2021 Predictions: What’s Next for Talent Acquisition in Healthcare?

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As we continue to feel the impact of this year’s unprecedented global health crisis, some of the biggest organizational changes are happening in the healthcare industry. From essential worker safety to insurance companies facing a financial crisis to how care is delivered to patients, 2020 has been a year of change in healthcare. 

We can expect 2021 to bring even more radical changes to the industry, specifically in hiring and recruiting. Healthcare faced a talent shortage before the pandemic, especially for positions requiring certification like registered nurses, and we can expect this obstacle to loom even larger in 2021. Recruiters will have to be more creative and work harder than before to fill requisitions in healthcare.

According to a recent report from Forrester, healthcare isn’t just a focus for the healthcare industry, as “every company bringing employees back will become a healthcare company. Onsite clinics, symptom screening technology vendors, and diagnostic testing partners are increasingly working with enterprise occupational health and human resources teams to bring new healthcare expertise to the workplace and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.” We can expect to see an increase in the need for HR specialists in occupational health and safety, along with the need for vendor partners to keep our essential workers safe.

Trend #1: More Focus on Virtual Interviews and Online Recruiting Events

“Prior to the pandemic we were facing a current and projected talent shortage for critical skills, like nurses. This will continue to be a challenge in 2021, making employer brand and candidate experience pivotal for healthcare companies and health systems. Our processes have already been adapted to work virtually, and this will continue as a practice in 2021. Virtual events will outpace in-person conferences and events in 2021, similar to 2020.“ —Lisa Kraska, VP of Human Resources at Baylor Scott & White Health

“The biggest trend we'll see talent acquisition move toward is finding candidates that want to work remotely. AI tools will make more of an impact on hiring and automated processes like at-home interviews and chat bot interview questions (prior to in-depth interviews) will rise in popularity.” —Bryan Nizer, Hire-ific

Related: How we help healthcare companies hire

Trend #2: Remote Labor and Rise in Telehealth Influences Healthcare Hiring

“Covid has had a major impact in the work sector over the past few months. I expect the remote labor force in my industry will be the basic plan and that freelancers will be used more often instead of workers. If we have learned anything from the pandemic it's that we can work from anywhere in the world, and going back to an office from 9-5 might be a challenge for the future of working-class Americans.” —William Schumacher, CEO & Founder of Uprising Food

“As far as hiring in the Healthcare industry, the most important thing employers are adapting to is how to keep their employees safe. Who can they keep working remotely, who needs to be in office, and how do they protect the health of those workers? Whether it comes to contact tracers, COVID result line operators, schedulers, mental health advocates, etc., there is definitely a steady rise in hiring in essential healthcare organizations through the pandemic and keeping those who can work remotely working from home as much as possible. Non-essential and elective clinics are going to take more time to get back to hiring. We have actually seen the biggest peak in hiring in the area of Mental Health, making sure there are enough people ready and able to answer crisis calls as they are up more than ever." —Kim Rasmussen, National Account Director of Avenica

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Trend #3: Non-traditional and Natural Industries In Healthcare Are Emerging, Changing the Talent Dynamic

“2021 will see a decrease in hiring for brick-and-mortar locations in the first quarter for sure as the pandemic continues, but online CBD retailers and manufacturers like ours are poised to increase hiring significantly as legalization efforts expand, a shift in government takes place, and consumers continue to seek comforts like CBD, alcohol, and self care items throughout the winter and spring.” —Ian Kelly, VP of Operations at NuLeaf Naturals

Trend #4: A Focus on EAP and Mental Health For Essential Workers and Families

For myself and so many others right now who are managing during one of the most uncertain and stressful times of our lives, mental health has become a priority for companies during the pandemic, and healthcare companies that are able to provide counseling services online are struggling to find qualified providers to keep up with the demand. 

Organizations are relying on EAP services more than ever before to ensure their employees are getting help from unprecedented stressors, such as homeschooling while working from home, isolation, loss of loved ones, and fear for their own  health and safety. That said, any healthcare employer will need to keep the stress of being a frontline essential worker at top of mind and ensure that care programs for their staff of caregivers are available.

“It will be more critical than ever to make sure we have the right talent in the right place in 2021. People are not going to put up with being unhappy in their job after 2020. Organizations will be forced to focus more than ever on organizational fit, culture fit, and finding ways to express how they focus on staff happiness and wellness during the recruiting process more than they ever have before.” —Amanda McNeil, AcctTwo Shared Services, LLC

Where will 2021 take us? We won’t know until we get there. The roles and responsibilities of talent acquisition leaders are changing to support our organizations and businesses. And I know that our fellow talent leaders are ready to step up to the challenge.

Topics: Recruiting Industry

Updated February 4, 2021