What are your toughest jobs to fill? More importantly, are you looking in the right places to fill them? You might be surprised. One employer found potential new nurses…in the accounting department.
“I’ve actually been in meetings with employees who have come to me and said, ‘I’m in the accounting department right now, but I really want to go back to school, get another degree, and have it be in nursing,” Barbara Naples, Baylor’s executive director of benefits, told us last year.
Why would Baylor want to take such an unconventional route to hires? Simple: they get to move an existing employee they already like into a different job they know they’re going to need. “If we have an accountant who’s been with the college for a while and who understands our culture and way that our systems work,” says Barbara, “it would be much easier to replace an accountant than it would to find a qualified nurse.”
Fear of Skills Gaps
With a new hospital that’s going to require more clinical hires – not to mention a national nursing shortage that’s worsening by the year – Baylor’s strategy is looking pretty wise. And healthcare isn’t the only industry that could benefit. Education strategies are useful (and in fact, advisable) anywhere there are talent shortages; which these days, is pretty much everywhere.
In the current economy, people are feeling both antsy and emboldened. According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, the number of employees thinking about leaving jobs has doubled since 2012. A recent CareerCast study lists data scientists, financial advisors, information security analysts, and operations managers (as well as nurses) as just a few of 2017’s toughest jobs to fill.
And the problem isn’t just a shortage of heads; it’s a shortage of skills. “The underlining challenge hiring managers for each of these professions face,” wrote CareerCast about its study results, “is finding applicants with the necessary skills.” Baylor’s cross-disciplinary approach is one example of employers making absolutely sure they have the right skills because they’re paying for current employees to earn them.
A Retention and Recruitment Strategy
If skills gaps alone don’t keep you up at night, think about retention. That same Gallup study showed that career growth opportunities were a top reason people leave; they’ll stay with a company if they can grow with it – and leave if they can’t.
And education is working for Baylor; in a medical community with more than 50 other providers, Baylor says more than half of its employees have stuck around for five years or longer. Not that education programs have to be cross-discipline to be a win. Given the cost of replacement, keeping a great engineer or nurse as a great engineer or nurse is a worthy goal of education all by itself. But if you provide the pathways for people to grow careers outside the lines, you may be surprised that some hard-to-find key hires are already under your own roof.