HR and recruitment professionals in the healthcare sector forced to face the facts and figures

The high turnout at the seminar ‘Healthcare Sector Labour Market Strategy 2020’ on 12th November 2019, indicated that labour market strategy is high on the agenda for many a healthcare organisation. A couple of months ago, the organisers, Staffing MS (part of HeadFirst Group), Compagnon and Intrakoop put their heads together on how to support healthcare organisations with their market strategy. The seminar at Stadskasteel Oudaen in Utrecht was the result, providing a platform for various industry experts to share concrete guidelines on how to create a policy based on facts and data, and to make optimal use of the resources available.

Bitter PNIL

Membership organisation, Intrakoop kicked off the afternoon with the greatest challenges facing HR. According to Procurement and Product Manager, Simone Nicolaes, top of the agenda is PNIL (non-employees). Intrakoop analysed the annual reports of all its members and concluded that the average PNIL costs rose by 2.7 per cent between 2014 and 2018. These costs now sit at 5-10 per cent; a level considered undesirable by all sectors – hospitals (ZKH), mental healthcare (GGZ), handicapped care (GHZ) and nursing, care and home care (VVT). Nevertheless, Nicolaes expects the costs only to increase, among others as a result of the introduction of the WAB act (Balanced Labour Market Act) as of 1st January 2020. In addition, she warns that the proliferation in PNIL suppliers and lack of insight in collaborations and spending scope is causing issues.

“It isn’t just about acknowledging there’s a problem; what matters is using data to find solutions.”
– Geert-Jan Waasdorp (Director at Intelligence Group)

Know your audience

“Those who know their audience: win the heart of the labour market, can advise hiring managers properly, do not get surprised and can surprise, and never have recruitment problems”, began second speaker, Geert-Jan Waasdorp (Director at Intelligence Group). But how can you get to know your target group? The answer, he says, lies in the data, as summarised in the research report ‘Healthcare Labour Market in Numbers’. Compagnon’s annual research publication, conducted by Intelligence Group, was shared for the first time during the seminar. In the report, Waasdorp shows the reality of the healthcare labour market.
It surprises Waasdorp that the healthcare sector is perceived to be taking a financial blow when it comes to recruiting healthcare professionals. How can that be, when it is also the largest sector providing work? He also believes that some interesting target groups are being overlooked. For example, people with a migration background or inflow from education. Not forgetting the self-employed, of course. Once you know their motivation and the proposition factors they value, you have a wealth of information at your disposal that will enable you to mobilise this target group in a much more specific way.

Arbeidsmarktstrategie zorgsector 2020

But what exactly do healthcare professionals want? And what don’t they want? A brief summary:

  • Healthcare professionals expect on average 2 interviews and an application process that lasts on average 22 workdays.
  • In terms of the interview, they like to be equal parties to the employer in the conversation, and nothing pleases them more than getting to meet their future teammates / colleagues.
  • Being able to cycle to work is a huge bonus.
  • Most healthcare professionals prefer an average working week of between 24 and 29 hours.
  • They attach greater importance to a permanent contract than does the rest of the Dutch working population, rating it higher than a good salary, even.
  • The most used apps among healthcare professionals are WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, and weather app, Buienradar (after all, they want to be able to bike to work).
  • Typical apps among this target group are: Scoupy, Candy Crush, Pinterest, Wordfeud and Marktplaats
  • Nursing, V&VN Magazine, Farmacotherapeutisch Kompas, Nurse Academy and NVDA are the top five most-read trade journals.

And Waasdorp has much more to share. He has enough data to really understand the Healthcare Labour Market. Attendees at the ‘Healthcare Sector Labour Market Strategy 2020’ seminar received a copy of the research report. Interested in the findings? Download the second edition of the annual report here.

“€5,000 on a secondment agency is ‘nothing’. Yet the same amount spent on training is considered problematic”
– Geert-Jan Waasdorp (Director at Intelligence Group)

Close to home

With over 40 years’ experience in HR and healthcare, Pauline Roest (HR Manager at LangeLand Ziekenhuis) is perfectly placed to talk about recruitment in practice. A candid story in which she stresses how recruitment at LangeLand has evolved for the better over the years, but still has a long way to go. Joining the Reinier Haga Group has benefited the hospital in many ways, but also brings with it its own struggles. Such as the lack of a CAO (collective labour agreement) and agreements to which they must keep as part of the group.

“In 2017, it was all hands on deck to recruit 40 staff for the orthopaedics department. It was fab to see how we were able to make it happen, together. Now that the labour market is getting more crowded, it is important that basic recruitment becomes the ‘front door’ of a magnet-hospital”, explains Roest. Through initiatives like Volg je Hart, speed dating sessions and a Work for Us website shortly due to be launched, the LangeLand Hospital has successfully filled no less than 230 vacancies in the past two years!

Master the basics: sounds easier than it is

The second practical example was illustrated by Marianne Tulp (former Head of HR & Organisational Development at Frankelandgroep). In her view, the way in which an organisation operates has a huge bearing on the wellbeing, vitality and work satisfaction of the employee. “That’s why you need to be a vital and attractive organisation, first and foremost. Because only then are you an attractive employer to work for and stay working for”, shares Tulp.

“If the basics are in place, programmes around sustainable employment and reducing sick leave will be more effective.”
– Marianne Tulp (former Head of HR & Organisational Development at Frankelandgroep)

She continues: “At a vital organisation, everything comes together: good leadership, a meticulous HR policy, enough people to be able to do the job properly, a good atmosphere, attention and appreciation, training possibilities and opportunities for growth.” Tulp takes participants through the choices available to organisations, particularly those she herself has made consciously throughout her career. “Many of the measures I’ve mentioned require research, analysis and policy decisions. This isn’t something that happens overnight. But what matters is to remain appealing as an organisation so that you retain your staff.” Tulp concludes with several things that organisations can start with tomorrow and that, better still, are free:

  • Show your staff attention and appreciation./li>
  • Have Board / Management join work meetings.
  • Listen to what staff have to say and what is important to them.
  • Ask staff directly, what could be done differently or better.
  • Be a nice colleague yourself; it makes work more fun..
  • There is a lot of knowledge in-house – use it.
  • … celebrate successes together!

“Try to see the job as ‘ordering a job’. Does it become easier or harder?”
– Frank Roders (Director at Compagnon)

Best practise recruitment

“Sometimes things can be very simple. But the main thing is that they’re done properly”, claims Frank Roders (Director at Compagnon). He believes that there are eight areas to get straight as a HR or recruitment professional. “Start at the beginning and keep taking little steps forward. Not only do you need a good recruiter, you also need them to use a solid process.” Together with Paul Oldenburg (Business Development at Staffing MS), Roders gives a synopsis of the afternoon. According to Oldenburg, the healthcare sector sees its 5-10% external hiring as high, when actually, compared to other sectors, this number is low. The average sits at around 20%. “There are still only very few organisations that list permanent and temporary posts together on a ‘Work for Us’ website. Whilst you should really see flex as a source for permanent.”

Arbeidsmarktstrategie zorgsector 2020 figuur 2

This post is also available in: Dutch