Demand for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) professionals is high, yet some agencies are struggling to fill positions. Once hired, physical strain, stress, and low pay drive several professionals to leave quickly. It’s an agency’s responsibility to recruit and retain employees, but doing so can take focus from other priorities like public safety, limited budgets, and continuing education.
Consider the following when staffing your agency:
Before improving your hiring procedures, you must understand your current proficiency. Poll your staff for their current satisfaction and pain points. If fewer than 70 percent of employees are satisfied, something must be addressed.
Patient satisfaction is a relevant sign of EMS professionals’ satisfaction. If their performance is suffering, employees may be struggling with their duties. Track attrition rates. How often do employees leave? Why do they leave?
Look for trends in your feedback, and maintain your monitoring efforts. You don’t want to offer so many surveys that employees feel overwhelmed, but this monitoring isn’t something you do once. There is always more to discover.
2. Community Engagement
Every agency should attend local events like career fairs and host programs like ride-alongs. In addition to educating your community about EMS practices and public safety, this engagement inspires young people to consider joining the profession. You can also provide internship opportunities for office work to more interested students. By engaging with students as individuals, you nurture their interest in EMS.
3. Digital Recruitment
The internet is a significant resource for recruitment. Social media allows you to engage with students and professionals for free. In addition to mass communication, you can interact with users one-to-one.
Job sites like Glassdoor and Monster are also popular options among agencies. They provide a location to link to electronic applications. Current and former employees as well as applicants can review your agency. Not all reviews will be positive, but negative reviews and your responses provide valuable insights for candidates.
4. Employee Development
Employees are an investment. Let them know you value them by nurturing their skills. Provide on-boarding to show new professionals your internal processes and allow them to practice fundamental skills. Support their careers with frank feedback and incentives.
Create a company culture with small perks. Celebrate birthdays and host potluck lunches to show employees they are more than just workers.
Staffing an agency isn’t easy, especially when the work is hard and budget is limited; no agency is exempt.
Evan Stiger is Marketing Coordinator II at Pocket Nurse. He recently attended the “Workforce Development and Retention” session presented by Shane Anaya of Meckleberg EMS at the Swamp Rabbit Prehospital Medicine Conference at Greenville Health System in South Carolina.