A Brief Case: How do I recruit good people?

Mary Beth Kingston
Chief nursing officer
Advocate Aurora Health

“Our purpose at Advocate Aurora Health is helping people live well. We intentionally seek nurses who can advance that mission. As one of the 10 largest not-for-profit integrated health systems in the country, our 22,000 nurses have diverse and broad opportunities to pursue their passion, whether they wish to work in a hospital, a clinic, in home care, or in a variety of specialty areas such as clinical informatics or nursing education.

“We look for a diverse nursing workforce that represents the patient population we care for every day. A good fit is an individual who wants to actively participate in enhancing care delivery, the work environment, and the profession of nursing in alignment with our purpose. We look for new graduates and experienced nurses who are interested in professional development, innovation and research. We have a strong tuition reimbursement program, continuing education, partnership with schools, and opportunities to get involved in system nursing shared governance, affording nurses an active voice in their practice. Our team-based approach to care, with strong partnerships between physicians, nurses and other clinicians, makes Advocate Aurora Health a desirable place for nurses to learn, grow and make a difference.

“Nurses comprise one-third of our workforce and reach far and wide across our organization, which makes nursing engagement critical to our success. We know when we have nurses who are engaged and willing to participate, we have better outcomes for the people we serve.

John McWilliam
John McWilliam

John McWilliam

“Recruiting good people usually starts with my current team acknowledging that we need to add someone and perhaps discussing what sort of capabilities or characteristics are required for the position. This makes transitioning easier as the team anticipates the arrival of a new member.

“Because we do operate as a team, having everyone on board helps to ensure that chemistry will develop. Careful screening of applications will help to narrow the search for candidates. Then I will personally call the screened applicants to get a sense of their personality and background. If I get a ‘good feeling’ from that conversation, it will most likely move to the next level. I usually prefer someone with a diverse background who can function on many levels and is a team player. I also prefer people who have an interest in moving up from lower trained positions to higher managerial positions. Or from highly skilled trade positions to higher managerial positions if the candidate is so inclined.

“I like to discuss and share with candidates long-term goals so that I feel that I am offering them a job that can contribute to healthy life development, both in filling their workplace potential and vocational pursuits, while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

“Sometimes my instincts will out-rule any consensus when I recognize strong potential for long-term growth. Other times, I will allow part of the admin team to do the final screening and hiring. Other candidates will come highly recommended from fellow staffers and they are usually our first choice.”

George Meyer
George Meyer

George Meyer
Kahler Slater Inc.

“Kahler Slater uses a three-prong magnet strategy – people, process and projects – to attract great people to our firm.

“Our people bring national expertise, and are transparent, responsive and nimble when it comes to getting to know our customers and ensuring we co-create design solutions that will deliver powerful results for their organizations. We compete (and win) against the largest design firms in the country, yet our scale makes us accessible and agile in ways that larger firms are not. Culturally, community involvement and employee engagement are thriving. Every two years we align with a community partner – the last two years with Milwaukee Riverkeeper and in 2019 and 2020 with the Guest House of Milwaukee. We set aside a firmwide volunteering day to serve our community partner’s needs.

“Our process incorporates industry-leading virtual reality, 3D printing and drone footage to help our stakeholders make more informed, expedited decisions. Our colleagues both present at and attend conferences focused on emerging technologies nationally to ensure we are bringing the latest insights to our performance-based design process.

“Our projects attract employees. Today’s employees seek opportunities to work on projects that are big and small, local and national, and technically innovative. We have that in spades at Kahler Slater. Some of our recent projects include the new home for the Milwaukee Symphony in the (Warner Grand Theatre) and the Brown County Expo Center (in Green Bay).”

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