Certified Nursing assistants provide basic care for patients under the supervision of a Licensed Practical Nurse or a Registered Nurse. To become a Nursing assistant candidates have to complete a state-approved education program and pass state exams. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics projected an 11% growth for the CNA field between 2016 and 2026. CNAs not only have to learn and retain medical knowledge, but they also have to exercise great people skills.

Market analysts are reporting that healthcare turnover is the second highest turnover out of all industries, second only to hospitality. The blend of high turnover and above average projected growth creates a labor gap that requires a strategic approach and creative use of resources. We all know that turnover harms organizations productivity and hurts the bottom line, so how do we fix it?

When hiring people for an environment where there is a growing need of support for patients unable to take care of their own basic needs, you should do everything you can to ensure you are making quality hiring decisions. Being a premium healthcare provider means having highly qualified talent that strives to provide premium level service.

A cost-effective way to screen for the best candidates is to leverage pre-employment skills testing. Here are a few ways to use this resource in your hiring:

Bring new talent to the field

Find ways to differentiate yourself from other healthcare providers through your recruiting strategy and make your standard of excellence part of your recruitment marketing efforts.

Offer a CNA practice skills test class or pay for CNA skills exams to attract new talent to the field.

By having an employer-sponsored training program, candidates who are not able to pay for the education and certification out of pocket may consider entering the field. Candidates who take advantage of employer-sponsored training and certification fees are likely to stay with their employer longer, especially if you have an agreement that employees have to pay back a percentage of their education assistance if they leave within a year. Dailypay reports that 23.8% of new hires in the medical field leave within the first year so offering educational assistance is a great incentive for new hires to consider longer employment. The national bureau of economic research suggests that providing education assistance to employees is beneficial to the employee and employer citing examples of cost savings in turnover, gain in productivity, and more knowledgeable hires while employees are developing skills that make them more marketable to other opportunities.

Confirm Experience and Knowledge

When screening experienced CNAs for positions you can use pre-employment skills testing to identify candidates who are able to understand and carry out your standard of quality.

Hiring candidates trained by other employers doesn’t guarantee that they are trained correctly. The same holds true for education and certifications; not all programs are created equally and accurately. Use CNA Skills tests to determine if CNA candidates are retaining basic medical knowledge taught, critical conversion information, day to day responsibilities, and how to respond to specific behaviors. Committing to better-informed hiring decisions through a well-implemented screening process will save you time and money.

Fill Gaps on the Team

Not every employee has to be great at the same things. Pre-employment skills can assist recruiters and hiring managers in identifying candidates who bring skills that are lacking from the current team in an unbiased manner. The right skills test can identify strengths that can be leveraged for the success of the team and organization in carrying out quality patient care.

Create a Path for Development

Healthcare facilities should create paths for medical field development to employees working in other areas of the organization. Receptionists and orderlies who have an interest in growing their skill set are prime candidates for development into CNA opportunities. Skills assessments can assist in identifying their potential.

Consider building a path for development beyond the CNA level as well. Pre-employment screening can assist in identifying candidates who will excel in leadership and development opportunities that you will have in the future. Candidates who know you are an employer interested in and open to growing your talent to higher level medical positions are more likely to choose you in their early career stages specifically for those future opportunities. Having an understandable path to higher trained, higher paying positions can boost your recruiting efforts and positively increase your retention rates year over year.

A pre-employment skills testing approach to your CNA hiring needs can expose the field to new potential talent, provide a baseline of knowledge for experienced candidates, and support better-hiring decisions for your organization. Better hiring decisions can lead to better retention and better outcomes through productivity and financially. Increasing your retention of CNAs can potentially save up to $49k per position in a medical organization.

Learn how CNA skills tests can improve your hiring confidence and set your organization up for success. Request a demo.

Kristina Minyard

Kristina Minyard is currently the Director of Ignite Education in Huntsville, AL. She has over 11 years experience in HR, Recruiting, and Business Development. She utilizes her skills and experience in HR Consulting, Technical Recruiting, HR Policies, Staffing Services, and Labor Relations to create content on her blog hrpockets.com and other platforms.

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