Quick Practice Upgrades

Quick steps to real impact

  • Communicate with workforce partners and intermediaries about forecasted job needs
  • Tweak job descriptions to eliminate unnecessary requirements
  • Evaluate recruiters, hiring managers, and department heads on local hiring goal

Communicate with workforce partners and intermediaries about forecasted job needs

One easy first step institutions can take to help address local hiring needs is to create regular communication channels between human resources, department job forecasting, and local workforce intermediaries and other training and employment partners. Workforce partners are able to channel philanthropic funds towards tailored job training. By creating channels of communication about anticipated job needs, intermediaries are able to create specific trainings for those high-need positions. Danielle Price, the director for community health engagement at University Hospitals (UH) in Cleveland, Ohio and former program coordinator at Neighborhood Connections, a community-based organization that partners with UH, described this process: “We try, as much as possible, to know which positions are available for which cohorts, so that when we’re looking for people, we can recruit accordingly…For example, if this session is for five nutrition services jobs, then we need to get fifty people who are interested in nutrition services for that particular round….there is a ten to one ratio of participants to positions.”1Debbi Perkul and Danielle Price, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, Cleveland, OH, January 11, 2016, transcript Because UH communicates the number of open positions, Neighborhood Connections is able to develop a tailored recruitment strategy that will ensure UH has enough applicants and that there are tangible job opportunities for training participants.2Debbi Perkul and Danielle Price interview. This is at no additional cost to UH, and it helps to improve the partner’s success as well. In the first two and a half years of its local and inclusive hiring initiative, UH has hired sixty-five people with 80 percent retention.

Tweak job descriptions to eliminate unnecessary requirements

Job descriptions can include requirements that inadvertently screen out candidates that are actually qualified for the job.

Job descriptions can include requirements that inadvertently screen out candidates that are actually qualified for the job. This can happen if job descriptions have not been updated in a long time or if position categories are grouped together. An important first step in addressing unnecessary requirements is to look at job descriptions for frontline and mid-level employees and evaluate the requirements. One example of requirements that pose an unnecessary barrier for applicants is requiring years of experience in the healthcare field, even if the candidate has transferrable skills from a different field. Another example is adding software requirements to all positions even if these skills are needed in one department but not another. Many of these restrictions keep qualified people out. As articulated by Owen Burke at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, “you occasionally see individuals in the healthcare industry hired at the executive level without healthcare-specific experience.  More and more frequently, the question is asked, ‘should we do the same when considering individuals for mid- and entry-level health roles?’”3Owen Burke and Natasha West, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, February 24, 2016, transcript. Assessing job requirements was a key priority for Cincinnati Children’s human resources team as they worked with their Community Relations department to craft a local hire strategy.4Owen Burke and Natasha West interview. Another approach is to ensure that job descriptions are clear and easily understandable. For their recent local hiring commitment, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut worked in partnership with New Haven Works, a community-based workforce intermediary, to make sure job descriptions and minimum requirements would make sense to local applicants5Boris Sigal, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, New Haven, CT, April 1, 2016, notes.

Evaluate recruiters, hiring managers, and department heads on local hiring goals

Even if local hiring is a stated priority amongst leadership, it needs to be embedded in the day-to-day activities of those who are actually making hiring decisions.

Kim Shelnick, vice president of talent acquisition at UH, explained that traditionally the role of human resources and talent acquisition is to screen people out. Processes are designed to limit the number of applicants that recruiters see in order to maximize time and resources.6Kim Shelnick, interview by Ted Howard, Cleveland, OH, October 15, 2015, transcript. Until incentives are shifted, this process will remain the status quo. Some institutions have been accomplishing this shift in incentives by evaluating recruiting managers, hiring managers, department heads, and human resource leadership based on commitment to meeting local hiring goals. This ensures that efficiency is not the only factor prioritized. Even if local hiring is a stated priority amongst leadership, it needs to be embedded in the day-to-day activities of those who are actually making hiring decisions. Even simply asking managers to measure and report on these metrics can be an important step in making it a priority. This is the tactic being used by HopkinsLocal, where senior managers meet with the associate for strategic initiatives, a dedicated position that oversees the implementation of HopkinsLocal, on a regular basis to report on their progress in meeting local hiring goals.7Affan Sheikh, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, Baltimore, MD, January 7, 2016, transcript.

Simple Policy Fixes

  • Adjust tuition reimbursement programs to allow for tuition advancement
  • Change policies that prevent hiring individuals with criminal records
  • Make diverse, inclusive, local hiring an explicit goal in the strategic p...

Readiness Checklist

Do a basic assessment of where your institution is at, and identify the steps you need to take to implement a local and inclusive hiring program.

References   [ + ]

1. Debbi Perkul and Danielle Price, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, Cleveland, OH, January 11, 2016, transcript
2. Debbi Perkul and Danielle Price interview.
3. Owen Burke and Natasha West, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, February 24, 2016, transcript.
4. Owen Burke and Natasha West interview.
5. Boris Sigal, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, New Haven, CT, April 1, 2016, notes.
6. Kim Shelnick, interview by Ted Howard, Cleveland, OH, October 15, 2015, transcript.
7. Affan Sheikh, interview by David Zuckerman and Katie Parker, Baltimore, MD, January 7, 2016, transcript.