Innovative Ways to Attract and Train Talent

While finding and training new talent to fulfill roles has traditionally been challenging, the events of recent years have made it even more difficult. Many businesses on the First Coast have had to come up with innovative new ways to attract and train candidates in order to stay ahead in a competitive labor market.

Flagler Health+

One organization that has risen to the challenge is Flagler Health+ in St. Augustine. Flagler Health+ provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care and hospital-based care throughout St. Johns and Flagler Counties. Flagler Hospital is an extension of Flagler Health+, a 335-bed hospital with a history of more than 130 years of caring for the community that has been named among America’s 50 Best Hospitals and has received recognition and accreditation for its programs and services.

Dennis Hoban

“It has been a challenge for the healthcare industry to find well-trained people for the positions that need to be filled,” said Dennis Hoban, administrator of talent strategy & management for Flagler Health+. “COVID exacerbated that significantly because a lot of people opted out of healthcare professions entirely. Not because they weren’t committed to the occupations or their careers; but rather they were further along in their careers and decided not to confront these challenges.”

As a result, Flagler Health+ has taken a proactive approach to filling these gaps.

“At Flagler Health+, we have clinical leadership that’s dedicated to the education and training of our team,” said Mr. Hoban. “Our chief nursing officer has established an amazing graduate nurse development program in order to onboard more nurses that are just joining us right out of school.”

Additionally, Flagler Health+ launched a Patient Care Technician (PCT) Academy to train new PCTs, who work with nurses in caring for patients. It also started an apprenticeship program for surgical technologists, who are currently in great demand in the healthcare industry. Finally, Flagler Health+ has a Registered Nurse (RN) Bridge program for RNs to be trained in new specialties that will allow them to advance their careers.

Although the labor market has begun to stabilize over the past year, Mr. Hoban says that Flagler Health+ continues exploring new and innovative ways to fill existing gaps. These include programs to help staff obtain more balance in their lives by offering things such as weekend-only positions, more remote jobs and a talent pool of professionals who only work when they are available.

Mr. Hoban also says that Flagler Health+ has had success in finding new talent through technology. “There was a time we didn’t target social media or paid advertising for specific roles. And now we’re identifying candidates and making them aware of opportunities in new and different ways,” he said.

Designs for Health, Inc.

Samuel Green is Senior Corporate Recruiter at Designs for Health, a dietary supplement and medical food manufacturer based in Palm Coast, Florida. As such, he recruits for positions in the company’s three manufacturing facilities in Nevada and Montana, as well as a variety of positions, including sales, IT, legal, marketing and more.

Mr. Green says that one of his biggest challenges in the current labor market has been finding qualified individuals to fulfill open roles. One way his company has addressed this is by offering more remote and hybrid roles. However, he points out that this may not be the best solution for all functions of the business.

Samuel Green

“And so, we’ve had to look at it on an individual or microscopic level if we need to,” Mr. Green said.

Another way that the company is recruiting nationwide is by marketing the benefits that moving to Florida brings, such as lower taxes, warmer weather and more affordable housing.

“We are looking at not just the role; we’re looking at what the person is looking for in the role,” he said.

The company also offers leadership development training for individuals working in their manufacturing facilities, where they offer a pathway to management positions and focus on promoting internally. Having those pathways also helps with employee retention and makes employees more productive in their current roles.

“We use that as a tool to recruit as well. We say you can start somewhere, but it doesn’t mean that that’s where you have to stay forever. We’re encouraging individuals to grow and change with us,” he said.

“We’re facing a skills gap in the workforce,” as many older workers leave the industry, said Mr. Green. “And we are recognizing that we need to pay attention to how we hand this knowledge down.”