The UVM Health Network is tackling nationwide workforce shortages in health care by implementing innovative strategies to attract and hire new employees. The severe shortage of health care providers, nurses, technicians, and support staff across the country has created fierce competition for candidates and recruiters alike, making it challenging for hospitals and healthcare organizations to meet the growing needs of patients.
A Lead Talent Acquisition Partner at UVM Health Network, Chelsea Therrien, stated, "When we get good candidates, we cannot sit on them for any time…[there is] so much opportunity out there right now that if we wait, [those candidates] are going to be gone." Therrien's workdays are spent on the phone, writing emails, instant messaging and engaging in video meetings with potential UVM Health Network candidates. Everything has to be quick when you're a health care recruiter in 2023.
To alleviate the pressure caused by an extreme staffing shortage, the UVM Health Network has relied on temporary staff, commonly known as "travelers." However, this is not a sustainable long-term solution due to the financial implications of employing temporary employees and travelers.
UVMHN launched a centralized Talent Acquisition team last year in response to growing recruitment challenges. This new, more unified approach is network-wide: Instead of each UVM hospital and home health organization having a separate recruitment team, this new system allows recruiters to focus on specific roles needed across all UVM Health Network locations. A centralized Talent Acquisition strategy allows UVMHN recruiters to become experts in those particular positions and thus better support their candidates. The results of this new approach have been promising, with over 10,000 jobs filled since the beginning of 2021, including over 1,000 nurses hired in both 2021 and 2022.
To expand the applicant pool further, UVM Health Network's recruitment team also identifies and promotes jobs that can be done remotely or in a hybrid setup. This modern workforce strategy aims to attract individuals who prefer flexible work arrangements.
UVMHN's Talent Acquisition team has incorporated recruitment technology into the hiring process to expedite time-consuming tasks such as reference checks and interview scheduling. While always maintaining a human touch in candidate interactions, recruitment technology has improved convenience and streamlined the process for prospective hires.
Many of UVMHN's new recruitment strategies developed during the pandemic's peak, such as virtual interviews and remote work options, have been beneficial. UVM's Health Network currently employs over 150 individuals from more than 30 states, with an additional 40 employees working remotely in New York for our Vermont locations.
Despite these innovative strategies, challenges in health care recruitment continue to persist. High real estate costs and limited housing availability have hindered UVMHN recruitment. The UVM Health Network partnered with Snyder-Braverman Development to build apartment structures exclusively for UVM Health Network staff and their families (to address the housing and relocation issue). The Network's first apartment building has 61 units in South Burlington. A second housing complex, which will offer 120 apartment units and even childcare facilities, was announced in December 2022 and is currently in development.
The commitment to housing development projects reflects our organization's broader perspective on hiring and employee retention. UVMHN recognizes that these issues extend beyond human resources and require collaborative efforts to find solutions. Despite the ongoing workforce shortages in the health care industry, the UVM Health Network's innovative recruitment and employee support approach is paving the way for improved staffing and enhanced patient care.
If you are interested or know someone who might be interested in a career at the UVM Health Network, visit our Careers page for a comprehensive list of open positions and more information.