LIMA — In the healthcare industry, projecting future workforce needs can be a challenge since many Baby Boomers are foregoing retirement to work for another few years.
But that doesn’t mean hiring managers aren’t actively seeking a younger generation of workers.
At Lima Memorial Health System, it’s often a difficult balance between keeping experienced employees in the workforce and recruiting the newest generation of workers, Millennials.
“We appreciate keeping those Baby Boomers in the workforce longer to share their expertise and their experience, so you don’t necessarily want to go out and say, ‘Tell us when you’re planning to retire,’” said Denise Kiraly, director of human resources and organization development at Lima Memorial Health System. “That would send the wrong message.”
Instead, Lima Memorial uses a range of potential retirement dates, based on its current workforce, to predict when people might retire.
“That allows us to proactively plan our recruitment based on those needs,” Kiraly said.
St. Rita’s Medical Center performs a similar retirement analysis.
“We look at the age of our groups, especially our large position groups like (registered nurses), and then we forecast when we would expect those groups to retire,” said Jennifer Van Tillburgh, human resources director at St. Rita’s. “After that, we plan for how our recruitment is going to look.”
Van Tillburgh admits that recruiting the newest generation of workers is “a lot different” than it was 20 years ago. Instead of advertising positions in traditional outlets such newspapers, they reach out through a medium that Millennials know all too well — social media.
“We couldn’t have imagined using that even five years ago to recruit, but that’s just the norm now,” she said.
St. Rita’s also holds career fairs and summer youth programs at the hospital, and it has established relationships with local high schools, colleges, universities and even middle schools.
“Sometimes high school is even too late, so we’re trying to expose them to healthcare even earlier,” she said.
Other potential attractors for Millennial workers lie inside the hospital. In St. Rita’s main lobby, Millennials and all other employees are able to purchase fresh coffee and pastries from Starbucks. Courtney O’Banion, a 27-year-old communications coordinator for the hospital, said having a Starbucks inside the facility is a perk that she thoroughly enjoys each day.
A couple floors up, a fitness center allows St. Rita’s employees to work out without ever leaving the building. A personal trainer that works specifically with St. Rita’s associates is available to help them with their fitness goals, and it’s all free of charge. O’Banion said the fitness center was another perk she enjoys, as do many other Millennials workers the hospital employs.
At Lima Memorial, Tillburgh said they take a two-pronged approach to recruiting Millennials: using social media to attract young workers and making it easy to apply for a job.
Hiring managers at Lima Memorial use the typical social media websites to promote available positions, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But they have also developed a mobile application that allows young workers to apply on their smart phones.
“Making it easy, quick and relevant to people of that generation is important, we’ve found,” Kiraly said.
Along with a web-based approach, Lima Memorial also makes its presence known in the community. Associates attended MakerFest for the first time this year and were able to speak one-on-one with high school students throughout the event. St. Rita’s also attended MakerFest, which is a three-day career expo that occurs each year in Lima.
“We want to make sure we’re reaching all those potential forums,” Kiraly said. “Wherever there’s an opportunity to recruit, we want to be there.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @Bush_Lima.