By Jessica Miller-Merrell
When it comes to social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn big brands are using them to connect, engage, and build relationships with consumers, end users, and raving fans. Even the healthcare industry has gotten the social networking bug using Twitter to update patient’s families and even YouTube to share patient care and experience stories.
Study Shows Doctors, Nurses, & Hospital Employees Use Social Media
A study released by Deloitte in 2011 found that more than 700 of the U.S.’ 5,000 hospitals have a social media and social networking presence to enhance their ability to market and communicate to stakeholders. So why wouldn’t it make sense for one of the most competitive and fastest growing industries to dive into using social media to help fuel their healthcare recruitment and employee retention efforts?
Interestingly enough in that same Deloitte study, sixty percent of physicians surveyed and 65% of nurses are interested in using social networks for professional purposes. Positions like doctors and nurses are very much in demand and often times the a very specialized position vacancy can impact the hospital, department, or healthcare organization negatively costing them two to three and half times the open position’s salary.
Internal & External Social Networks for Healthcare
Social networks are used by organizational including healthcare traditional two different ways: 1) Internal or 2) External. Internal social networks serve as an internal Facebook that is customized, hosted, and monitored by the hospital allowing for news, information, collaboration, and resources to be shared. External social networks are those outside of your company portal and are outward facing. These often overlap with many of your current marketing and patient engagement efforts except these conversations are centered around either information for current employees or career resources and job information to build relationships centered around the employer brand.
Chances are many of your communication tools and resources are already available online. Maybe it’s the hospital portal or an online-shared drive to store files, documents, and important spreadsheet information. Internal social networks can do all those things just like your portal, but one thing is missing, the engagement factor. Learning and relationship happens with communication, banter, and a back and forth between professional colleagues, peers, and friends. We learn, grow, and absorb making us enjoy our work even more because we like and are learning from the people we are working with. And because we enjoy our job and friends, we are engaged, productive, and active employee who plans on staying gainfully employed at your hospital or healthcare facility.
Take Ownership of Your Candidate Pipeline & Talent Network
One of the challenges of traditional external facing social networks is we don’t own or control the future of the community or the direction of the company where we have spent time, money, energy, and effort to grow that network. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn own the data and control the information much like traditional resume mining job board systems leaving recruiters and HR teams at the mercy of the network. While these systems are important to share job openings and for relationship building, organizations should take heed and continue driving their candidates to resources hosted within their own website or career page.
While HR teams and recruiters are always hiring and on the look out for good talent, these special relationships need to be further developed, evaluated, and fostered outside of a traditional hiring system or software like the ATS (applicant tracking system). This is where I believe a talent network comes into play and offer an invaluable opportunity for nearly any industry but especially healthcare to build a candidate pipeline that fosters candidate relationships and anticipates hiring needs before they actually happen.
Check out Part 2 of our Healthcare Social Networking Series.
Check out Part 2 of our Healthcare Social Networking Series.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs.
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