When the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit hard in a lot of American cities, the healthcare industry suddenly found itself in the middle of what seemed like wartime conditions. Severely and critically ill people were being brought to the hospitals by the hundreds and thousands each day, and many patients died waiting, without ever being admitted to a proper hospital room.
The healthcare industry responded to the challenge by stepping up their capabilities to deliver excellent patient care and treatment. They ramped up hiring of additional doctors, surgeons, nurses, caregivers, and other hospital staff. But a lot of them encountered difficulties due to lack of remote hiring tools such as a good Applicant Tracking System. Most didn’t have interview and assessment platforms for remote hiring.
Finding itself in the epicenter of change, some healthcare organizations found it difficult to adjust to the challenges posed by the remote hiring of healthcare professionals. Here are some of their challenges.
- Longer Time To Hire
Like most other industries prior to the pandemic, the healthcare industry was so accustomed to a manual hiring process. Roles in healthcare professions are very skill-specific. Oftentimes, they want to see demonstrable skills, capabilities, and competencies that the applicant can really do the job well. As a result, the hiring process becomes longer.
Healthcare applicants undergo all sorts of special skills tests. For instance, lab technicians have to show they know how to operate laboratory machines for the usual tests done there. Nurses and other healthcare professionals have to be tested whether they’re familiar with most procedures in patient care management.
The consequences of hiring the wrong person for the job, or someone who doesn’t really have the skills required for the role, are extremely far-reaching. To avoid this, lengthy and rigorous testing, and attention to detail during the hiring process is required. With remote hiring, this has become more difficult because some of the tests have to be administered online.
- Slow Internet Connectivity
Related to the intricacies of manual hiring conventions, another challenge faced by healthcare human resource departments is the slow internet connectivity of some applicants.
While internet connectivity is good for the most part in many areas in America, there are still people who have internet which is only good enough for sending out and replying to emails and uploading their applications on job boards and applicant platforms.
When they’re called for video interviews or online tests, some of them might not have the quality of internet connectivity suitable for the test to be administered. If they’re applying from a suburban or rural area, and the test has to be done on-site, they’ll have to travel all the way to the site or opt not to go forward with their application.
- Lack Of Opportunity To Observe
Among healthcare organizations, one of the most important qualities they look for in applicants is their attitude towards customer service relations and management. In the healthcare industry, customer relations aren’t the same as customer service elsewhere, because customer relations in healthcare is about showing genuine and authentic care and warmth towards the patients.
Genuine concern for the care and wellness of patients is one of the core requirements in the healthcare industry. In most instances, care and warmth enhances the recovery and healing process. Healthcare organizations have realized the importance of healthcare management, which is focused and centered on patients.
With remote hiring, part of the challenge is that people tasked to assess the applicants aren’t given the same opportunity to observe the applicants as they would if they were to observe and assess the applicants on site and face to face. There’s a lot that isn’t seen thru web cameras such as hand and body gestures, and how an applicant approaches and interacts with the patient.
- Onboarding Process
Another major challenge faced in remote healthcare hiring is the onboarding process. The onboarding process is a crucial part of hiring. It’s that part of the hiring process when the applicant is slowly, and hopefully smoothly, being eased into their specific role in the organization.
An important component of the onboarding process is the goal of helping and enabling the new hire to get to know the rest of the team. This is crucial in adjusting to a remote work environment in a healthcare organization.
This is important in most industries, but this is especially important in the healthcare industry because the way that healthcare professionals work as a team can spell a huge difference in the quality and timeliness of the care and treatment of patients. Sometimes, the outcome of this teamwork is a matter of life and death. With remote hiring, onboarding has become a challenge since the applicant will have to adjust to the organizational culture without having personal contact.
With the need to work remotely through online collaboration, the healthcare industry is missing one of the most important elements in the way they deliver patient care and treatment management. This is the element of being able to touch and show warmth to people who have illnesses and suffering in pain. This becomes all the more important when healthcare workers are being hired remotely.