The nature of the recruitment landscape in this province and in the country has changed over the course of the last 2 years and healthcare has been no exception. With hospitals across the province facing staffing shortages, at QHC our Human Resources team continues to adapt by creating and using new initiatives and creative ways to reach potential recruits.
Pop-ups, live connects, virtual events, educational opportunities and a push in social media marketing are all ways HR is targeting potential candidates to increase the number of new employees at QHC hospitals.
At a local level, HR is connecting with Grade 10 students in secondary schools on a regular basis via virtual or in person connects as well as any other students looking for career information. These touchpoints serve to not only assist in guiding students in choosing courses that could be geared toward a future career path in health care, but also to share the benefits of this path with the parents of the students. HR staff are planning one such event on December 1, which will be held virtually.
In addition to focusing on secondary school students, HR is also very hopeful for the potential of a stand alone Registered Nursing degree program at Loyalist College in the near future. A program delivered locally would potentially be a direct feeder of students from Loyalist into QHC hospitals as students have required placements. HR staff are quick to point out that when students travel out of the area to go to a postsecondary institution, it's natural for them to end up living and working in that area once they graduate. The hope is that with a RN degree program at Loyalist, out-of-region students would be more likely to stay in the Quinte area after graduating as well as local students accessing the program.
The long-term goal of both the secondary school and college student strategies is to build strong relationships with local schools, in order to strengthen the pipeline of student placements, which would ultimately lead to job offers and hires.
To help boost recruitment efforts, HR is also pursuing initiatives provided by the Ontario government. The Nursing Graduate Guarantee Program (NGG) is designed to support nurses who are within 12 months of registering with the College of Nurses of Ontario by providing them with a full-time employment opportunity. Annually, QHC hires approximately 20 nurses through this program.
The SkillsAdvance Ontario pilot project is intended to support workforce development in identified key growth sectors. The province provides funding in order to allow current employees of healthcare organizations access to upskill, or obtain new skills that they might be missing. QHC has just started participating in this program and to date 15 employees have signed on to enhance their skills and ultimately move into different positions within QHC.
Furthermore, QHC has taken advantage of the recruitment incentives available through the province. These incentives are available to nurses moving to Ontario from out of province and, to date, QHC has hired 7 nurses through this program.
Internally, the QHC Education Awards is an initiative designed to provide bursaries for staff pursuing further education. Made possible through generous donations to QHC from our amazing Foundations and Auxiliaries, the Awards are granted to staff twice per year through applications submitted by May 15th and October 15th. Applications are open to any full-time or part-time employees continuing their education in an area related to their current role or future career path at QHC. For more information or to submit an application, email Mandi Veenstra at email@example.com.
All of these initiatives in action assist in the recruitment of candidates, but HR staff point out that competition for health human resources has been gradually increasing over the years, even before the pandemic hit. COVID simply added an entirely new set of challenges to the recruitment process, including increasing the demand across the health care sector, limiting immigration and slowing the processing of certifications.
“I’m immensely proud of the work of our HR team,” acknowledged Susan Rowe, Vice President, People & Strategy. “Given the unprecedented demand for health human resources, they are working tirelessly to implement new ideas on the recruitment front and are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts. They are a creative, collaborative and innovative team that is working on both short term and long term initiatives to recruit and retain staff members.”
HR remains optimistic and determined. They are more than happy to implement new and creative ideas to see if it leads to results. They also welcome any ideas and suggestions by email to HumanResources@qhc.on.ca.