IHS Retention Briefs | Volume 3 — Issue 9
October 2016
Photo of Employees

One key to retention is hiring the right candidate in the first place.

Successful Retention Starts with Recruiting

Recruitment and retention are different tasks often handled by different people, but each task has a stake in ensuring satisfied employees for the long term. Often when organizations start fine-tuning their retention strategies, they realize that a key facet of retaining good employees is hiring the right candidate in the first place.

Matching a health profession candidate to an open position at IHS can be an intricate process. While a job candidate may share your organization’s commitment to providing quality access to care, his or her first preference to work in an urban facility using state-of-the-art technology wouldn’t necessarily apply to placement within a rural facility that offers scarce amenities and limited access to modern-world conveniences.

On the other hand, a candidate who has an appreciation for new adventures, locations, communities and cultures and who wants to make a difference in the lives of those he or she serves would be a natural fit for the rural, remote facilities in need of highly skilled, culturally competent health professionals.

Matching a Candidate to an Area

Today’s crop of young, skilled clinicians starting out in their careers often seek the recreational opportunities many IHS Area sites have to offer. In fact, each IHS geographic Area should be promoted to attract today’s millennials who are driven by physical fitness-related goals and often apply that raw energy to both their work ethic and leisure-time pursuits.

Alaska: snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, fishing
Albuquerque: desert trekking, hiking, horseback riding, skiing
Bemidji: fishing, boating, camping, hunting
Billings: skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, horseback riding
California: sun, sand, Redwoods, water sports, desert trekking, hiking
Great Plains: horseback riding, fishing, skiing, rock climbing
Nashville: camping, rock climbing, off-roading, hiking
Navajo: hunting, kayaking, camping, skiing
Oklahoma City: golfing, fishing, boating, watersports
Phoenix: camping, hiking, rafting, fishing
Portland: skiing, camping, hunting, hiking, kayaking
Tucson: horseback riding, golfing, tennis, hiking, skiing
Global Recruitment Initiative Leads to Retention

Recruiting the right people — and more of them — is the focus of the IHS Office of Human Resources (OHR) Global Recruitment initiative. It aims to streamline recruiting by making it easier for health professionals to find and apply for jobs while allowing hiring officials to fill critical vacancies faster.

“This new recruitment strategy is a top priority for the Office of Human Resources and IHS Senior Leadership,” says Lisa Gyorda, OHR Acting Director.

The first Global Recruitment job announcement went up October 3 highlighting Family Practice Physicians. Global job opportunity announcements (JOAs) in other high-demand health profession disciplines will follow.

The Global Recruitment initiative consolidates all vacancies for the same position under a single announcement, listing participating locations and salary ranges. (USAJOBS includes only federal listings; Tribal and Urban Indian Program jobs will still be posted on the IHS.gov/jobs website.)

Global Recruitment allows for efficiencies in hiring for both human resources and hiring managers, reduces redundancy for commonly recruited positions and attracts a greater pool of qualified candidates. Applicants will only need to apply to one job announcement and will be able to identify those areas of interest by simply checking off locations.

Job postings will be limited in time and have periodic applicant cutoffs so hiring managers don’t have to wait until the closing of the announcement to start interviewing candidates.

RELATIONSHIPS ARE KEY: Physicians identify lifestyle and cultural involvement as benefits for working for IHS. 96% — Patient Relationships, 93% — Professional and Collegial Relationships, 86% — Cultural Amenities, 85% — Appreciation Within the Community. Source: Merritt Hawkins survey of clinicians and administrators, 2011.


Keeping Long-term Retention in Mind

Finding candidates who will be a good fit for an enduring career in Indian health is especially important in the current job market. Because overall hiring has picked up (all industries), today’s professionals seem to be on the lookout for the next opportunity, according to Jobvite’s 2015 Job Seeker Nation Study. Jobvite found that 45% of workers overall and 55% of health care employees would leave their positions even though they are happy in their current position.

Here are seven tips to ensure your recruitment strategy keeps retention in mind:

1. Look for a good cultural fit. Describe what it’s like to work at your facility and talk about your organization’s mission, values and the American Indian/Alaska native people you serve. The clearer you are about what you offer and expect, the more likely you will attract candidates who are a good fit.

2. Be specific about daily tasks. Being clear from the beginning will help ensure that candidates are not disappointed that their daily routine and tasks are not as glamorous or exciting as the job initially sounded.

3. Articulate opportunities for growth and advancement. While candidates are motivated by money, they also want a job where they can advance and grow, says job search site Glassdoor.com. Help candidates see how they can keep growing with your company throughout their career.

4. Ask about hobbies and lifestyle. Many successful Indian health candidates enjoy an active lifestyle and outdoor recreation; they also appreciate living life at a more relaxed pace. They keep an open mind when experiencing new environments and are open to living in remote locations — especially when Indian health sites are among the most beautiful in the country!

5. Look for examples of focus and commitment. When evaluating candidates, look for how long they have actively worked in the field and how many jobs they’ve held, advises human resources outsourcing company Paychex.com. Consider candidates with a track record of stability.

6. Help new hires get acclimated and immersed in the culture. If someone they know and trust checks in periodically to make sure the job is living up to their expectations, employees will continue to put forth their best efforts.

7. Begin early fostering strong relationships. During onboarding, allocate time for new hires to begin forming a relationship with their manager and to meet colleagues from around the facility.

Help new hires succeed and find a place in your organization by fostering open communication and a path to growth and career success.

Sources: Glassdoor.com; Paychex.com; Jobvite.com.

The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

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