Optimizing your recruitment process is crucial to succeeding in today’s labor market. Whether leveraging technology or changing your recruiting tactics, you should look for every and any way to improve your talent acquisition strategy. Unfortunately, some recruiters miss an opportunity to optimize their recruiting process by sourcing more diverse candidates.
As a healthcare recruiter, you need to prioritize diversity in your recruiting efforts. By implementing a diversity recruiting strategy, you can help facilities better understand and meet the needs of a diverse patient population. However, this task comes with its own set of challenges and benefits. In this blog post, we will explore what diversity looks like, the importance of sourcing diverse candidates, and some of the challenges and benefits of doing so.
What Does Diversity Look Like In Healthcare?
Before you can solve the healthcare diversity issue, it’s essential to understand what diversity means. It’s hard to answer the question, “what does diversity look like?” – since you can’t always see what makes a person different from the status quo.
Here are a few of the qualities and characteristics to determine diversity:
- Political beliefs
- Socioeconomic Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Level of Education
Diversity in healthcare means having a diverse team of medical staff with various experiences and backgrounds. Even military service can add to an individual’s unique background and experience, making it an important aspect of diversity.
It’s important to recognize the diverse nature of the patients seeking help in hospitals and clinics. Patients come from all walks of life, and Penn Medicine Health found that patients are more likely to trust their healthcare providers when they see themselves reflected in the healthcare workforce. This is one of the many reasons healthcare diversity is so important.
Why is Diversity Important in Healthcare?
Diversity is necessary for any industry; however, it is even more important in healthcare facilities because many minority groups are widely underrepresented. For example, the AAMC found that only 5% of active physicians identify as Black/African American.
This diversity issue isn’t limited to physicians – it extends to nurses, support staff, and allied health professionals like therapists. The ASHA found that only 23% of physical therapists and 26% of physical therapy assistants are considered racial or ethnic minorities. These disparities discourage minorities who wish to work in the healthcare industry. Furthermore, a lack of minority representation hurts minority patients.
In the U.S., there are still many disparities in available health providers, depending on race. For example, The average waiting time for African Americans needing kidney transplants is almost twice as long as that of white patients, according to the Health Professionals for Diversity (HPD).
Now that you know that a lack of diversity hurts minority healthcare workers, minority patients, and the entire industry, here are some benefits of prioritizing diverse sourcing and hiring practices.
Benefits of Sourcing Diverse Healthcare Candidates
Although diversity issues stem from serious systematic problems within the healthcare industry, your efforts to source diverse job-seekers can help. For example, the HPD also found that African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American physicians are much more likely than white physicians to practice in underserved communities and to treat larger numbers of minority patients, irrespective of income.
These studies also found that diversity can help improve patient care and outcomes. Shared experiences between providers and patients lead to better patient satisfaction, better interactions, and higher treatment success rates.
In addition to improved patient outcomes, diversity helps create a more inclusive work environment for all staff members. This helps promote creativity and engagement among teams. Diversity also encourages collaboration in diverse workplaces, which leads to better decision-making and projects with higher success rates.
Inclusive sourcing and hiring practices can help all stakeholders, including you. By spending the time and effort to seek out minority candidates, you will naturally widen your talent acquisition pool. You could gain a significant competitive edge over other recruiters stuck in outdated ways of thinking.
Unfortunately, some roadblocks can make diverse talent sourcing difficult for recruiters in the healthcare industry.
Challenges in Sourcing Diverse Healthcare Candidates
One major challenge for diversity recruiting is the limited pool of diverse candidates. Many industries throughout the U.S. are struggling with staffing shortages, including the healthcare industry. It’s hard enough to find any qualified candidates in some areas, diverse or not.
There is also a lack of cultural competence among recruiters regarding understanding different cultures and their unique needs. This lack of cultural competence can lead to misunderstandings during interviews or job placement processes, which can deter candidates from applying for or accepting job offers.
Another common sourcing challenge is Unconscious bias, when recruiters have an implicit preference for certain types of candidates, even if they don’t realize it. Unconscious bias can lead to recruiters overlooking diverse candidates during the hiring process.
For example, there’s a common bias that people of color should work lower-paying jobs. According to Health Professions Education, this stems from the current disparity in the healthcare industry that limits people of color to entry-level and often lower-paying jobs.
The truth is that the capabilities of a job candidate have nothing to do with skin color and ethnicity but have everything to do with their qualifications and experience. Unfortunately, many recruiters allow their biases to prevent them from using diverse employees or recognizing talent when it’s outside the stereotypical “standard” for a particular field. Thankfully, there are ways to combat these challenges.
Diverse Sourcing Strategies
Limit Unconscious Bias
Before you start the search for diverse candidates, take time to identify sources of bias in your hiring process. Ensure that all job postings clearly state that diversity is a priority, and be aware of any unconscious preferences while interviewing. Look into some culturally competent interview strategies.
While you can do things to limit unconscious bias, you are only human. Another great way to circumnavigate your biases is to utilize new healthcare recruiting technology. For example, you can use AI software to automate sourcing tasks. AI looks for all the necessary qualifications and credentials without considering biases about race or ethnicity.
Expand Your Search
Once you are ready to begin sourcing, look beyond traditional channels. You can utilize specialized job boards by including diverse and inclusive language within your job descriptions and listings.
Also, try to attend events and job fairs in diverse communities. You can also look for professional organizations focusing on diversity recruitment or partner with other healthcare recruiters to share talent pools.
Fatima Cody Stanford introduced some diversity strategies for healthcare organizations, including engagement with local communities and schools to give underrepresented groups early exposure to different healthcare fields. As a recruiter pursuing a diverse talent pool, students can be a great way to expand your future pipeline of diverse candidates.
Collaborate with Healthcare Organizations
In addition to these strategies for diversity recruiting efforts, you should collaborate with the organizations you recruit for. The goal is to create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of all individuals. The last thing you want to do is recruit a diverse candidate to a facility where they can’t succeed.
Healthcare organizations should create an action plan to eliminate bias and ensure that all policies align with their diversity and inclusion mission. Do your research on the facility you’re recruiting for, and ask them questions about their commitment to diversity.
You can also suggest that these healthcare facilities have employee resource groups, provide mentorship and coaching opportunities, or offer additional resources for diverse healthcare workers. When possible, try to match the healthcare organization with a relevant diversity training program and help them develop an overall strategy for creating an inclusive workplace culture.
Leverage Your Network
As you implement some of these strategies, you’ll naturally build a more diverse network of healthcare professionals. Leverage these relationships — ask trusted clients to recommend diverse candidates or encourage them to spread the word about opportunities. This can be an effective way to get more exposure for your job postings and find new top talent.
Ultimately, it’s crucial not only to source a diverse workforce of healthcare workers but also to provide ongoing support so that those individuals have successful careers in healthcare.
Implement Diverse Sourcing Into Your Recruiting Process
Increasing diversity takes everyone’s effort, but healthcare recruiters can make a significant impact by sourcing a diverse pool of candidates. You must advocate for diversity initiatives and use your recruiting skills to find the best candidates. Utilize strategies such as reducing unconscious bias, expanding your search, and leveraging your network to optimize your recruiting process for diversity.
By using diversity sourcing, you can help create more equitable healthcare workplaces and ensure everyone has an equal chance of success. You can also build a competitive advantage over other recruiters. It truly is a win-win situation, so start implementing diverse sourcing today.