3 Ways to Recruit and Retain the Best Hospital Staff

Increasing numbers of university graduates are walking away with degrees funneling them into the healthcare industry, yet many HR leaders in hospitals of all sizes are still unable to find the right talent during recruitment. 

Not only is the pool of candidates meager compared to the needs of the industry, there is also increasing competition between employers. The need to stand out in order to recruit and retain top physicians and staff is a priority, but not a simple challenge to address.

Recruitment and retention problems are well documented, but what are some solutions HR departments and healthcare organizations can start to implement and embrace now?

Solution #1: Create a strong culture focused on human connection

How: Assess leadership’s approach to work and the extent to which they are involved in the wider organization. Does every physician, nurse, and custodian know the name of your CEO? Further, do they know the character of your top leaders?

Although culture is the responsibility of every individual employee, it typically starts at the top. If your leadership is not bought into creating a strong culture for all staff, then it will be an uphill battle to strengthen it. The most talented people in your prospective employee pool know the reputations of different systems and this can impact the attractiveness of a job opening you are hard pressed to fill.

It is leadership’s role to set clear direction for the entire system and to ensure all employees know that they are valued contributors to that system. But culture isn’t strengthen just by telling employees they matter, the best leaders ask their people questions in order to adapt to change. Leaders should engage their employees to weigh into current strengths and weaknesses within the system in order to lead change when necessary or identify where culture can be strengthened.

Impact: Creating a strong culture that is focused on human connection between all levels of your hospital system sets you apart from competitors. Your current staff become your value proposition in attracting the best talent from a shrinking pool.

Not only can you bring in more high quality contributors, but your healthy culture and brand will translate to the quality of patient care.

Solution #2: Create a consistent, quality recruitment and onboarding process

How: Review your current recruitment process. Is it consistent yet adaptable depending on the needs of the department and location where you are hiring? Once staff are hired, are there clear milestones in the onboarding process? Does the process tie back to your culture, making your new hire feel like part of the larger system?

It is tempting to get new hires focused on their tasks early on. However, they have valuable insight during their narrow onboarding window. They can be the best people to ask for feedback on the clarity of your culture and ways to improve the hiring process. Engage them early with quick check-ins on a systematic basis to learn how you are doing and if they feel supported.

Impact: With a streamlined hiring and onboarding process, new hires are able to start contributing to the wider organization in more meaningful ways. They will more quickly feel like they are part of the culture and will have fewer challenges that can surface due to poor onboarding later on.

Solution #3: Provide training and opportunities for growth

How: If you want to attract the best, they need to know that there will be ongoing opportunities to grow and learn. Top performers always strive to be better, so your organization needs to continue to provide opportunities to learn.

Impact: An obvious outcome of regular and high quality training is improved patient care. However, successfully implemented training and development programs have also led to increased retention in many hospitals. Given that losing a nurse can cost a system upwards of $58,000 and losing a physician averages a loss of $250,000, it is paramount to keep your talent engaged and learning so as not to take on those losses.


Although you might have an increased focused on recruitment tools that utilize artificial intelligence, chatbots, etc., there is still a vital place for human connection between current and prospective employees.

Waggl is the most human way that leading hospital systems stay on the pulse of their people across all segments. Contact us to plan time to discuss how you can use Waggl to strengthen your culture, engage new hires, and provide valuable training to recruit and retain the best.