
Do you think it's a school capacity shortage or do you think it's a lack of interest of people who want to go into the medical profession?

Anthony Gentile:
I think it's both. I think everything we've learned over the last two years, you've heard nothing but stories about burnout and sadness and people leaving. That's definitely not a really good recruiting tactic for people to want to enter into that field. But also too, there is lack of capacity because there's also a lack of educators and clinical preceptors and teachers. Even if we were able to drive more candidates into school, we just don't have the staff to train them up.

Justin Steinman:
And do you think things have got... You said things were going badly over the past five to 10 years, did COVID accelerate that? Why were they going bad over that five to 10 year period then how did COVID change things?

Anthony Gentile:
I think the retirement issue was a problem and that was kind of accelerating at the same rate. The problem was more of nurses and doctors leaving the profession based on what they experienced. It's a problem when you don't see a solution in the near term. We all have problems and we all want to know that there's solutions. And if you don't see a solution, if you're sitting there and you're banging out shift after shift and you see negative patient care outcomes due to short staff, if you see the light at the tunnel, you might stay the course but if you don't see that there's any help coming, a nurse or a doctor who might be midway through their career might just make that decision to go elsewhere and try something else. Nobody wants to spend 30 more years being sad and miserable. And so we're seeing people just take a left turn.

Justin Steinman:
And COVID clearly made things worse.

Anthony Gentile:
Oh yeah, for sure 100%. I think one of the good things COVID did was actually highlight this beyond people like me who have known about, and people like you who have known about this for the last 20 years. The shortage in the staffing crisis didn't happen in March of 2020. It's been a problem. And nurses and doctors being overworked and short staffed has been a problem. And this really put a national spotlight on it. And we lauded our healthcare workers as heroes and rightfully so because the average person who just was not aware of that suddenly became aware that we have problems in this country. We're coming apart at the seams at our national healthcare institutions, and we need to do something to change.

Justin Steinman:
So now as we sit here in the fall of 2022, and we're thankfully fingers crossed kind of coming out of the pandemic and moving into the endemic phase and we're going to live with COVID. I saw the other day, I'm not going to get an annual COVID shot the way that I get an annual flu shot. I bet next year, they're probably going to combine, I'm going to get one shot. That's where science is going. How is the endemic era as we call it going to impact these healthcare shortages? What do you think?

Anthony Gentile:
I think as we move from the pandemic to the endemic, many things are going to go back to the way they were in terms of recruitment and availability of talent for certain medical jobs. But I think a couple of things that peaked during the pandemic are going to stay. There's a lot of things that happened as a result of that, and they went away but some will stay. Most notably, virtual recruitment and hiring strategies. Both employers and prospective candidates had no choice initially but to connect virtually. The need to hire people didn't go away, it just wasn't cool to bring 50 people into an auditorium during a hiring event and that wasn't just really good for patient safety.
So the idea of virtual engagement, I think what we've learned and what employers have learned is that this is one of those things that I don't want to say it's a positive that came out of this, but this is going to stay. It's becoming the preferred method of communication. The candidates are demanding that experience, recruiters are really enjoying that experience because they're saving time and able to double down on what they need to get accomplished.

Justin Steinman:
But if you're recruiting a surgeon, how can you tell if he or she is a good surgeon by looking at them over a Zoom? Wouldn't you want to see them in the theater, so to speak?

Anthony Gentile:
Oh yeah, for sure. I think as the initial start of the process, I think that's a really good way, especially for surgeons and docs, they're mostly recruited out of market. There's a lot of relocation that happens in the physician and provider world and just to see if, hey, are we on the same dance floor here? Are we hearing the same music? The idea of flying somebody across the country, it could be sped up significantly. Now that will happen, but it's really good opportunity now that technology is there where people can connect in a virtual environment to maybe make that the initial screening process to say, okay, we're both interested. We had this conversation, let's bring you out here, let's do a tour of the facility, meet hiring managers and C suite, and let's see where we go from there.

Justin Steinman:
Interesting, so you're saying, actually I want to pick up something I wasn't expecting, there's a lot of relocation in physician and physician hiring. That's actually kind of counter to a lot of what's going on in the industry. I mean, I work in the software industry and the pandemic changed for me. I now have people working for me all across the United States, whereas 15, 20 years ago, I would've wanted everybody here in lovely Framingham, Massachusetts. And relocation, I don't have relocation conversations with potential employees anymore. It's kind of like you live in Dallas? Great. You got to Zoom. Can you come up here once a quarter? That's really a big change for me in my industry. But to hear you just talk, doctors, there's a major relocation. What's driving that? Do people want to relocate?

Anthony Gentile:
Aside from telehealth, it's one of those jobs that can't be done remote so it has to on site. So you don't see that so much on the nursing side. You see travel nursing and temporary staffing. You see that, but there's such an ample supply. There's almost 4 million nurses in this country and a million doctors. Within a given market, there's typically an ample supply of nursing talent, which doesn't require organizations to relo. But on the physician side, there are many markets in this country that have huge supply and demand disparities. So if there's an overabundance of supply in a specific market, well, oftentimes those docs have no choice but to leave and they're open up to relocation opportunities. They also have a lot of non-compete agreements in place. So if I am a doctor in New York, I might have a current non-compete that I can't go to the hospital across the street or downtown. I have to leave a hundred mile radius or 50 mile radius. So docs and providers are significantly more likely to relo than nurses and nursing support staff.

Justin Steinman:
That's interesting. How does that differ in the rural location? Are you relocating doctors to rural locations?

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah, I mean, for sure. We see urban flight. People are leaving cities all across this country for a litany of reasons. And for every doctor that is in a rural location that feels somewhat constrained by the lack of opportunity within that market, there's another doctor who's sick and tired of paying rent in New York City and wants to get out and be on a lake. Typically maybe more later in their career as opposed to early in their career. And this is really where good recruiting comes down to because if you're going to get on the phone, whether it's a phone call or video chat with the doc, and you're going to talk about, hey, I have a great opportunity here that's 200 miles from the nearest metro and it's up in the mountains, you better know everything about that market. Where are the restaurants? Where are the clubs? Where's everything that that doc is going to want to do? And really good recruiters are as good as sales reps and they know how to position those opportunities.

Justin Steinman:
I saw that rural regions make up roughly 60% of the shortage for healthcare workforce. That's a survey from the Health Resources and Services Administration. Are you successful at getting people to move out to these rural locations?

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah, I mean, in general, I think organizations are successful in doing that, more so on the physician and provider side, not so much on the nursing side. Typically, in the nursing side, somebody has to have a predisposition to want to move into that market. They were born there, they grew up there, they went to college there, they have family members there. It's hard for somebody who doesn't have of ties to that community to want to move there. But yeah, I mean the challenges in rural areas are tough. I mean, they're a smaller talent pool to draw from, they typically have older populations in rural communities then they do urban settings, meaning that a lot of those clinicians tend to be closer to retirement or retiring. So it definitely exacerbates the shortage disparity between rural and urban locations.

Justin Steinman:
And you keep mentioning that these people are closer to the retirement, so it almost feels like you're solving a problem for the short term. You're going to hire somebody who's 50, relocate them to rural, they're going to be there for 15 years, maybe 20 in the outside, and then you're going to have to go recruit again versus moving somebody in their thirties where you're going to get probably 30 to 40 years of them in that rural location.

Anthony Gentile:
Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, look, there's no real magic bullet to this problem. This is almost only figure out how to eat today as opposed to creating a wellness program to eat for the rest of my life. And that's where they're at right now. They need to survive. Rural hospitals have significantly more financial burdens than urban areas do. They're significantly more impacted by vicissitudes in the economy like a global pandemic or a downtick in the market. That causes high margin procedures to dry up, and you see a less elective surgery specifically on cardiology, ortho, gastro, and those areas, those hospitals just don't have the type of capital reserves to sustain that for a long period of time. It's not a sustainable business model. So by bringing in talent, they're able to monetize on some of that. But it's by no means a complete solution.

Justin Steinman:
So let's pivot a little bit. You kicked off this conversation by talking about the shortage of physicians, and I got some interesting statistics. So the American Medical Association says that one in five physicians and two in five nurses intend to leave their current practice in the next two years. That's just shocking. According to the American Hospital Association, there'll be a shortage of 3.2 million healthcare workers by 2026, just four short years from now. There's a burden and responsibility, I think, of the employers of these delivery networks, of these large systems. How can employers change working conditions to encourage people to stay and not leave the healthcare practice?

Anthony Gentile:
And you know what's really scary about that? I remember the 2026 date shortage of nurses about five years ago, it was like 2 million and now it's 3.2 million. So you can see in a short time how that's gotten even worse. So in terms of nurses and physicians leaving the workforce for retirement purposes, there's not much that can be done about that, which is particularly problematic because the ones that are retiring are the ones that have all the knowledge and experience. So I think one thing hospitals can do and which I've seen is bringing back retired clinicians but in a limited capacity as mentors, educators, clinical preceptors to accelerate the learning of less experienced nurses and transfer that knowledge over that can only be accumulated by a lifetime of service. And I think that making an investment like that on your existing staff could be well received and raise worker satisfaction and retention because you're investing in your existing staff, making them less likely to leave.
The other problem is, as we mentioned before, clinicians that are leaving, not due to retirement, but because of burnout, stress, frustration. I've read, I mean, I can't tell you how many articles over the last few years about healthcare professional burnout and the common thread that I always saw pop up was the impact of seeing negative patient care outcomes, all around them all day long. Hospitals are a tough place to work. Let's be honest. It's an environment that is rife with sickness and sadness and death. And if you're a doctor, nurse, or clinician you know that going into it that that's what the game is all about. But they can be really tough places to work and if you can't bring more net new nurses, or I should say RNs and doctors into the fold, one of the things I saw, this was a great idea, the hospital system out in the Midwest, they decided that they were going to do a mass kind of recruitment campaign for LPNs, licensed practical nurses, and it wasn't a, hey, come work for us, we have a job.
They changed the script and it was more like, Hey, would you like to be part of the care management team? Would you like to be part of care delivery? And this was a message that LPNs had never heard before. It was always thought of more of as an hourly position, a commodity position, but they framed it in such a way that you can be part of a care delivery team. Response was overwhelming. They got tons of applicants. They hired a bunch and they created a system where they feathered those clinical support professionals into the delivery team, which really helped provide a lot of support for the RNs and the providers who could in turn provide more direct patient care and it brought those negative patient care outcomes down, which increased worker satisfaction and increased retention.

Justin Steinman:
It's a really interesting program. I hadn't heard that. I like that area. It's kind of adding to the workforce through a non-traditional or an outside the box thinking kind of way.

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah. I mean, wasn't a new type of a role, it was just a different way to present an opportunity to somebody who has that skillset of work at the top of your license, do things that you've never been asked to do before, take on more responsibility, learn more, better you and further yourselves and be part of care delivery. And it was just the response was enormous.

Justin Steinman:
Do you think you need hospitals or IDNs need to start adding wellness programs and counseling services for their clinicians to help them kind of deal with their stress?

Anthony Gentile:
Oh yeah, for sure. No doubt. And I think you're starting to see that in private sector, public sector. I mean, even at my company, we talk about things like that and have options in place. But yeah, for sure. I mean, again, you're a nurse, you're a doctor, you're working in a hospital, you know what you're getting into, but now that there's been so much more awareness made at the national level about stress and burnout and coping mechanisms and a lot of this even starts in medical school or nursing school because that coursework is significantly harder and you're working 12, 14 hour shifts in residency on top of studying. So you can burn out even from that level. And then you bring that over into a work environment where you're being asked routinely to work a double shift or a triple shift, or you're working on a team that has made up 50% of locum staff and travel nurses.
And you're unable to build a type of comradery, an esprit de corp, and you don't want to because that person's going to be gone in 13 weeks or a weekend shift for a locum stock. So that further causes a lot of stress and burnout too, that they just don't have the type of camaraderie. I mean, just Justin, imagine on your team, if you had temporary people coming in all the time and leaving? How could you... It's really hard to build teamwork. And that's an environment, healthcare, that requires teamwork, especially in OR and critical care units, you need to know that people have your back and people support you, and just by looking at someone's expression, what they mean. And you can't develop that with just temporary relationships.

Justin Steinman:
It's interesting that you hit this temporary or the locums concept. Because the locums tenens exploded in the pandemic. I mean, first off you saw the number of people doing it, just grow by exponentially. You saw the salaries, these people were getting paid, go to 2, $300,000. I mean, crazy, crazy money. And if you're particularly working at some of these rural areas and you're making less than a hundred, you can go to New York for 13 weeks and make 200, that's a no brainer. What do you think the role of the locum tenens professionals should be long term in the healthcare system?

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah, no, you're 1000% right about that. You think of doctors and you think of nurses, I personally think of them as more of the nobler professions like educators. And imagine if they weren't the nobler professions how they would've ran for the money years ago. But look, people want to be paid what they're worth, and it's very difficult to turn that down. So the role of a locums doc, there are certain people that want to do that and there are certain people that want to be a travel nurse and travel all across the country. But by large, one of the reasons why nurses work for staffing companies and docs work for locums agencies, some of it is money driven, but the other reason is that the locums firms are really, really good at recruiting, sourcing, and onboarding talent. And by and large, healthcare institutions and talent acquisition teams that don't really have that type of funding, they don't have those types of resources and bandwidth to constantly be top of mind with local or even relocation professionals.
I can't imagine there was ever a nurse in nursing school who was sitting there dreaming of one day working for a staffing company. I can't imagine that that was the case. They want to work for the brand. That's who they understand, that's where they want to go. But why do they work and go for staffing and traveling firms? Some of it is money driven, but the other reason is they're constantly in touch with them and they're constantly calling those nurses and they're sending them emails and they're sending them text messages. And that's where I think onsite on staff hospital recruitment teams stand to gain the biggest ground. If they can compete with staffing companies at the level and do more proactive sourcing and recruitment marketing, I think they'd win.

Justin Steinman:
But you do think there's a role for the locums and the ecosystem, right?

Anthony Gentile:
For sure. 100%. I mean, especially in areas of the country that do need to staff up and down based on seasonal flow, like Florida, Texas, down south. You have all those people, snowbirds, and so they need to staff up during the winter months. Doesn't really make sense to hire an FTE if you have a six month problem or a three month problem or anything like that.

Justin Steinman:
Got it. So let's go back to something you were talking about a few seconds ago, the concept of employer brand. Do you think hospitals and health systems need to build an employer brand to get the best doctors and nurses?

Anthony Gentile:
100%. The reason why we buy the products and services we do is because we feel strongly about the brand. Forget about cost and forget about features and benefits, you feel strongly about the brands. And I can't imagine that for the same reason you would not buy a product from a company that you don't trust because you don't believe in their brand, a nurse or a doctor is not going to apply to a job for an organization that they've never heard of and that they don't believe in. So building that employer brand that is really just all over your career site, all over your website, everybody's able to parrot that brand because remember candidates are going to encounter multiple people along the way throughout the recruiting and onboarding process and to the extent that you're all speaking the same language and it's stemming from a common core belief, that's reflective of your EVP, your employee value proposition, really makes all the difference or is one of the things that makes the difference.

Justin Steinman:
And what are some of the things that a hospital could differentiate their brand on? Everybody wants to deliver the best possible care at the lowest possible cost. That's kind of healthcare 101. Everybody wants to be the best place to work. No one says I want to be mediocre place to work. So how does a hospital differentiate its brand? I mean, I sit here in the greater Boston area and I could think of six awesome hospital brands in the area and I frankly couldn't tell you how they differentiate themselves, because they all seem great to me.

Anthony Gentile:
I think so you're hitting the nail in the head with the consumer brand and I think hospitals do a very good job about building a positive consumer brand. They don't do really a good job on building a really good employer brand. And those are two different things. And I think what we've all undeniably witnessed is that the balance of power between the candidate and the employer has shifted and it's caused an enormous ripple effect. Providers, nurses, and pretty much all clinical workers are keenly aware that they hold the cards right now. If you're a medical professional, you have it made in the shade with lemonade because barring some ding on your license, you could basically throw a dart at the map of the United States and say, okay, I'll go work there now and most likely be offered a job on the spot. So they can be extremely selective, do their due diligence, research your organization, check out the website content, and this is the scary part, and ultimately make the decision about working for your organization before they even apply to the job.
So what does that mean? It means that branding really is more important than ever because they're going to encounter things on social media. They're going to go to your website. What's on there? What are they seeing on your career site? So it's not necessarily about everyone talking about, we have the best care and we love our patients, but it is really about helping to make sure that they're able to find what they need when they want it to. That's a really good candidate experience.

Justin Steinman:
Got it. Are you finding or seeing that a lot of hospitals are hiring a different kind of CMO, not a chief medical officer, but a chief marketing officer?

Anthony Gentile:
I think most of them have both. I think marketing, hospitals is a trillion dollar industry and a fraction of a sliver of that is a lot of money. It's a highly competitive business. There are new players to the game that are disintermediating traditional healthcare paradigms like telehealth and the rise of urgent care centers. Like I said, the consumer is highly educated and informed. They're empowered by the internet and able to do their own research and make decisions on where they want to spend their dollars. So yeah, investing in really good marketing, whether that's a chief marketing officer or director of marketing, but it's really more about the strategy. Because there's a human element to it. There's a data element to it. There's a content element to it. But marketing is super critical when you're talking about that type of money on the table.

Justin Steinman:
You don't have to convince me. I might be biased, but I think marketing's a really good career for someone to pursue.

Anthony Gentile:
You see? You [inaudible] that in there.

Justin Steinman:
Thank you for that. As a CMO though, our chief marketing officer at a hospital, it feels like you've got to market both to patients and providers and balance that kind of tricky equation on probably a limited budget?

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah, and the reality is you need to do both. You have to market to both. I would say probably 90% of the marketing budget goes towards patients and maybe 10% goes towards the HCPs, healthcare professionals. And if it was up to me, if I had my druthers, I'd say maybe even that out a little bit more to the extent that look as to whether or not you should be focusing on patients and providers. Like I said, the answer is both. To the extent that you're attracting the best providers, the patients follow suit, because everyone wants to be treated by the best. Nobody wants to go to the second best doctor.
But how do you attract the best providers? You do that by having a really good strategy that's driving consumers in the door, especially consumers for those high value service lines. So if I'm a chief marketing officer at a hospital, if I'm doing a lot of patient marketing and creating awareness about ortho and cardio and gastro, I'm driving more of those consumers through the door. Now I'm more attractive to the physician who wants to quite frankly, make more money. If I could do 10 gastro bypass surgeries a week, as opposed to five, now you're helping to attract me to work more for your organization too.

Justin Steinman:
Yeah. It's interesting to hear you talk because to some way you're talking, it's a little bit contradictory to how we think about healthcare today and trying to take costs out of the system. Let's pick hand surgery. If I'm Tom Brady and I break my pinky finger on my throwing hand, I want to see the best hand surgeon in the United States of America because that's a multimillion, hundred million dollar right hand. If Justin Steinman breaks his pinky on his right hand, I don't need to see the best hand surgeon. I probably can see the 250th best hand surgeon in the United States and don't need to pay as much money. But everybody thinks they want to go to the best of the best when the reality is you really need to kind of one there can't be 250 best hand physicians in the world.
There's got to be someone's number one and someone who is 250. Or as my father-in-law likes joke, what do you call the person who graduated last in the medical school class? Doctor. So you got to figure out how do you match the right level of acuity and level of care required with the priciest doctors and then the systems that they go to.

Anthony Gentile:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, Tom Brady's throwing arm is more important than yours, but your ability to create marketing programs is more important than his.

Justin Steinman:
Right. But I don't need my picky finger to do that. Particularly now with dictation software.

Anthony Gentile:
Great. I think that have to couple that it is not just about the provider, it is about the whole system of care too. You're right there. You can't have 10, if you have 10 best hand surgeons, you essentially have none. There can only be 1, and then you have 2, 3, 4. But if that is feathered into a whole program of provider support, staff, patient experience, all of that, that's how you compete, I think.

Justin Steinman:
Yeah. So Anthony, this has been great. I appreciated all your time today. I kind of got my last big question from one of my hobbies on this podcast. I always like to ask kind of a big closing question of my guests here. So given this ongoing war for talent in the healthcare industry, if I were to ask you for the three proverbial must-dos for everybody trying to hire doctors and physicians and nurses and LPs and LPNs, what are the three big must dos in your opinion, what's your expert advice here for our listeners?

Anthony Gentile:
So they're probably 20. We'll talk about a couple, I would say for starters, invest in a really good employee referral platform with great employee facing app that helps them to track referrals. I know a really good organization out in the Midwest that implemented that and it was a really cool app. It had gamification on it and they were just getting tons and tons of applicants from their own staff, which is almost free except for the bonus you're going to pay them. But turn your team into recruiters, I think is a great starter. I also think that making a really good investment in proactive sourcing and recruitment marketing and a good strategy is going to be a combination of data and technology and human capital and that's going to pay just enormous dividends in the end, right? It's going to speed up candidate funnel velocity. It's going to significantly reduce time to fill.
It's going to less dependency on temporary staffing solutions that are quite frankly causing employers to operate in the red. And I think too, and this might be a little heady, I think it's critical that recruiters and hiring managers really change their thinking and come to the action that it is a buyer's market, it is not a seller's market. Because if you want to act differently, you need to think differently. And once you understand that you could change your behavior to better suit the wants and needs of prospective candidates. On average, last year, the application rate for registered nurses was 3.14%, meaning that less than four out of every 100 nurses that started an application from a job board actually completed the application. So what is that data telling you? It's telling you that the application experience is dead. It's been market corrected. You can't do that anymore. So thinking differently and understanding that they're demanding more top funnel experiences, more top funnel conversion points. I think employers who understand that can start to act differently as well.

Justin Steinman:
That's great. So turn your team into recruiters, be proactive about sourcing and remember it's a buyer's market, so you better think differently.

Anthony Gentile:
Yep.

Justin Steinman:
I like it. It's very good advice. Anthony, thanks for taking the time to talk with me today. This was great. I really appreciate it.

Anthony Gentile:
Thank you, Justin. Appreciate it.

Justin Steinman:
And for all listeners out there, thanks for listening to Definitively Speaking, a Definitive Healthcare podcast. Please join me next time for a conversation when we go global for an interview with Alan Foreman, the CEO of B-Secur, a heart health company based in Belfast, Ireland. B-Secure is a biosensing algorithm company who's developed a new FDA cleared solution that brings greater clarity to EKG interpretation. I'll talk with Alan about medical device innovation and what it takes to bring a new device to market in the United States when you're headquartered overseas. You won't want to miss this one.
If you like what you've heard today, please remember to rate, review and subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. To learn more about how healthcare commercial intelligence can support your business, follow us on Twitter @definitiveHC or visit us at definitivehc.com. Until next time, take care, please stay healthy and remember, think differently.

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