Webinar Recap: Recruiting and Retention in 2022 and Beyond

January 15  

Each month since autumn of 2021, millions of Americans have quit their jobs as record numbers of people change careers. This trend, sometimes called “The Great Resignation,” has sparked conversations about the job market, what employees value, how employers can adapt their recruiting tactics, and how to retain high performing employees amidst this churn. 

The healthcare industry has been especially impacted by this pandemic-induced change. To explore this prevalent topic, we invited two human resources executives to join our latest Bringing the Future Forward webinar. Nicki Leritz, Corporate HR Director at Smiths Medical (which is now a part of ICU Medical – Human Connections) and Mark Kuehl, VP of HR at Bracco Medical Technologies, joined Medical Alley’s VP of Intelligence, Frank Jaskulke, for a discussion on recruiting and retention in 2022 and beyond. 

Mark Kuehl, Bracco Medical Technologies
Nicki Leritz, Smiths Medical

With potential federal vaccine mandates on the horizon, workplace vaccine mandates were on the top of everyone’s mind. Both Bracco and Smiths instituted mandates for their employees, and Nicki and Mark shared their experiences with this process.  

“What we did was focus on each individual employee that had concerns,” Mark said about their process with employees that were hesitant to receive the vaccine. “We literally spent months with them, listening to them, having a dialogue with them carefully. Never in my wildest dreams would I have predicted, as a human resources professional, would I have to have personal conversations about religious beliefs and faith at work, but here we are.” 

Both Nicki and Mark highlighted the importance of employee engagement when it came to vaccine mandates. While they both stressed the difficulty of completing the mandates, they recognized that their success came from working closely with their employees. For individuals who requested exceptions, Nicki says that they centralized the process with one person who could listen to an individual’s concerns and have an open, honest discussion with them.  

“If you’re just looking at the form that the person fills out, I think you’re missing an opportunity to advocate.”

Nicki Leritz

A primary concern for employers who are hesitant to put a mandate in place is the talent landscape. Mark acknowledged that the labor market is the most competitive he has seen in decades as an HR professional. Bracco tackled this challenge by making hiring a top priority for all managers and mechanically altering the hiring process.  

Mark said, “during this time, I think you’re foolish if you’re not challenging your own processes to speed up and be more efficient with how you’re processing candidates. Be very flexible.” With hybrid work and a tight labor market, Mark said that employers need to reexamine their preferences. Needing to see an employee in person before a hiring manager makes a decision may no longer be best practice. 

Once your team is staffed and you have brought on that fantastic new hire, it’s important to keep your staff engaged and fulfilled while teams are dispersed. Most remote workers have no doubt dealt with the issues of isolation, disconnection from team members, overwork, and more.  

To help alleviate this, Nicki explained that Smiths Medical relies on its technology to bring a sense of normalcy to their employee’s lives. They gave leaders permission and space to recreate the connection people normally got from socializing, in a digital space. Smiths also doubled down on its values by nominating employees each month for displaying key Smiths Medical values.  

The last two years have put employees and employers into unprecedented situations that have required novel ideas, problem solving, and resilience. The healthcare companies in Medical Alley are leading the charge in solving these problems. The Medical Alley Association is grateful to Smiths Medical and Bracco Medical Technologies for giving their time and expertise for this webinar and sharing how they have navigated the pandemic’s effect on recruiting and retention.

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