Human services organizations are currently experiencing an increase in demand for the programs they offer to their communities. As the U.S population ages and the issue mental health gains political, cultural, and international attention, more Americans are seeking help from licensed, qualified professionals in their area. While human services executives love to see their facilities being used to their full potential, they’re currently faced with the challenge of adequately staffing their organizations to meet the current demand for their services and preparing their workforce for the future. Unfortunately, these executives are forced to overcome unique recruitment issues that are specific to human services organizations.
With that said, it seems that executives are heavily focusing on improving their recruitment efforts in 2018. The DATIS 2018 State of Workforce Management report, which identifies the current challenges and goals of human services professionals, recently uncovered that 65% of executives are prioritizing their recruiting efforts in the year ahead. With so much attention being paid to onboarding impactful employees to maintain a high quality of care to patients and clients, executives must not only understand the major recruitment issues impacting their organizations, but also implement strategies to overcome these issues and build their workforce to combat increases in service demand.
Here are a few of the current recruitment issues that human services organizations are currently facing, and some tips on how to overcome them.
Issue: Attracting Talent
In an ideal scenario, executives would have numerous, qualified applicants per open position within their organization. The more applicants that apply for a job, the more choices the employer has, increasing their chances of hiring the right candidate. Unfortunately, it seems that attracting top talent is a major recruitment issue for human services organizations. As part of the 2018 State of Workforce Management survey, only 22% of respondents said their organization did an ‘excellent’ or ‘very good job’ at attracting talent. More alarmingly, 41% admitted that their organization did a ‘poor’ or ‘fair’ job. Clearly, many executives see room much room for improvement.
Given that many human services organizations are also nonprofits, working on tight budgets, one of the most cost effective and most successful, ways to attract top talent is by word-of-mouth. Having employees share job openings with friends, former colleagues, and social media connections can boost a job posting’s exposure and increase the credibility of an applicant simultaneously. Offering referral bonuses will also incentivize employees to help internal recruitment efforts.
Outside of word-of-mouth, executives can guarantee that their job postings get in front of the right job seekers at the right time by investing in recruiting software. Modern recruiting software automatically posts job postings to leading job boards, and when potential candidates hit ‘Apply,’ they get redirected back to the organization’s personal career site. This not only expedites the application process for job seekers, but it also helps organizations view, organize, compare, and take appropriate action with all submitted applications. With the help of such software solutions, executives can even customize their applicant site to showcase their organization’s mission, benefits, and culture.
Issue: Offering Competitive Salaries and Benefits
When asked to identify the biggest challenge they face when it comes to recruiting, more than half of executives admitted struggling with offering applicants’ competitive salaries and benefits. As previously stated, many of human services organizations don’t have the ability to offer enormous salaries with flashy benefits packages due to their tight budgets and limited resources. Fortunately, there are ways for executives to overcome this hurdle with the help of a well-thought out recruiting strategy.
It’s fair to say that the majority of human services professionals aren’t in it for money. The human services workforce is made up of difference makers, not money chasers, where employees are empathetic, caring, patient, and most of all, they’re passionate. They want to make a positive impact in their community. Appealing the organization’s mission, vision, and values when writing job descriptions will help motivate job seekers to choose that job over a competitor’s slightly higher paying position.
It’s also a good idea for executives to explore various benefits they can offer employees without breaking the bank or disrupting employee output. HR Magazine recently released a list of cost-effective benefits that executives can begin implementing into their organizations. Aside from benefits, going the extra mile to make a more inviting, fun workplace can also bring overcome the salary and benefit issue. It might not seem like much, but celebrating employee birthdays, taking team lunches, and being flexible with PTO can go a long way with current and future employees.
Issue: Finding Qualified Applicants
Over 140 participants of the 2018 State of Workforce Management report revealed that they actively struggle finding qualified applicants. Given that many human services positions require some form of credentials, it’s crucial that all applicants have the required paperwork to assume the positon they are applying for, which is especially true when considering the expensive fines and costly penalties associated with noncompliance.
For starters, all job descriptions should include the position’s requirements. That’s a simple way to make sure that all job seekers that truly read through your listing understand what will be needed of them if hired. That will help decrease the amount of ‘out of place’ applicants from getting to the employer. But to truly find qualified applicants, executives will have to be willing do some networking. Visiting conferences, attending trade shows, and talking with other industry leaders that can provide insight and ideas will help executives better understand where the qualified applicants are hiding in their local job market.
As human services organizations continue to grow and serve more clients, it’s essential that executives are onboarding the right talent, to the right positions, at the right time. While these organizations struggle to attract talent, offer competitive salaries and benefits, and locate qualified applicants, they can find hope in the fact that there are solutions available to overcome these hurdles.
For more information on human services recruiting, download the DATIS Recruiting Datasheet.