A Conversation with Appcast & the VNA of Florida
When the COVID-19 virus stunned the world earlier this year, Appcast partnered with leading job boards in the industry to develop a grant program to support the immediate hiring needs of organizations fighting the pandemic. The grant was set up with the goal of paying for recruitment advertising to help any governmental agency, NGO, healthcare system, or organization in the U.S. or Canada that needed to emergently recruit staff to slow and/or treat the COVID-19 pandemic in our communities.
I recently sat down with one of our grant recipients – Sarah Gilbride, Director of Human Resources at the Visiting Nurses Association of Florida – to learn about her experience hiring healthcare professionals during this unprecedented and challenging time, and to learn more about how the VNA put the grant money to work.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the VNA of Florida and your experience with the organization.
A: The VNA of Florida is a Home Health Agency that spans across the entire state of Florida. I’ve been working here for roughly 3 years. We provide nursing services and home health aides, as well as therapists to our clients. Home Health, understandably, became really valuable during this time when a lot of hospitals and clinics were either deserted or incredibly saturated with patients and healthcare providers. When the pandemic started, we definitely did feel a difference in how we needed to allocate our Home Health Aides across all locations. It was interesting to see the fluctuation of hiring needs during that time to care for all of our patients.
Q: Before becoming a recipient of Appcast’s COVID-19 Recruitment Grant, had you heard about us before?
A: I’d never heard about Appcast before, but the call I received about the grant was perfect timing; recruiting was starting to become a real challenge and our average apply rates were getting lower.
Q: How did you use the money to promote your critical open jobs? What types of roles are essential right now within your organization?
A: I worked with my Appcast account team to strategize accordingly and understand what our biggest hiring needs in all our markets were. We wanted to ensure we used our grant money appropriately via Appcast’s Xcelerate solution so we could reach as many candidates as possible, given our available budget. We decided the best course of action was to advertise our essential evergreen positions (RN’s, LPN’s, home health aides) in the hot spots of Florida, and the results were explosive… it made us happy to have another source of quality applicants on top of what we were already doing to attract talent.
Q: What are your thoughts on the future of recruiting healthcare talent as it relates to COVID-19? What do you see as potential challenges or opportunities?
A: Healthcare recruiting and hiring were already competitive before the pandemic hit. With COVID-19, it became even more difficult to find quality people, because there was such an instant and intense need. I suspect that healthcare hiring will remain highly competitive in the future as the battle against COVID-19 continues to be a significant challenge.
Q: Can you tell us about some of the people you’ve hired during this difficult time? What has been their impact on the VNA?
A: From our grant money we used with Appcast Xcelerate, we received a super healthy mixture of candidates from all jobs we were advertising in Tampa and Treasure Coast. The quality of candidates provided by Appcast was so good that we hired 50% of the candidates we interviewed.
About The Visiting Nurse Association of Florida:
The Visiting Nurse Association of Florida is a Medicare-certified, non-profit, home healthcare agency. Over the 40 years the VNA of Florida has been in operation, our organization has proudly received esteemed national recognition and accepted many industry awards thanks to consistent high customer service ratings we have received from our home health patients. Our history of excellence in customer service and our established compassion in caring for patients is what distinguishes VNA of Florida from other home health agencies.