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Takeaways from Building a Per Diem Staffing Platform

In today’s rapidly evolving market, standing out to talent has become increasingly difficult. Even seasoned staffing agencies are struggling to keep up and are constantly re-evaluating their processes and strategies to stay ahead. It’s no longer enough to simply offer opportunities to candidates. Agencies must discover what they actually want from their staffing experience and how they can deliver it in a way that sets them apart.

Activate CEO Rohan Jacob recently had the opportunity to sit down with John Ruffini, Vice President of Professional Development at HealthTrust Workforce Solutions and renowned industry speaker. HealthTrust is among the top ten largest healthcare staffing agencies and the largest healthcare managed services provider (MSP) across the United States. They provide services and placements for travel nurses, per diem nurses, permanent placement, health information management (HIM) and medical coding.

During their conversation, they discussed how HealthTrust’s staffing platform came to be, what it really takes to build a mobile staffing platform in-house and lessons learned along the way. 

Challenges of building an in-house mobile staffing platform

The biggest challenge of building their in-house mobile app was approaching how to get the platform to seamlessly integrate with their current ATS. Ensuring that information is being passed between systems and to the nurses and healthcare facilities they service is important so that everything can run smoothly and efficiently. 

The main goal was to make using the platform easy for nurses, recruiters and hospitals. Making this happen was the primary challenge. Part of creating a good experience was to have someone on the team be responsible for putting together micro-learning videos and quick reference guides. This helps the users get the most out of the app and maximize their use of the tool.

Building an app in-house takes a long time

Even though they spent a lot of time building the tool, the first iteration of the platform failed. The idea to make a staffing platform started brewing in 2018. After careful consideration of building in-house or using a white-labeled provider, they ultimately decided to develop the platform internally. After the first version didn’t perform well, HealthTrust took a step back to visualize what could be done better. It took a lot of discussion with the team and user base, development, trial and testing to get the successful second version up and running. 

50% of their per diem staffing shifts are filled through the platform

The success of the second iteration of the mobile app was almost immediately apparent. Even though the platform was launched sometime in 2022, by December HealthTrust is already filling an estimated 50% of their per diem shifts through the app. Their goal for 2023 is to get this to 70-80%.

John Ruffini noted that their app is already showing results where it’s helping facilities and recruiters alike be more efficient. Not only that but the nurses are loving the self-service experience because it empowers them to take control of their own scheduling.

Why it’s important to listen to what your audience actually wants

One of their biggest takeaways from building a staffing platform is that it’s absolutely essential to listen to what the users of the app actually want. Trying to convince them to get on board with an experience they have no interest in is futile – they simply won’t use it. “Find out what your audience wants and deliver that solution instead of trying to say ‘what’s out there and what can we do differently’ without getting in touch with your user base,” advised John Ruffini.

The wave of automation in contract staffing is going to continue

When asked about what he thought the future of automation in staffing would look like in the coming years, John Ruffini’s response was that, although the human aspect of recruiting isn’t going anywhere, it’s only going to continue to evolve. 

“[Recruitment is] a relationship business,” commented John. “So I think we’re moving more toward a world where the candidate gets to decide how much interaction they have with the recruiter – based on what they need and what the recruiter can deliver that technology can’t.”

Offering a mobile app to your candidates is a no-brainer

Having the option to allow candidates to empower themselves through a mobile platform should no longer be considered an option for recruiters. Candidates want to take control of their job search and have real-time access to job opportunities. In today’s job market, offering a platform sets your agency apart from the competition and positions you as desirable to work with. 

“If you are a staffing firm, especially a contract staffing firm, and you do not have this technology, you’re at a severe disadvantage. And in today’s world where candidates in every industry are in high demand and short supply, you need every possible way to say, ‘We’re easy to work with. Come work with us and we’ll give you real-time access to these jobs through this technology.’ If you’re not already there, you better get there pretty quick.”

Regardless of the size of your agency, it’s clear that having a mobile staffing platform is no longer a luxury for recruiters, but a necessity. It’s the future of staffing and it’s critical to get on board as soon as possible. 

If you’re not sure how to get started, schedule a chat with an expert on our team. We’re here to help you navigate this transition and meet your agency’s unique needs and empower your candidates through technology.

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