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Thought Leadership

The Secrets to Hiring Strategically

The smart use of analytics will lead to better hires and high-quality service.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
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When I arrived at Amedisys almost two years ago, the company subscribed to a recruitment philosophy you might call the "warm body syndrome." When an employee departed, hiring managers sought a replacement similar in background and capability to take their place. So, if a practicing clinician resigned, we looked simply to fill the position as quickly as possible. Our priority was quantity of hires versus quality of hires, with little thought to long-term business objectives, building organizational capability and optionality, or our overarching strategy.

This was, in some ways, understandable. Amedisys, a home health, hospice and personal care company, employs more than 12,000 clinicians, who go on 35,000 patient visits each day. If one of our 427 agencies has staffing issues, it can have a huge impact on patient care, operations and financials. 

But in our aggressive quest to become an employer of choice -- and through the leadership of our Senior Vice President of Talent, Paula Beckmann – we've moved to leveraging analytics as the driver to determine whom we recruit to Amedisys. This means we are operating much differently, and hiring more strategically.

How did we get there? We realized pretty quickly that we were failing to optimize the information we already had at our fingertips. We're sitting on a tremendous wealth of data about our employees -- metrics about everything from cost of people to behavior and engagement to quality, productivity, attrition, recruitment and retention. What was missing was the ability to connect these metrics to inform our hiring strategy.

The correlations we built between these factors create a predictive model as to who is available to work, who has more capacity and how can we optimize our paraprofessional mix differently. We can also determine what happens if we maximize each clinician's capacity, allowing us to define what roles are truly needed and to help drill down on where we need to spend time and energy recruiting. 

This is new for Amedisys. Before, we maintained 16 separate databases, overwhelming our hiring managers and our recruiters. One database would tell us our capacity while another gave us productivity, without indicating the correlation between the two variables. We didn't have all of the data needed in one platform to help run our agencies as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Beckmann, along with a team of data analysts, designed and developed a dynamic productivity and staffing tool that compiles, evaluates and correlates all of our company data to create predictive outcomes. For example, the tool enables a hiring manager to understand the implications of losing a given employee -- and adjust variables to determine, based on growth goals, whether the replacement should be full-time or part-time. 

We recently had an agency with 10 open requisitions. After using the productivity and staffing tool to look at different variables, including growth objectives, we determined that this agency didn't actually need to fill any of the open reqs to continue meeting its overall operational goals. This allowed our recruiters to focus on the needs of other agencies, rather than wasting time trying to fill positions that weren't actually needed. Our productivity and staffing tool allows us to right-size our staff market by market to meet demand, productivity and financial goals. 

Previously, we tended to believe that the more employees we added, the better. Now, thanks to our productivity and staffing predictive analytics, we staff better and smarter, sometimes managing with fewer employees, and always optimize the available staff to deliver the best care for our patients. As one leader stated, "It allows us to make educated staffing decisions versus educated guesses."

We're now able to determine how our hires will impact our ability to deliver more care to more patients, and the likely associated ROI. More broadly, we can evaluate the data region by region, all the way down to the local agency. This gives us the luxury to track clinician performance in productivity, capacity and clinical mix and forecast their staffing needs for the upcoming quarter.

Now that our agencies have a better-defined staffing strategy, our recruiters have more time to focus on other strategic initiatives. For instance, we recently launched our first-ever social media campaign to drive hiring and visits to our career page. We reached out to clinicians via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Glassdoor and Indeed. Within six months, those following our Facebook career page grew from 753 to 5,942, with 26,137 potential employees clicking through to our career page.

All of these advantages are helping us accomplish several key goals -- create a culture of engagement, improve retention, optimize our current employee mix, create predictive staffing models, and better forecast where we can effectively drive growth.

I believe Amedisys is in the forefront of pioneering human capital analytics to drive outstanding results. More organizations should recognize that leveraging human capital analytics has a huge ROI and is a game-changer. We should value quality over quantity when it comes to hiring employees, and recognize that the correlation between high-quality, engaged employees delivering high-quality performance and profit is unmistakable. Such analytics are destined to shape the workforce of the future into an engine that's more efficient and profitable than ever before. 

Larry Pernosky is the Chief Human Resources Officer at Amedisys.



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