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What qualities are important for working in healthcare? Join host Steph Bayer in a conversation with Kiersten Kanaley, Executive Director of Talent Acquisition Operations at Cleveland Clinic. Kiersten discusses how empathy fits into the hiring process, what Cleveland Clinic is doing to recruit intentionally from the communities it serves, and what she sees as the biggest trends in healthcare recruiting today.

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Building an Empathetic Workforce

Podcast Transcript

Steph Bayer: Welcome to another episode of Studies and Empathy, a Cleveland Clinic podcast exploring empathy, and patient experience. I'm your host, Steph Bayer, senior director of the Office of Patient Experience here at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. I'm very pleased to have with me Kiersten Kanaley. Kiersten, welcome to Studies and Empathy.

Kiersten Kanaley: Good morning, I'm so excited to be here. It is an absolute honor, and privilege to be here with you Steph.

Steph Bayer: I'm so excited that you're here. Kiersten's the Executive Director of Talent Acquisition Operations here at Cleveland Clinic.

Recently, I was invited to speak to your team, your giant team. It's amazing how many talented people you have on your team, and before I was meant to speak, you gave me a slide template, and said, fill this out with some fun facts.

One, I love that no one ever invites fun facts anymore, and I think that was super fun in a virtual environment.

But second, I'm going to do that to you. So, I'd love to start with some fun facts. And by the way, I've been shamelessly stealing this concept in all of my meetings since I had a chance to talk to your team.

So, can we start with, before we get into your professional background, five fun facts, just whatever you want to tell me about you, and then, we'll move into more of your background, how you became the executive director of talent acquisitions, and what you do in your current role?

Kiersten Kanaley: Well, Steph, thank you so much for coming to meet with the talent acquisition team. Like you said, we're all over the country. We have 200 caregivers supporting the US operations, and we'd love to come together as a team to really connect, and get together to know each other personally, and professionally.

And that really ties back to Cleveland Clinic's guiding principles, right? Treat fellow caregivers like family and treat Cleveland Clinic like your home. And before we jump in, I just have to say thank you to you. The way that you energized our team, and connected them back to purpose, what you did, truly is creating a ripple effect, not only across the talent acquisition team, but across the communities we serve, because you reminded us the purpose that we have to really be on the front line of empathy, and that is the heart, and the soul of healthcare, and everything that we do here at the Cleveland Clinic.

So, let's have a little bit of fun.

Steph Bayer: And let's have some fun.

Kiersten Kanaley: Okay, perfect. So here are my top five. I grew up in Baltimore, and then, I got to go to New York City for over 15 years, then moved to San Diego, and lived on the beaches, and one day, I got a call to come here to the Cleveland Clinic, and I'm now a proud Clevelander.

I love going to see live music. I know you're a traveler too. I travel everywhere near and far to go see live music and see friends from all over the world.

Steph Bayer: I just saw Taylor Swift last weekend in Pittsburgh. It was amazing.

Kiersten Kanaley: She is truly a performer of a generation, and I love how she's connecting a generation to live music, and community as well.

Steph Bayer: Yes.

Kiersten Kanaley: Right? And I didn't put this in my fun facts, but here's one for you, Taylor Swift and I, share a hairstylist.

Steph Bayer: That is a really fun fact. I love the bonus fact.

Kiersten Kanaley: So one of my aspirations for my family is I would love to be on Guy's Grocery Games for a family episode.

Steph Bayer: That's awesome.

Kiersten Kanaley: I could see our family really having a lot of fun with it, and I already know who I want the judges to be, so I see you Troy Boy Johnson, Antonia Lofaso, and Jet Tila, I hope I get to meet you one day.

And back when I was a New Yorker, one day I was walking to work, and I ran into Danny DeVito on the corner of 38th, and First Avenue. I told him that I loved his new show, Always Sunny in Philadelphia. He grabbed my hand, took me over to a vehicle where he opened the door, and the entire cast got out, and he asked me to share my praise of the new show with them, and I got to meet the entire cast, so I'd like to say, I helped influence 16 seasons of Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Steph Bayer: That's amazing.

Kiersten Kanaley: And finally, 4th of July weekend coming up again, me reflecting back to US 2019, we were living in southern California at the time, and being an East-Coaster, didn't really know what earthquakes were, and in 48 hours I experienced not one, but two earthquakes.

In addition, I was at Magic Mountain, and got stuck on the Goliath Rollercoaster, which is 235 feet, for over an hour.

Steph Bayer: No. No.

Kiersten Kanaley: When I got off, I learned a little bit about service recovery, and how to make people feel seen, and safe in that moment.

But we ended up getting to Sequoia National Park safely, and in that moment, I realized I was now afraid of heights.

So thank you for letting me reflect on those good times that I've had.

Steph Bayer: Those are amazing. I love those fun facts.

Kiersten Kanaley: Thank you. So how did I get here? You hear a lot in recruitment, "Nobody, I woke up one day, and said they wanted to be a recruiter." I would tell you; I was an exception to that rule.

When I got an opportunity to go to Maryvale High School, it was an all-girls school, that only accepted 25 girls into a graduating class, and my father was a firefighter, and my mother worked in the insurance agency. I never even thought about the opportunity of literally going to high school in a castle, but I was recruited to go there, and in that environment, I learned so much about myself, and in that self, my desire around science, and mathematics, and making the world a better place.

And when I had that feeling, it felt like I belonged for the first time, I know I wanted to connect others to that feeling, where they didn't know that that was maybe even possible for them.

So, with that, I continued my journey on connecting people to different possibilities and sharing my story. And through that, I had an opportunity to go to New York, and work at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where I led their talent acquisition team for over a decade.

But when I became a patient at 30 weeks pregnant, and survivor of severe preeclampsia, when you're in a hospital for 30 days, you make a lot of negotiations with yourself, and one of those negotiations was, when I got out of there with a healthy child, why wouldn't I move to San Diego, the most beautiful place on earth?

And we had an opportunity to do that together as a family, where I worked for Scripps Healthcare, and they were so supportive at allowing me the vision to be able to take them from an analog to a digital talent acquisition team and be awarded as one of the top 5% TA teams in the country.

But one day sitting in San Diego by a palm tree, I received a call from the Cleveland Clinic, and I have to be honest, this was my dream job. I remember sitting in New York one day, and saying, "One day I want to work at Cleveland Clinic."

And the reason being is that this is the place that truly invents the future of healthcare. So now here I am, three years later, and I'm really excited to tell you stuff. This is still a dream every single day. And the reason is because of the culture that is built here. People like you, that really are intentional about making connections, and creating that sense of belonging, but everyone that I've experienced in the caregiver office, I've been so fortunate that from my very first day I've been surrounded by a culture, from the very first day, that has been supportive, and has been a community, and really has made me feel a family, not only here at Cleveland Clinic, but in the city of Cleveland.

Steph Bayer: I love that, and I love that your dream job was to take you from the beaches of San Diego to the winters of Cleveland, and it still fits what you want.

Kiersten Kanaley: Absolutely. I'm probably one of the very few people that you meet will say that I left San Diego in February, and came to Cleveland, but I do believe I brought the sunshine, because the snow melted that day, and I've heard we've had some pretty mild winters since I've been here.

Steph Bayer: We have the last couple. You are the sunshine. Have you ever read the Gladwell book about connecting, and the there's certain kinds of people that are connectors?

Kiersten Kanaley: Yes, absolutely.

Steph Bayer: I think you're definitely one of those super-connectors, and I love that you have that passion, that you see yourself as that, because it's certainly how I also see you, and it's such a skill, and the work you do is really impacted by it.

So, I'm going to move on to our next question, and ask, what excites you about the work you do each day? What are some of the challenges too?

Kiersten Kanaley: Well, it's really great that you talked about being a connector, because I believe in talent acquisition, that makes it a unique role, and it's a really big responsibility. And when we're connecting, whether it's with a patient, or a fellow caregiver, but more importantly, the communities we serve, it's our responsibility to create these peak moments for them.

Because I believed, very early on in my career, that even when someone isn't accepted into a job for an organization that I work, Steph, they are a patient of us, and the way that we connect with them, the experience that they have would be, would they take their family to walk into one of our emergency rooms? So, I always thought about that.

Steph Bayer: I love that.

Kiersten Kanaley: So with that, some might call it a superpower, but think about it, every single day, when a talent acquisition professional wakes up, they have an opportunity to make someone's dream come true, to improve their quality of life.

And I don't believe it's just for the person who's receiving that role. I think about the dinner table that they sit at, the community organizations that they're involved in, right? It's going to impact future generations, because it lets somebody else see that hope, and the possibility of what they could personally achieve within their life.

So, I think about it really being a legacy, and Dr. Mihaljevic talks a lot about that, we're the stewards of the legacy here at the Cleveland Clinic. So, every single day I'm excited that I'm a part of an organization that says, "We want to be the best place to receive care. We want to be the best place to work in healthcare."

So, I'm just so inspired by Tom, who is our CEO, and president, and his culture of saying, it's our responsibility as leaders to create that psychological safety, that sense of belonging, and also, allowing us to be creative. And I know you get to be creative a lot in your role as well.

So, with that, I encourage my teams really to speak up, and speak out. We have to speak often, because together with our unique perspective, we can co-create something that is going to be able to shape the way we work, but the way that care is received within our community. And we know that when we shape the way care is received in our community, it shapes the way that care is received around the world.

So why am I excited? Every single day, I do wake up this way, and I think it is, because when I look around Cleveland Clinic, internationally, we have very talented, diverse caregivers, and they all are the heart and soul of who we are here at the Cleveland Clinic.

And another piece that, not only have I witnessed, and experienced, but other top leaders that I've brought here to the Cleveland Clinic, we all comment on how Cleveland Clinic is truly special, because of the team of team's approach.

We can't recruit just as a siloed talent acquisition team. Together, we're really attracting, and selecting, but more importantly, developing, and retaining talented, and service-oriented caregivers, because I'll be the first to say, the best recruitment strategy is a great retention strategy.

So, every day, we're out there, Steph, and we're really trying to understand what matters most, not only to our hiring leaders, who are really leading that culture that they're recruiting for, but that candidate.

So how do we make that match? And more importantly, maybe you've applied for a role, but we can redirect you to another role, where you'll get to use your talents, and have the ability to thrive.

It's exciting, but I also will tell you, it's challenging right now. In talent acquisition, just like every other healthcare team, and over the past three years, we're not immune to the rapid changes that are happening.

So, I think it's really important, as a leader, and an organization, to remind our caregivers that change is the one thing that you can count on right now. It's never been this fast, but it's also never going to be this slow again.

Now, I am somebody that can activate, and change very quickly, but I'm really also aware that that's not how everyone is, so how do you support somebody personally, and professionally to lead them through the change so it feels smaller, and it feels safe?

So, we're really thinking about, again, how do we plan for the future today? And that's what excites me every morning when I wake up.

Steph Bayer: I love it, and it struck me when you said it, "Change has never been faster, but also won't be slower." And it's so true, and healthcare, and certainly is a dynamic industry, and the talent of the people that you bring in, it's just incredible what you're able to do in this challenging, and exciting environment.

As we talk often about empathy, it's one of our core values of the Cleveland Clinic. It's who we are, and I know that it's also what you bring to your job every day. How do you recruit caregivers who embody that value of empathy?

Kiersten Kanaley: Steph, thank you so much for talking about this, because that was one of the key takeaways that we felt, and heard when you came and spoke to the talent acquisition team. Empathy is essential for every Cleveland Clinic caregiver, and with that, you kept saying, "Recruiters are on the front lines for empathy."

Steph Bayer: You are.

Kiersten Kanaley: And when you think about that, right?

Steph Bayer: Yeah.

Kiersten Kanaley: How important, it's almost protective services.

Steph Bayer: It is, right? Because you have to protect us, and people that don't have that value first, and foremost, and you're the ones that open the door for those masters of empathy, it's so frontline.

Kiersten Kanaley: Absolutely. And thinking about the many hats, like it's protective services, but it's also marketing. It's being proactive out in the community to really define, what is empathy? What does it look like?

And to me, we have to make sure that the community knows, and our caregivers know, that empathy is a non-negotiable trait for every healthcare role. And when I think about it, it comes in forms. It comes in the form that we have a foundation for patient-centered care. It enables that trust, which is the foundation for any healthy team. It improves the way that we communicate, but it also contributes to positive health outcomes.

And when I think about, what does empathy looks like, and feels like, it ensures that both patients, and our caregivers, receive that compassionate care that they deserve.

And empathy also contributes to a positive work environment. When you feel that you have somebody else, that it's a two-way street, it's going to prevent that burnout, and improve your overall wellness.

And I find that when we connect with each other on an emotional level, it truly brings that sense of fulfillment, and purpose back to our caregivers.

Steph Bayer: Absolutely.

Kiersten Kanaley: And again, it's just something, I just got goosebumps hearing us talk a little bit about it, because it's so important for us every day to say, "What does it feel like, what does it sound like, when do you see it?" And we're talking a lot about that.

And one of the things too, in addition to empathy, what I look for in a caregiver is that they understand what our culture is of lifelong learning. So, what that means for us, Stephanie, is that we open up every single meeting in talent acquisition with a story, and those stories are balanced. We celebrate what success looks like, and celebrate one another, but we also talk about those near misses that we've experienced, and sometimes we don't get it right.

I don't get it right all the time, but by sharing those experiences, and a way that connects emotively, in the speed of the work that we're doing, the complexity of the work that we do, it reminds us to slow down, because of the human that's on the other side of this.

So, what we like to do is really, again, embody empathy, and define what our values are.

So, when you think about this, for all of my recruiters out there, or anyone who is applying for a job, it really needs to start in that very first interaction with the job posting. So we have very intentionally, over the last two years, gone away from those traditional HR postings, and really brought it to life, to say, "How do you impact the care values here at the Cleveland Clinic? What's in it for you as a job seeker?"

And then, most importantly, we amplify the voices of our own caregivers, someone who's in the role, to be able to share what their experience is in that position, and what we have found is that when somebody applies for the role, it's a better match, and it converts right to an interview. The candidate is more prepared to ask questions that are important to them, when they get in front of a hiring leader, and it's created a more diverse talent pool.

So now you have this diverse talent pool. Now, how do you select?

So here at the Cleveland Clinic, we use a process called the caregiver selection process, and we believe that whenever a new job opens, it starts with the conversation. And that conversation is between the recruiter, and the hiring leader to discuss, what are those essential requirements for the role, but also what other skills do you need for that position?

And that creates a foundation for us called the success profile. And that success profile then leads to the hiring leader being able to create an interview guide that's personalized for their culture, and for their role. And what this research has found is that when you use a defined interview guide with both situational, and behavioral-based questions, that when you get to hear about somebody's skills, and background, it's actually two and a half times more predictive than somebody's experience.

So gone are the days of saying, "I want someone who worked at this organization, and this job for two years." Well, what did they need to accomplish, or experience in those two years? Because maybe it didn't take them two years to do it. Maybe they were able to manage complex calendars, and financial budgets for their family, not in a professional organization, or maybe they supported a partner's business, and it's not on their resume.

And this is where our leadership are really saying, "Let's build that rapport. Let's really get someone too, based on that psychological safety, to tell you more about their experience, and so that we can find them the right job."

And what we have found is that if we demonstrate empathy all along the way, the job seekers start to model that behavior, but in addition, we ensure that every job seeker is demonstrating empathy throughout the selection process.

And it's happened before, right? We've made an offer to a new caregiver, and when they come in for their pre-boarding appointments, they don't show up in the way that they showed up during that interview, and this is an opportunity for us to do an intervention, to say, "You know what? This may not be the right role for you." And we've had people withdraw their applications, and we're okay with that, because if we're able to have somebody make that decision for themselves before getting here, we know that we've been able to improve patient outcomes, patient experience, and also, support our care caregivers.

Steph Bayer: This is all so fascinating, and I want to thank you, as someone who has to hire, and has worked with your team before, it's revolutionized some of my hiring.

So, a few years back at the Cleveland Clinic, one of the things we do, we'll have leaders from other industries come in and speak. And we had, a few years back, Jack Welch came in from GE, and I mean, he did an Ideas for Tomorrow presentation, and his great business mind. When they said, "What is something that you struggle with in business?"

And he said, "Hiring." He said, "I would get it right, maybe, seven out of 10 times. Maybe." And this is one of the great business minds, who said, this is a hard skill. So, when I heard that they gave me some permission to get it wrong too.

But then, you came along, and recently, one of the hardest roles I have to hire for is the Ombudsman.

This is a team that listens to complaints all day long, and there's not a skill set that says, you want someone with this exact background from this company to be able to handle that, but what this whole new Cleveland Clinic caregiver selection process has shown us, is that the backgrounds are diverse.

It's the way you're able to get the skills, and the way you're able to get at who the people are. Our hiring in the last couple of years has just been tremendous. We were getting phenomenal people on our team, and I give you and this process a ton of credit for it. It works. It works. We're seeing it. Thank you.

Kiersten Kanaley: Oh, that makes me so proud to hear that, but it really starts with our hiring leaders, and what type of culture that you create, and how you can articulate that, because again, people are attracted to it, and I feel like you have really been able to create that sense of culture, and be able to share, from the very beginning, that you're going to show up for your caregivers, and that's really what differentiates Cleveland Clinic from the competitors today.

I always remind a leader, you didn't lose that candidate in a negotiation, for a dollar more an hour, you lost that candidate, because you didn't take the time to really understand what matters most and share with them how you can help deliver that.

And Stephanie, I want to thank you for doing that, and we're seeing great leaders across the organization continue to do that. And that's why we've seen both our retention rate improve, and our vacancy rates improve over the last two years.

Steph Bayer: Now, as we know, staffing shortages, currently, are huge challenge throughout the healthcare industry. How do you balance recruiting caregivers with core values, while also satisfying the need to just fill positions?

Kiersten Kanaley: Again, this is something where Cleveland Clinic values have to be integrated at every phase of the recruitment process, and we need to proactively seek those candidates who share our values.

So, I'm really proud that Cleveland Clinic has a Center for Youth and College Education. We're going out into the community very early on, to start talking about what these values are, so that we can start preparing the next generation of future caregivers here.

And then, one of the things is that we are currently delivering on filling critical openings. I'm so proud of the talent acquisition team. Last year alone, we were able to change over 27,000 caregivers' lives. About 40 percent of that, those fills are own internals that are moving throughout the organization, which we're really proud of.

But we also say, "No," to a lot of candidates, but what I'm really proud of, is that we're giving feedback, because it may be, "No," for right now, and here's what you can do in the future, and I want to continue to build on that.

Stephanie, we're going to be doing some really exciting things over the next year, to really, even, how do we bring, how to develop your empathy skills, to the community? Imagine coming to the Cleveland Clinic website to say, "This is what empathy is, and here's some self-guided learning you could participate in."

Steph Bayer: Oh, I love it. You're speaking my language. I love it.

One of the things I know you're doing, and we can talk about this, I'm hopeful, you're making a lot of efforts to recruit, and with intention, people with diverse backgrounds, and experiences.

One of the things, we have a partnership with OneTen, and for those that are listening, and may not be familiar with what OneTen is, OneTen's mission is to hire, promote, and advance 1 million Black individuals, who do not have a four-year degree, and to family-sustaining careers, over the next 10 years.

Can you talk about how that partnership developed, and what work we're doing to recruit people with more diverse backgrounds?

Kiersten Kanaley: Absolutely. And you're connecting me back to a moment where I was sitting in my home in San Diego back in 2021, and every year the Cleveland Clinic does the State of the Clinic. And if you haven't watched it before, make time for it, because even before I came to Cleveland Clinic, every year, I watched it.

And I remember sitting there, and Dr. Mihaljevic said, when he went to the care for the community, "It is our responsibility as the Cleveland Clinic, to intentionally hire from the communities we serve." I had goosebumps as a talent acquisition professional, because here was a CEO of a global leader talking about intentionally recruiting.

Wouldn't you know it? Two weeks later I got the call, so of course, I packed up the family, but with that, it starts with Dr. Mihaljevic, and Dr. Kelly Hancock, and really setting the vision of what this looks like.

So, when we think about this being this at OneTen, Dr. Mihaljevic was an early leader to say he wanted to be the lead for the city of Cleveland. And under his leadership, OneTen has commented, "Not only are we the leader for the city of Cleveland, but we are one of the top five organizations in the way we've been able to implement our strategy and produce these outcomes."

And why? It was really natural for us. And we've been talking about our four care priorities, but for our listeners that are not aware, it's caring for our patients, caring for our caregivers, caring for our community, and then, caring for our organization, and when you think about OneTen, it serves for both our caring for caregivers, and community. The health of our patients, and our caregivers, ties us back into the community, and our ability to both attract, and retain top talent.

A large part of our caring for the community. It includes hiring city of Cleveland residents, and other inclusive hiring, because we know, and I'm sure you're experiencing it out there, when you have a diverse workforce, it promotes creativity, and improves cultural awareness, and it also provides more positive experiences, not only for your caregivers, but your patients as well.

And it's our goal to continue to build an inclusive workplace, and we know that this is all about a journey, not a destination. So, when we think about how we are filling jobs, we don't want to fill jobs, we actually want to fill, and create long-term meaningful careers at the Cleveland Clinic.

I'm really proud of us too. When we first got here, like you would be in your role for two years before you could explore something else, but our organization said, "Why hold someone back? If they're ready to go, let's go ahead, and support them."

And that's allowed our caregivers to advance, but it's also allowing talent to say, "This is a place to come, because I can create all of these different journeys for myself."

So, with that, we've seen a lot of success. First, we developed career pathing. We have defined career paths where you can come into, what I like to call, an on-ramp role, your first role into the Cleveland Clinic, or even healthcare, and those five on-ramp roles, we can show you how to get to 50 next level roles within the organization.

And we don't just show you visually, but our Mandel Global Learning and Leadership Institute will show you how to be able to develop the skills that are needed, how to expose yourself to those experiences.

So, what does that look like? Well, first, we've been able to hire and promote over 900 black caregivers into those middle skills jobs last year, and we are on pace to exceed that again this year.

So, think about that, over 2000 black caregivers into middle skills jobs over the past two years, that's really why Cleveland Clinic is standing out.

In addition, Dr. Melissa Burroughs, who leads our workforce diversity team, kicked off our meeting yesterday with some really exciting news. We have already exceeded our city at Cleveland hiring goal for 2023. That means we've already changed the lives of 1700 Cleveland community members already.

That's far outpaces what we did last year, and the reason why is because we're rebuilding that trust with the community. They're starting to see their neighbors, and their family members, enter into roles that they never thought was possible.

And why we're doing that, is we're no longer saying, "You have to come into the Cleveland Clinic." And it can be intimidating. I mean, I remember how big, and vast this place felt on my first day.

Think about it if you're in a community, and you've never had the opportunity to feel, and see our culture. So, what are we doing? We're going into the community, whether that's Langston Hughes Community Center, and we're having recruiters there where you can just walk in and talk to us. We'll help you prepare your resume, get ready for your interview, and it's even okay if you bring your kids along with you, right?

We really want to meet the community where they are, and it's making a difference in their lives, and it's really allowing us to attract some highly talented caregivers from the communities we serve.

Steph Bayer: It's amazing.

Just last Thursday, we did a leadership round. We did one last Thursday, which was, Walk in Their Shoes. And we had our executive team members, and our leaders across the organization, step into the role of more entry level positions, and see what those jobs might feel like, or what operational roles might feel like.

And I was with our chief caregiver officer, Dr. Kelly Hancock. Kelly and I were with patient transport, and one, they get 20,000 steps a day, seven to eight miles a day.

But we were talking to a gentleman who started in August, and he was exuding empathy, and he was just a wonderful person, as he's talking to patients, and greeting fellow caregivers, and he was talking about his career path, and how he's so glad that he joined in August, and he already knows what his next couple roles are going to be here. And we both just beaming that this is a person we don't want to lose, and not only that, but there's also a growth path now for him.

So, I love that you're thinking so intentionally about how we help make this a home for people.

Kiersten Kanaley: Thank you so much for sharing that experience, because one, I look at that transporter, and how many lives he touches every day with our patients, and our family.

Steph Bayer: Absolutely.

Kiersten Kanaley: So when we talked about the 200 TA caregivers, I always like to remind our organization, we have 77,000 recruiters, right? Every experience, every time that you talk about your current role, and what your career path is going to be, I would love to see our caregiver when he moves to his next role, already identify somebody who he can replace himself with.

Because together, that is our legacy. I think about it like a legacy tree, of how we can continue to lift one another up.

Steph Bayer: I love the legacy tree concept. It's great.

So, let's shift a little bit into some trends. What are the biggest trends in healthcare recruiting? What qualities would you like to see in the workforce in the next five years?

Kiersten Kanaley: So I am really proud of the Cleveland Clinic, because I'm confident we're going to continue to define what those trends are in healthcare recruiting.

So, I think there's three ways that I was thinking about, that we're going to see continue to evolve. We talked a little bit about them.

It's prioritizing the candidate's experience, it's employer branding, and then, it's also technology.

So, what do I mean when I talk about the candidate's experience. We have to make every moment matter. The competition is fierce right now for top talent. We know that a nurse, for example, has to have over 22 interactions with a brand, even before they consider applying.

So, we need to make sure that we're prioritizing that experience. And Stephanie, I know, you, and I, and many leaders across this organization, we had the privilege of hearing Dan and Chip Heath talk about the power of moment.

We have been really focusing on those power of moments, not only from our recruiter experience, but our hiring leader experience, and what excites me, is that team of teams approach, how engaged, and creative our leaders are being.

So, I'll be honest, I'm in old school. When I used to interview for a role, I would wait to get that candidate thank you letter from the candidate. And that actually would be a part of my decision-making process, to see how did they connected back to the organization, the role, the culture of the team, did they see us?

Well, we need to flip the script on this, so we started experimenting earlier this year. What if? What if Cleveland Clinic started sending the reverse thank you letter, after the candidate leaves? What if we wrote them, to say, "Thank you, you could do anything, and go anywhere, but you came here. Thank you for your time. Here's what I heard you say mattered most to you. If you came here, this is what I would deliver for you."

What did we see? Our South Point Hospital, under the leadership of CNO Terri Murray, started doing this. They filled more positions in a quarter than they did in a year.

Steph Bayer: Wow.

Kiersten Kanaley: So think about the activation of that connection from day one.

So now, we're rolling this out everywhere.

So, if you're listening, what else could you be doing? I heard from one of our leaders down in Indian River, he talked a little bit about, that he just puts on the whiteboard on the unit, very important interview today, with the candidate's name. They walk in, and they immediately feel that connection, and that sense of belonging. So, these are low level of effort, no cost, that you can start today, to really connect to that candidate experience.

The next is around employer branding. And Cleveland Clinic, under our leadership of Joanna Jones, is doing amazing activation of our employer branding.

But how do you continue to take that to the next level? That's going to be AI, right? AI is going to be able to optimize the way that we market to candidates, because it's going to be able to analyze the data of our previous successful hires, and making sure that we're continuing to connect, and get the messages in front of the right job seekers.

In addition, where is the right channel, and the key words to reach those potential candidates, and most importantly, managing our budgets most effectively? Because when I manage my budget effectively, operationally, we can give those dollars back to our patients, and our caregivers, so that's really important to us as well.

And also, personalization. So, we're already starting to see AI, how you can start to personalize those messages, who the persona is to really connect from that very first interaction, because none of us want spam, right? Even our text messages are starting to be spam, now, but when somebody connects with you personally, you're more likely to start that conversation.

And then, last, is really the technology and data. And data is the backbone of everything that we do here in talent acquisition. And there's so much data to process, so how AI is going to be able to look at, not only the efficiencies of our recruitment process, how our caregivers perform in the organization, but also those market trends, so that we can generate insights.

Because there are times, right now, when I look at our medical assistant roles, where our Strategic Workforce and Planning team was able to say, "There's not enough supply to be able to fill your vacancies."

Well, that was a moment for us to say, "How else could we be doing the work?" Well, we looked at creating a new role that was an on-ramp, and within 90 days, right, we were able to fill over 70 positions, providing opportunities for our community, expanding access to care.

Again, this is a way that AI, and data will be able to continue to help us make informed decisions, reduce bias, and keep hiring the right performers who are going to thrive here.

Steph Bayer: I love this. I could talk to you all day. Thank you for joining me. TA Professionals, insurers, healthcare organizations are staffed with caregivers. We're not only highly skilled, but compassionate, empathetic, and remember that empathy in healthcare is not just a nice-to-have, but an absolute necessity.

Thank you for joining today.

Kiersten Kanaley: Thank you. I'm so happy to have had this opportunity to connect with you, and your listeners. And I hope, together, we've been able to inspire anyone who's been tuning in to ask their organization what matters most to them?

And one of the benefits of the last three years, is the way that we've come together as a healthcare community, and if Stephanie and I have shared something with you that's inspired you today, I encourage with you to connect with anyone here at the Cleveland Clinic, and let's continue the conversation.

Steph Bayer: That's the perfect way to end it. I'd love to continue these conversations with anyone who's interested in joining our family.

This concludes the Studies and Empathy podcast. You can find additional podcast episodes on our website, my.clevelandclinic.org/podcast. Subscribe to the Studies and Empathy podcast, on iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcast.

Thank you for listening.

Join us again soon.

Studies in Empathy
Studies in Empathy VIEW ALL EPISODES

Studies in Empathy

Join Cleveland Clinic Patient Experience leaders and a diverse group of guests as we delve into the human(e) experience in healthcare. Thought leaders share insight, anecdotes, and perspectives on empathy as a functional concept for Patient Experience leadership, and also just about everything else we do in healthcare- quality, safety, burnout, and engagement leadership.
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