Thought Leader Thursday: Stop Paying Big Money For “Travelers”

Earlier in my career, I was the marketing lead for a medical staffing company specializing in allied health travel staffing. In plain language, we placed physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists in 13-week contracts with hospitals and assisted living facilities all over the country.

In our jargon, these folks were known as “travelers.”

Life for a traveler was sweet. Because of the shortage of workers in healthcare, travelers were able to choose pretty much where in the country they wanted to work. A friend of mine who is a traveling nurse picks her assignments by choosing cool places to go hiking where she has not been. Not to mention the competitive pay they received, also driven by the shortage.

On top of that, the staffing agency provided everything they needed to live. The agency would find an apartment or rental house, furnish it, provide dishes and other housewares, and pay for the rent, cable, and utilities. In rural settings where there wasn’t public transport, they’d arrange for a long-term rental car.

Most of these travelers were either early-career folks just a couple of years out of school or empty-nesters looking for an adventure. Either way, what a gig! Great pay and no expenses, living pretty much where you want. It’s living large.

So, what does this have to do with recruitment marketing? For healthcare companies, it has everything to do with recruitment marketing. Why? Because someone has to pay for all the perks, and the staffing agency has to make a profit. Who do you think is paying for that?

Hiring your own staff, even through RPO, is significantly less expensive.

But what about the healthcare job market? It’s really competitive, right?

Yes, and that’s why you need employer branding and recruitment marketing. You’re not going to attract potential full-time staff unless they know what’s in it for them! What’s it like to work at your facility? Who are the people they might work with? Culture, benefits, working hours, patient population… it’s all important, and the way you communicate that is through a robust employer branding and recruitment marketing strategy.

Think about it – the investment you make in employer branding will be far less expensive than paying for a nurse’s apartment, car, and utilities.

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