Hiring for now, and for the future

For anyone who has been through an interview process or who has worked in Human Resources, you know the challenges and the time and effort involved in recruitment and retention.

Imagine not only hiring one, or even 10 new employees, but instead looking to hire approximately 900 new employees.

That is the challenge ahead for Markham Stouffville Hospital as it looks to significantly increase the number of staff who will work in the new and expanded facility.

The hospital currently has over 1,800 staff between its two sites and over 150 active staff physicians, dentists and midwives plus an additional 150 physicians who have privileges at the hospital.

The new building, with its expanded departments, programs and services, will recruit new staff to provide care to patients and carry out support services.

“This is an exciting time at Markham Stouffville Hospital,” says Carole Moore, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness. “We have been planning for our new building for a number of years and have developed a detailed workforce plan.”

This plan outlines the number of new staff members that will be needed in each area. For example, approximately 450 new nurses will be hired to support programs and services at the Markham site.

The plan calls for new nurses to be hired in many areas of the hospital including mental health, emergency, medicine, surgery and labour and delivery.

“Markham Stouffville Hospital has been an employer of choice for many years,” says Shelagh Jones, Recruitment Specialist. “We know people want to work here. The real challenge is finding the right people at the right time. We have a great culture here and that is because of the type of people that we hire.”

Although the new building won’t be open until 2013, the recruitment process will begin much sooner.

“The amount of time it takes to advertise, interview, hire and train an individual is extensive. The hospital wants to ensure we have the right staff in place when we open the doors to our new building,” says Jones.

Hiring for a hospital is very different than other sectors. The amount of specialized education and training that is required for many health-care professionals is extensive.

“We will really be pulling out all the stops in terms of our recruiting,” says Jones. “In addition to advertising positions in the paper and on our website, we will use other methods as well. Career fairs, advertisements in a variety of trade and specialty publications, etc. It is important that we cast a broad net to ensure we get the best and brightest candidates.”

The recruitment will not just focus on clinical positions either.

To support a hospital that is essentially doubling in size, there are a number of support positions required – everything from administration, facilities, food services and housekeeping to information technology.

Recruitment of physicians is also a key priority.

“Our medical administration team will work closely with the hospital’s departmental chiefs in adding to the current complement of physicians, to allow the hospital to keep up with the increasing needs of the community,” says Dr. David Austin, Chief of Staff. The hospital will be adding physicians in most of the departments.

Recruitment is only one challenge. Another important aspect is employee retention.

“We will have a significant focus on recruitment but will also need to keep an equal focus on retention and ensuring the over 1,800 staff we currently employ are happy and well-supported in their workplace,” says Diane Purdy, Manager of Occupational Health and Safety at Markham Stouffville Hospital.

The hospital’s Healthy and Vibrant Workplace policy is the umbrella for a number of policies, programs and activities that support employees. Activities such as ‘lunch and learns’ related to stress management and work-life balance, wellness fairs and an extensive violence in the workplace program called Expect Respect are just a few of the programs which support staff.

“To us, our employees are more than just the roles that they fulfill. Mary Smith is more than a nurse. She is a valuable person who is a member of our team,” says Purdy. “We believe our responsibility is to support her in the work that she does and also ensure that her overall wellness is taken into consideration.”

The hospital’s recruitment team will continue to work closely with the occupational health and safety team to ensure that the best and brightest staff are hired and are well taken care of while they are employed at the hospital.

“This is such a good news story for our patients and our community,” says Moore. “Over time, this expansion will bring 900 new jobs to the area. That means we will be bringing in 900 talented, experienced and compassionate individuals to provide care to our patients. We are so excited about growing our team.”