When Brooke Glennon failed organic chemistry in college, she knew she had to make a change—but that didn’t mean her passion for helping others changed with it. The biomedical science student knew she needed to readjust her focus, but also wanted to ensure she could remain in the healthcare world. After picking up a minor in communications at Auburn University, Glennon began carving out a new path—one that combined her having graduated cum laude with a bachelor of science with her newfound communications skills. “I didn’t necessarily want to be treating patients hands-on, but I knew I wanted to stay involved in the medical field,” Glennon explains. “Working for an organization that is improving patients’ lives is the motivating factor for me.”
Glennon took that passion to her role as a therapy recruitment specialist at Encompass Health (then known as HealthSouth) in 2006 and has spent the decade-plus since helping the organization similarly overcome challenges and provide top-tier care.
At the time Glennon started with Encompass Health, the organization had just faced the exit of a CEO who had been reporting fraudulent earnings. The organization was also struggling with staffing issues: Only three HR representatives were supporting about one hundred hospitals and several hundred outpatient clinics. But drawing from her college experience, Glennon knew that no challenge was insurmountable.
She quickly rose through other leadership roles, from national recruiter to specializing in campus recruitment and acting as a human resources project manager for the organization as a whole. Most recently, Glennon became associate director of recruitment marketing and operations, further allowing her to find innovative solutions that make a direct impact on the organization’s ability to recruit top talent.
Partnering with the vice president of talent acquisition, Glennon began identifying holes in Encompass Health’s processes, particularly places in which technology could make a strong impact on talent strategy. They quickly noted that vendors such as Avature offered tools that could make a massive impact on their efforts. “We really just started tackling things one at a time, trying to build up our recruitment efficiency,” Glennon explains. “Technology has by far been the biggest change agent within the talent acquisition space over the last decade.”
To enhance this approach, Encompass Health has specifically opted to work with technologies with which it can pair its dedicated personal touch. Though recruitment tools are helping the company identify candidates, track progress, and more, talented recruiters are still phone screening candidates and building personal relationships. “That should never change,” Glennon says. “But once we’ve built that relationship, we really want to make sure that the process going forward is as easy and simple as possible for the candidate. We have a team of dedicated recruiters who are sourcing top talent, staying in touch with warm leads, and guiding candidates through the application and interview process. While technology is rapidly changing the landscape of recruiting, we do not want to stray away from the personal touch of a recruiter.”
One particular tool used in that effort is video interviewing, which works to ensure that Encompass Health can arrange interviews even with, for example, nurses who might be working night shifts and unable to make it into the office during the recruiters’ working hours. Instead, the nurses could record videos in which they answer interview questions and submit them to recruiters. Despite its advantages, Glennon needed to ease concerns that the video interviews would harm the candidate experience. “We had to carve out time to help candidates through the process and explain the best practices to recruiters,” she says. “But we shared the value in being able to evaluate clients faster, often within 24–48 hours, whenever it’s convenient for that hiring manager. Especially in a healthcare system, where hiring managers are also treating patients, trying to set aside part of their day to interview someone can be really challenging.”
Another clear advantage offered by these technological advances comes from data analysis. By using Avature’s candidate relationship management system (CRM) and an applicant tracking system, the organization can more easily and quickly visualize and analyze data based on the high volume of candidates. “Through the use of tools such as our online reference checking tool and our assessments, we are providing hiring managers with a more well-rounded view of the candidate’s skills and abilities,” Glennon explains. Additionally, Encompass Health communicates with candidates using the mediums they prefer, such as SMS and social media, in order to provide the best possible experience. “In fact, our SMS is integrated via Avature, and we use Avature portals to collect leads via our social media campaigns,” Glennon says.
Beyond providing a better experience for candidates, these technological tools have made life easier for Encompass Health employees as well. In the past, recruiters were frequently duplicating work because there wasn’t a single resource where they could share information. After implementing Avature’s CRM solution, recruiters have been able to work more efficiently. For example, they can now run saved searches for résumés overnight so that they can identify new talent each morning. The tools offer transparency, as well. Recruiters can see each other’s work and build standardized interview forms and email templates to share best practices between the twenty-eight team members. “Avature has allowed our recruiters to operate more efficiency, allowing them more time to spend with the candidates, and collecting valuable feedback from their hiring managers,” Glennon says. “It has provided greater insight into our best sources for talent, which in turn affects how we invest our recruitment marketing funds.”
As the organization prepares for the increasing struggles of the complex talent market in healthcare, technology will continue to be a key part of recruitment strategy on college campuses. Encompass Health connects with about fifty schools each year, and Avature customizable campus and events portal is allowing Glennon’s team to electronically capture leads at events and effectively communicate with those leads. The Avature internship portal similarly enables Encompass Health to report back on how many interns they have, on exactly who those interns are, and then to engage with them to potentially convert them to a hire.
“In addition to our presence on campuses, we partner with schools to allow students to come and study under clinical instructors to get those clinical hours that they need,” Glennon says. “We’re trying to be proactive and show them what it’s like to work here. If they spend several weeks in our hospital and really like what we do, then chances are we can convert them to a hire.”
More than recruiting and retaining top talent, these tools and strategies have combined to greater overall success for the organization. However, even newfound success has proven to be a new outlet for which advanced technology has become key. “Prior to implementing Avature, we didn’t have a way to track how successful our recruiting events were,” Glennon says. “Now, I can see where each of those leads end up in our recruiting pipeline. That has been vital in our recruitment efforts.”
Looking to the future, Encompass Health is seeking to further stand at the forefront of Google’s job search technology. In 2017, the organization launched Google’s unrivaled search technology on its career site, adding a further level of ease to applicants’ search experience. “The Google Cloud Jobs API allows for a sleek and user-friendly search experience,” Glennon explains. Now, searches return better results than merely exact matches. It also provides more intuitive results and eliminates the need to display internal job categorizations, which might not always be intuitive for someone outside of an organization. Encompass Health further enhanced its website to provide a personalized candidate experience, offering relevant jobs based on users’ geographic location and site behavior.
The healthcare industry is facing a nursing shortage in part due to the growing wave of elder patients needing care, and any advantage that an organization can get is important. But beyond the technological advantages they’ve employed, the key advantage Encompass Health has is its powerful mission. “My team feels very connected to our company’s values and mission of providing high-quality patient care,” Glennon says. “When we fill a nursing position or a therapy position, we know that we’re having a direct impact on a patient’s life and a person’s ability to get better.”
Photos: Gillian Fry