Written by Scott Liversidge, Managing Partner, Flame Health
With the global healthcare industry currently facing a major skills crisis, the task of finding the perfect candidate has become an expensive and time-consuming process. In an industry that requires such a niche skill set, it can often be a challenge to define the exact role that you need to fill to address the skills gap within your workforce, let alone find the right candidate who has both the required qualifications and experience that can successfully engage with the role.
With this skills gap in mind, more and more companies are being forced to invest both time and money in developing their chosen candidates in order to ensure that they have the necessary qualifications and skill set for the role. Investments of this scale – especially in the healthcare industry – can be very costly and significantly more so if the candidate leaves the company within just a year or two after finishing his or her training.
In this scenario, the funds and time that you have just spent on training the employee have essentially been wasted. Worse still, this loss is not restricted to just financial implications; the customer relationships and connections that the employee has created may be significantly affected and thus require urgent rebuilding. The expensive task of finding, hiring and retraining a replacement candidate will then create yet another burden, especially if ‘the replacement’ leaves in a similar fashion.
The threat of all these expenses can obviously make the process of searching for a suitable replacement a daunting process. As such, once the right candidates have been found, it is vital to ensure that you are in a position to offer the incentives and benefits that are needed to bring them on board initially and later to ensure they stay motivated and dedicated to the role they have accepted.
One of the most popular methods of attracting employees to a particular role is to provide them with an initial financial incentive that will give them the funds they need to help ease the burden of changing employers. This technique, known as a ‘golden handshake’, has proven to be a useful way of securing the right candidate once they have been offered a role.
While upfront payments like these can be an effective tool, a more tailored method of attraction can be far more effective, especially when negotiating with mature candidates who may have settled down with a family and are therefore reluctant (or cannot afford) to relocate. Although an offer of relocation support can be the first step in this process, other options include location salary supplements and a multiple year contract tie-in, as incentives like these can often help to keep employees motivated even in more remote geographical locations.
Flexible working can be another powerful tool to help you retain your best employees, regardless of their changing life circumstances. The option for remote working, in particular, can be very attractive for employees who have a long commute or external commitments, while part-time and term-time contracts can often be a desirable option for those with children.
If the situation calls for it, the employer should not be afraid to wield a proverbial ‘stick’ alongside any ‘carrots’ on offer. It is entirely feasible, for example, to draw up contracts that require new employees to pay back any of the company’s training or qualification costs if the employee leaves within a set period of time. Clauses like these will act as a strong deterrent to those who seek to use the company’s resources to improve their skills before taking up a position elsewhere. As such, restrictions like these can help to ensure that only serious and dedicated applicants choose to pursue employment opportunities with your company.
Finding the right candidate can clearly be a difficult, expensive and time-consuming process and keeping that candidate on board can be even harder. However, it need not be as expensive or time intensive as you think. The right incentives can be crucial in motivating and retaining your team, but it is important to remember that one size does not fit all. Having the ability to provide a customised benefits package for your employees can make the difference between a successful hire and the foreboding sigh as you set off to re-advertise a position that you thought you had secured 12 months ago.