Each year, healthcare companies spend tens of thousands of dollars recruiting competitive talent and prospective candidates from all across the country. To match rapidly changing demographics and to increase the diversity of minority populations, including candidates with disabilities, people of color, women, veterans, members of the LGBTQ+ community and more, hiring managers and hospital leaders are performing top-to-bottom audits of their hiring processes and recruitment strategies.
Kevin Hardy, director of interim and executive recruiting at HealthTechS3, says taking a critical look at and identifying possible barriers or systematic hurdles is an essential step for providers committed to increasing diversity in the workplace. Hardy, who led a recent webinar in April about what hiring managers must stop doing to increase diversity, says this webinar will complement the former by focusing on hidden obstacles within the hiring and recruitment process.
“There are so many underrepresented minorities that aren’t on hospital boards, in healthcare systems or in the C-suite,” Hardy says. “Of course, recruiting and hiring diverse candidates isn’t just about hiring for those higher positions, but who you choose to fill those leadership positions should reflect the values and principles of your organization.”
Hardy says leaders must also consider how a lack of diversity could prove detrimental to the health of their organization.
“On the patient side, it’s been shown consistently that if you don’t have diversity among your healthcare providers, then it will have an adverse effect on the minorities within your patient population,” Hardy explains. “For instance, if you look at the patient populations who were most impacted by COVID-19 in terms of death, it was overwhelmingly minorities. Organizations have to do more and be intentional about building a more diverse workplace to build trust between patients and providers.”
Hardy reveals that one common hiring misstep he sees comes down to sourcing.
“A lot of hospitals exclusively source on platforms that are disproportionately overrepresented by the same group of candidates,” Hardy says. “By sourcing from only a few major universities, you are automatically excluding candidates from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who would be tremendous assets.”
Hardy also says that if hospitals are serious about making strategic changes to build more diverse and inclusive workplaces, then hiring managers and decision-makers need to step outside their comfort zone.
“People need to start being uncomfortable if they want to be successful,” Hardy says. “Minority candidates experience situations when they’re uncomfortable all the time. Hiring managers and leadership have to be intentional about embarking on this process or it won’t be successful. Being intentional about something you may already feel uncomfortable with can be challenging.”
Luckily, Hardy has tried-and-true strategies for rural hospitals to follow when building effective roadmaps that are authentic to their organization’s mission and patient population. Specific steps include best practices for what should or should not happen at the beginning stages—when sourcing or interviewing candidates— and the later stages—when extending offers to negotiating salaries and onboarding.
Hardy says another fundamental consideration must be centered around employee retention, which is why diversity and inclusion must be a stated priority across the entire organization. How managers and leadership not only keep those diverse candidates, but also promote and utilize them is essential.
“If you show passion and you step out of your comfort zone because you believe in committing to diversity initiatives, then people tend to follow you,” Hardy says. “To attract passionate and committed talent, hospitals need to take the lead and show their own passion and commitment first.”
To learn more about uncovering systematic hurdles and historic barriers in the hiring and recruitment process, tune in to the webinar The Hiring System & Its Hidden Obstacles: A Roadmap to Increasing Diversity at Your Company on June 25 at noon. Led by Hardy, the webinar will provide participants with useful resources to build practical action plans designed to revise and revamp their hiring system. Reserve your spot today.