Core Exchange: recruiting to build your employer brand

October 17, 2018
Ward Alles President and Brand Consultant

Health systems and hospitals can build their employer brand by finding, testing, and engaging right-fit healthcare talent by developing recruitment and retention programs. Listen to learn how.

Episode 1: Recruiting to build your employer brand

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below. Be sure to subscribe to Core Exchange on iTunes.



Ward Alles:  Hi. I’m Ward Alles, the president of Core Creative, a branding firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin focusing in on healthcare marketing. I’m here with Scott Seefeld, the president of Titus Talent Strategies. They’re a great company involved in the talent acquisition and consulting space, work a lot with healthcare marketers and HR folks yourselves. Right, Scott?

Scott Seefeld: Yes. Thanks for having me, Ward.

Ward Alles: We’re here to talk a little bit about the employer brand and then recruiting great talent — doctors, nurses, admin staff — to that brand so that they live the brand promise. Titus Talent Strategies has some tools that can be used to help find the right talent and then test the right talent before they’re even brought onboard. We’ve known each other for 25 years and really started our businesses at about the same time, didn’t we?

Scott Seefeld: It’s been exciting to see the growth in both of our companies.

Ward Alles: You originally were in the accounting side of things and then moved into the human capital and recruiting side. Explain that little journey very quickly.

Scott Seefeld: As you know, I’m a CPA by background. I started my career with the passion for finances and have been blessed and had the opportunity to get involved with growing businesses, selling businesses. During that journey, I really realized I kind of changed my passion for finances for people because I found it’s really about building high-performing teams and getting the right teams in place. So definitely reinvented myself from the traditional bean counter to really passionate about people.

Ward Alles: That’s cool. I love talking to people about their passions. As a branding firm, Core really wants to help our clients find their why, their passion because when you can bring that into your workplace every day, you’re not working anymore. You’re having fun. You’re really enjoying life.

Scott Seefeld: Exactly. Yeah. So true.

Ward Alles: Adding value, adding value to people. So explain a little bit more about that love and that passion now for the recruitment and the retention side of things. That’s a hot topic, right? Retention?

Scott Seefeld: It really is. Gallup poll recently came out with the number one issue is really employee retention. We see that specifically in healthcare whether we’re dealing with nurses, technicians, even doctors. It’s a huge issue not just for healthcare, but all companies. You also get into, with retention, it’s really about employee engagement. You know from a branding perspective that employee engagement is really important. Not only do we help our clients with the finding of people, but it’s really how do you retain and how do you keep them engaged.

Ward Alles:  Back to passions behind those doctors and nurses, obviously they want to help their patients get better, stay well, but beyond just providing medical help, healthcare systems are realizing they’re in the customer service business. Right? They actually have to compete to win. They have to provide great patient experiences at all touchpoints both online and in person. When it’s done in person by these real human beings, as medical providers, caregivers, they’re a little bit more scientific, aren’t they? They certainly can be heart-driven, but they’re a little bit more scientific. What we find as a healthcare marketing agency that really cares about the brand and delivering the brand promise is you have to engage those doctors and nurses to care about that patient experience. They’re there to deliver care, no doubt, but it’s also every interaction with the patient that needs to be tended to.

So we’re getting to the topic of bringing the right people onto the bus, if you will, who will help execute against the brand promise and deliver that every day. How do we know they’re going to be the right person for your particular brand of healthcare?

Scott Seefeld: This really gets into my passion which is really finding the ideal person for a position whether it’s a doctor or a nurse. Our concept with that is head, heart, and briefcase. So the head starts with “How do they think? How do they behave?” Then you get into the heart which talks about motivation, their why. What really drives them? What really excites them? Then you get into the briefcase. What are their skills? What is their experience, their background? So really all three need to work together to get that complete person. Being recruiters, you’ve got to have some fun with your job. We call that Doctor Fit because it gets into some behavioral and some cognitive things.

Ward Alles: I love it. Yeah, good.

Scott Seefeld: We call it Doctor Fit.

Ward Alles: I love it. Core is all about that passion. So you mentioned the why. We try to package up the purpose behind a healthcare system, again, to deliver the brand promise and differentiate. All healthcare systems are either competing along the high-tech or the high-touch continuum. They want to deliver both, but sometimes some healthcare systems deliver the high-touch better than others, right? They really let that passion come through and that caregiving really come out in how they deliver care and deliver great patient experiences. So we care about the why, very much that heart. You have a tool that addresses the head, how people think and behave, and it’s called predictive indexing if I’m correct.

Scott Seefeld: That’s correct. Yes.

Ward Alles: And explain a little bit about that tool and how that helps you find the right person to fill a brand promise.

Scott Seefeld: So the predictive index really gets into that head component and it really describes how people behave and how they think. So there’s also a cognitive side to that. There are different patterns for different roles. What we do is we can work with identifying the top performers and assess all of those top performers and create a pattern. That’s a repeatable pattern as we look for new people and we look also for high-performing people. They’re going to most likely have similar patterns. It’s a very helpful data point into helping not only to identify people, but also bring together positive teams that can work together.

Ward Alles: How do our listeners, the healthcare marketers, recommend a tool like that to HR or to the C-suite so that they would buy into it and use it as a tool?

Scott Seefeld: We have found that the C-suite is a facts and data-driven decision-maker. So we recommend going with the Gallup poll, getting some of the research. “Here’s what the research shows.” The other thing that we do is we’ll go into organizations and give them a complimentary assessment for their C-suite. So then we can give them a read back and then actually show them how the tool works.

Ward Alles: Interesting. Now, for those listening, how might they talk to their Human Resources departments or the C-suite to encourage them to investigate those types of tools or the services of a Titus Talent Strategies so that they get closer to hiring the right person early on? Because they, as healthcare marketers, they want to deliver a great experience and you need people to do that and you need that HR department to bring those right people onboard. How do they have those conversations?

Scott Seefeld: What I would encourage them to look at is look at your website. Oftentimes, the website is excellent for patients. How does that website look from the employee or the candidate perspective? One of the things that’s critical in attracting people because our unemployment rate is just so low right now, it’s very competitive out there so you need to have what we call an employee value proposition. Why, if I was a candidate, would I want to come work for your clinic, your healthcare system, et cetera? Oftentimes, marketing people really focus on the patients, on the client side of things. They sort of forget about what is the perspective of the employee. I think that’s where they can go to their talent acquisition, their HR departments, and get that perspective.

Ward Alles: Well that really dovetails nicely into Core Creative’s approach to branding in general, its brand alignment. We have this little four-word tagline called Say It, Live It. On the Say It sign, it’s externally focused. You’re talking about delivering the brand promise to a patient base and why come to our clinic or our hospital or our healthcare system. On the Live It side, you’re actually talking to the staff and you’re asking those people to deliver the brand promise. So the very same why is delivered harmoniously inside and out. Once you get that aligned, then you’re off to the races. You’re attracting the right kinds of patients, the right kinds of employees to come to your right kind of brand of healthcare. I totally agree with your point of view that those web experiences need to be delivered for different audiences.

Scott Seefeld: Yes. Part of that Doctor Fit and that whole heart side of it is you say “Live it.” We call those shared values. So organizations have their core values that are really critical to them. How does that match up to the candidates and to your employees? When those shared values match up, you’re going to get a powerful motivation, a powerful why, a powerful heart. That’s a really important part of not only the employee value proposition, but also for employee retention. When they feel that they’re in line with those shared values, that’s a good fit.

Ward Alles: And then rewarding those on-brand behaviors, that’s what we call it when they’re living out the values, really rewarding them, recognizing them for delivering, telling great stories about that, and then that can be shared in social media platforms. It can be delivered on a website. These are stories that can be told in multiple platforms. You’re suggesting that maybe some of those stories should be told right on a website so that once a physician or a nurse or any other healthcare professional is being courted or recruited, they could go to a website and see those stories and know it’s real. They can almost picture themselves working there. That makes your job of recruiting a little easier, yes?

Scott Seefeld: Absolutely. There’s three key things that we have seen through Gallup research and then we’ve also seen with all of our efforts and especially with the younger workforce coming in, the millennials. They’re looking for three main things. They’re looking for safety, they’re looking for meaning, and they’re looking for capacity. If those can be brought into the employee side of the website — again, that safety, meaning, and capacity — those things will really resonate with people and really, again, draw them in to that employee value proposition and really keep them engaged.

Ward Alles: There’s that word again, engaged. Do you know any stats offhand what kind of turnover you’re seeing in the healthcare industry right now when a healthcare system maybe isn’t keeping its employees engaged?

Scott Seefeld: The retention rate’s probably around 80% from an industry perspective. Obviously, that varies by different system or clinic. It’s interesting. When it doesn’t happen, I think something’s off. The head, heart, and briefcase has been our go-to where something’s off with that, either the predictive index, how they think, how they behave. There’s a mismatch there on the job. Oftentimes, we’ll see a why. If they’re not really part of that shared values, they might leave for a little extra money. If they’re really into the mission, money goes down lower on the list. That is a concern. That is a challenge for a lot of organizations.

Ward Alles: It almost sounds like Titus Talent Strategies is maybe a little different from your competitors, that you’re consulting and looking for those strategies, looking for those insights to engage and retain. If retention’s the biggest issue, you got to drill down why, why, why. What’s the issue? What’s happening? You guys are outfitted to do that.

Scott Seefeld: Very much so. We talk to internal employees. We talk to former employees. We talk to candidates obviously that are looking at these systems. You get a lot of data points. It’s very interesting, very powerful.

Ward Alles: Great to know. Thank you for your input and your time. We’re very complementary in businesses in that Core Creative is trying to establish the brand, to find it so that healthcare systems say it and live it, and then here comes Titus Talent Strategies along, that you can help them bring that right talent onboard. Any final words of advice that you would share with our listeners in terms of dos and don’ts as they consider how they’re going to attract the right people and grow their talent base?

Scott Seefeld: Really look at things from an employee perspective, from a candidate perspective. Oftentimes, that is missed on websites. I would also encourage them to go look at predictive index. Think about the head, heart, and briefcase. A lot of times, we go just down to the briefcase and we forget about the heart, we forget about the head.

As far as the don’ts are concerned, it doesn’t need to be a bidding war. If you’re sole focus is on money, that’s a tough battle to win. The workforce that we see today, the research that we’re seeing from Gallup poll, it’s about safety, meaning, capacity. So safety is all about transparency, feeling good about who they work for, feeling like there’s integrity there. That doesn’t cost anything. Meaning as to what’s the purpose. How do I make an impact on what I’m doing and to the greater good? Capacity is “Do I have the tools, the talent, the coaching to successfully complete my job?” Those three things, if really thought about, doesn’t cost you more money. Those are really, I would consider, more important than money. Don’t always look at just throwing money at the problem.

Ward Alles: Great advice, Scott. Just treating human beings like human beings, and doctors and nurses are people too, right?

Scott Seefeld: Absolutely.

Ward Alles:  Love it. Thanks for your time this afternoon. Again, we were talking with Scott Seefeld, the president of Titus Talent Strategies in Milwaukee. They’re a neighbor and a friend to us here at Core Creative. Thanks for listening.

Scott Seefeld: Pleasure to be with you. Thank you, Ward.


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