In a post-COVID world, healthcare workers have become demoralized, dehumanized, and burnt out.
The question is: Will your staffing firm be part of the problem, or contribute to the solution?
Marvel Medical Staffing is a great example of a firm that’s doing the latter.
Although the market continues to be in a state of flux right now, healthcare staffing’s role has never been more critical. Finding high quality talent to fill roles that, frankly, aren’t as appealing as they used to be is a tall order.
Thankfully, staffing firms like Marvel Medical are not only leading the charge to connect healthcare professionals with job opportunities, but they’re changing the conversation about how we take care of these essential workers, focusing on:
- Mental health and wellness
- Guiding professionals through constant market shifts
- Avoiding burnout and exhaustion
- Building trust between recruiter and traveler
Our CXO Adam Conrad recently sat down with Candace Clow, Marvel Medical’s co-founder, to discuss how they’re seeing the humanity of healthcare recruiters moving to the forefront of a challenging sector.
Marvel Medical: forged in the fires of COVID-19
There’s never a perfect time to start a business. However, some times are better than others. Launching a new venture in the spring of 2020—at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic—is probably one of the worst options.
Yet that is exactly what happened with Marvel Medical. In November 2019, Clow and her husband had sold off some assets and bought a house with an office space in the basement. What’s more, they were expecting their second child together.
Then, the pandemic happened.
The entire world was turned upside down, and these new business owners had to scratch and claw and do what they had to do to survive. “The balance is hard when you’re starting a business and you’re the investors of that business. Everything was on the line.”
As time went on and they were able to place the business on surer footing, they had a first-hand view into how healthcare workers were treated during the worst days of the pandemic. This perspective helped to solidify Marvel Medical’s mission and reinforce the importance of their mission.
The post-COVID re-humanization of healthcare
Before the pandemic, healthcare workers were already overworked and on the verge of burnout. The trauma of the pandemic only served to make it worse.
That’s why from their inception, Marvel Medical had a mission to remind healthcare workers, “We’re here for you. You’re not just a number.” In other words, there was and is a major need to re-humanize the healthcare sector. “They’re floating from state to state, facility to facility. That human element has to be there for them.”
Many healthcare staffing agencies offer perks to their travelers and candidates. But one thing is often missing from these perks: mental health services. As a result, Marvel Medical’s first initiative was to partner with Focused Therapies in Omaha, NE, to offer a free monthly seminar for travelers or clinicians with a nationally certified clinical counselor. The first topic: how to deal with difficult patients.
“This is basically our first phase,” said Clow. In the future, the company will expand to offer private clinical counseling sessions for travelers free of cost while they’re on assignment with them.
Another major aspect of re-humanization is trust, which is built on a foundation of transparency. Immediately after the pandemic, labor shortages meant that many recruiter-professional relationships became transactional—recruiters were desperate to fill positions, and professionals could be choosier about which jobs they took.
“It was no fault of the recruiter or the healthcare professional,” said Clow, “Now the market is shifting back, and trust is going to come back into play, where the healthcare professional relies on the recruiter to guide them through market shifts.”
A tightening labor market means a recentering of those relationships, and trust is going to be a key ingredient. This presents a major opportunity for staffing firms to differentiate themselves by building a reputation as a place that values and takes care of their healthcare professionals.
“You sell based on your character and integrity, by being open and transparent,” said Clow. “Once you build that solid foundation with them, you earn that retention and trust.”
READ MORE: Why employee wellbeing is an asset, not a liability.
How Marvel Medical balances technology with humanization
It’s impossible to talk about humanization in recruiting without discussing technology. And that conversation inevitably leads to the question: how do you find the balance between those two elements?
According to Clow, technology is critical. However, “you’re never going to remove that human element. You can modernize onboarding experience, but even if you have the tech, candidates still need to know where they stand, when they’ll get an interview, status updates, etc. The recruiter has to be there for them.”
What’s more, Clow remarked how tech never exists in a vacuum. “There have to be people behind the tech to push certain functions through.” It’s certainly not a set-it-and-forget it situation.
Recruiting technology is most powerful when you use it to enhance the human experience, not replace it. A specific example Clow provided was the use of real-time reviews within their organization. “Our travelers can give reviews from start to finish, not just to the recruiter, but up and down the whole team.”
Not only that, but Marvel Medical has processes in place to act on those reviews, addressing the issues with candidates and clients, and fixing them internally. “That’s how you set yourself apart from competitors.”
Motivation: a Marvel Medical core value
Among Marvel Medical’s core values is motivation. “You get up every morning, you have to love and be motivated to do what you do every day. So while we’re a sales organization, we’re more than that. We’re taking care of people, who in turn are taking care of clients and patients in need.”
Clow specifically mentioned these key elements that are central to motivation:
- Enjoying what you do on a day-to-day basis
- Getting along with your team and the people you serve
- Caring not just about sales, but taking care of professionals across their whole journey
Although she did not originally come from a healthcare background, Clow’s passion for the industry grew the longer she spent time with these healthcare professionals. “Until you get into this industry, you don’t realize how big healthcare is and the impact it makes. We all take it for granted.”
Marvel Medical, however, is fighting against that trend, and working to change how healthcare professionals are perceived—not as drones or numbers, but as whole people.