Health Care and Human Resources

Spectrum emphasizes talent

Health system’s talent acquisition department recognized by international award.

March 6, 2015
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Spectrum Health’s talent acquisition department successfully made it through the assessment process to be selected for an ERE Recruiting Excellence Award.

ERE, an international trade publication and information source for human resources and recruiting industries, announced recently Spectrum Health was selected as the large company talent acquisition department of the year.

Award winners encompassed eight categories: best college recruiting program, best military talent program, best employee referral program, best strategic use of technology, best employer brand, best careers website, best on-boarding program, and recruiting department of the year.

Jim D’Amico, director of system talent acquisition at Spectrum Health, said there is no bigger honor than receiving recognition from ERE for talent acquisition.

“For my field professionally, this is like our Academy Awards — this is a Best Picture,” said D’Amico. “It is an international organization, so the significance is pretty huge. There is a very thorough application process; it took us weeks to even prepare for it.”

Upon receiving application packet submissions, a panel of judges evaluates metrics that range from how the talent acquisition department adds value and impacts the overall business to how the organization has differentiated itself from others in the field.

Other criteria include how staff members are educated and the types of special programs implemented, according to D’Amico.

When D’Amico joined Spectrum Health about a year and a half ago, the department underwent restructuring to move away from a transactional methodology to focus on a value-added model. Originally, the team took job orders, collected job résumés, conducted screenings and forwarded information until somebody was ready to draft an offer letter, according to D’Amico.

“This is what a lot of recruiting departments do. Our mission is to get the best people into the organization, because if we are going to be the best, you have to have the best people,” said D’Amico. “We restructured the team and moved the focus on positions based on the difficulty to fill versus necessarily what area they are in.”

One of the key strategies is to assign requisitions to three “swim lanes” labeled A, B and C based on the level of recruiter intervention needed, barrier to entry and candidate availability, according to the Spectrum Health Human Resources’ 2014 Talent Acquisition Business Review.

The C swim lane is designated for entry-level positions, while the B swim lane comprises nursing positions, information technology positions and those requiring an assessment interview and slight recruiter intervention. Employment opportunities within the A swim lane include more specialized positions such as those in nursing, IT and finance. For the fiscal year 2014, Spectrum Health had 48 percent of requisitions attributed to the C lane, 47 percent in the B lane, and only 5 percent in the A lane.

“Those require massive recruiter intervention, so we created a sourcing function. I have one person on the team who all they do is go out and find people. We can post this job to a million sites and would never get anyone to apply, so we have to find the people,” said D’Amico. “We proactively seek out talent.”

Spectrum Health received more than 179,000 applications from roughly 40,500 unique applicants for fiscal year 2014, according to the Talent Acquisition Business Review. Out of 5,840 approved requisitions, more than 5,800 were filled. Roughly 42 percent of the positions were non-clinical, while the rest were clinical requisitions.

By focusing on process metrics such as the number of people recruiters are interviewing and the amount of offer turndown, D’Amico said the organization has been able to hire faster and reduce the amount of declines from roughly 250 each year to fewer than 25.

“We fill about 6,000 positions a year. When I arrived here, we had a lot of offer turndowns. Ultimately that is not good because you either have to re-start the process, or you wind up hiring the person who maybe wasn’t your first choice,” said D’Amico. “We created a calendar on our Managing for Daily Improvement boards, or MDI, and we looked at it. Our acceptance offer rate is 99.5 percent.”

The importance of having a successful talent acquisition strategy for the overall sustainability and growth of the organization can be the time it takes to fill needed positions and impact hiring expenses, according to D’Amico.

“In focusing on process improvement and really being disciplined in how we do things, we are faster. We reduced it 10 percent, which adds 21,000 additional days of employment for Spectrum Health,” said D’Amico. “It is expensive to reacquire talent. Focusing on assessing talent, making sure we have the right talent aligned with the right team, with the right manager, we can help make successful placements within the organization.”

Past winners of the ERE Recruiting Excellence Awards include: American Cancer Society, Microsoft, Dell, Ernst & Young, PNC Bank, Marriott, Whirlpool, UPS and Veterans United Home Loans.

The judging panel consisted of experienced recruiting professionals from Cabela’s, Office Depot, ERE, Carrington Mortgage Holdings, GE, Marcus & Millichap and Capital Group Global Companies.

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