9 Ways to Drive NHS Recruitment and Retention

NHS worker

The Just R team have been working alongside the NHS for the last 7 years, supporting them in the attraction, onboarding and retention of their workforce. We have worked with over 60 Trusts across the UK, gaining insights and a unique perspective on improvements which can be made.

We know that innovating the recruitment process and delivering outstanding onboarding is key to driving workforce growth and retention.

Below is a list of simple and affective ways NHS teams can improve recruitment processes:

1. Treat candidates as people; people who deserve a high level of customer service.

Remember, every candidate has the potential to become an advocate or adversary of your organisation, with the potential to recommend or put people off working for you. What people say about you directly affects your Employer Brand, so when people typically tell around 9 others about a bad experience, this is a vital consideration. 

2. Make the application process as simple as possible,

with any application forms to be completed digitally. 60% of candidates will quit the application process if it’s too long or complex.

3. Diversify your attraction and recruitment techniques,

ensure you are always considering your audience and understand that restrictive recruitment methods no longer cut it – reaching passive candidates is vital to recruiting in higher numbers.

4. Connect on a human to human level.

This means a phone call or in person, particularly if this is for a hard-to-recruit-to position.

4. Invite candidates to interview as soon as possible

and don’t ask them to jump through too many hoops. There are >46,000 nurse vacancies in the NHS alone. Candidates have many options, so don’t risk putting them off through asking them to carry out unnecessary steps.

5. Personalise invitations to ensure a greater chance of turnout at interview:

calls, text messages, personalised email reminders the day before, ask for their coffee order or offer a personal tour during the visit. These are steps that will provide greater commitment from the candidate.

Recruitment processes blog, healthcare worked attending to patient

CapitalMidwife, midwives laughing together

6. Get teams involved.

People buy people and utilising your teams to advertise jobs helps discover whether teams will gel as well as actively improving retention and staff morale. 

7. Wrap around your existing students!

There will be students on wards within your Trust who have not yet made their mind up as to what to do once they qualify. Make sure they know they are wanted and will be supported through their application and transition. Better still, fast track the application process for them (no matter what the official process is, it doesn’t make sense).

Rules which don’t make sense are the ones which require push back. Your Trust and the NHS cannot afford to lose great students just because they’re not made to feel special due to organisational processes.

8. Question the process.

Just because something is done in a certain way, if it feels onerous then have the courage to question whether changes can be made.

9. Look for alternative processes

already in place elsewhere in your organisation or another Trust altogether. What is the process for recruitment events or international recruits, is there anything being done there which will benefit business as usual processes? 

Airedale Community Nurse

Bradford Teaching Hospitals nurse

Work with Just R to develop your Employer Brand and attract great people to your organisation
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