Matt Rimer

TA WEEK: Trinity Health Director of TA Matt Rimer

Matt RimerDirector of TA

Today, we kick off our coverage from the the floor of Talent Acquisition (TA) Week in sunny San Diego, California. We chat with Matt Rimer, Director of TA at Trinity Health, about some of the biggest hiring challenges currently facing healthcare and why it’s an exciting time to be involved with talent acquisition in healthcare. Matt tells us about the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the healthcare industry and the strategies Trinity Health is implementing to attract more healthcare talent, especially nurses. We also discuss the involvement of C-suite executives in these initiatives and the launch of Trinity’s employee referral program, along with Matt’s key insights on the percentage of total hires that should come from referrals. To learn more about healthcare TA, liaising with C-suite executives, and implementing high-level strategies, be sure to tune in today!

Episode Transcript


[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontline’s modern recruitment.

[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions, where are they willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.

[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings, I got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

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[0:00:53.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent to Me.


[0:00:59.0] RS: Hello again, all of my wonderful talent acquiring munchkins out there in podcast land. It is I, your friend Rob, here again with another incident classic installment of your favorite recruiting podcast. And there is a general hubbub and who’s what’s going on around me that is because I am podcasting from the floor of the TA week conference here in sunny San Diego, California. I’ll be doing so throughout this week here at this amazing conference. I’m meeting with as many of the keynote speakers as I can. So if you want to go over to the TA Week website and check out who’s going to be speaking, you can just listen to them on this podcast. Instead of spending 1000s of dollars and traveling to a conference. I’m bringing it straight to you. So that’s what’s happening here on the podcast for the foreseeable episode future. And my first guest of these keynote speakers is standing with me. He is the director of TA over at Trinity Health, Matthew Rimer. Matthew, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?

[0:01:51.0] MR: I’m happy to be here. And you know, I guess if you wanted to pay the 1000 basically what you’re getting into here is 60. Sunny and a light breeze. So I guess it’s good. It’s all good. It’s good to be live. It’s good to see you live specifically.

[0:02:04.0] RS: Yeah, exactly. It’s good to be here in person, I will say and it’s not a bad way to spend a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, because it was negative one degree is where I am. So this is definitely an upgrade. But you are gearing up for a presentation here shortly. Right. I think you’re going right from here to there. So what’s the talk gonna be about?

[0:02:20.0] MR: We’re gonna talk a little bit about employee referral programs today. And so at Trinity, I’m basically an internal consultant for them. I’ve been there for a little over three years, which we’ll talk about, I’m sure here in a few minutes. And so really over the course of the last nine months or so, we’ve been working hard to relaunch our employee referral program, we kind of taking it from probably like a below average type program as it relates to source of hire and kind of where we’re getting our talent from, and really trying to elevate it, and really leverage all of our colleagues to kind of get involved in and trying to, frankly, address some of the talent acquisition woes that we have at Trinity. And that exists, you know, in healthcare. So yeah, we’re super excited to get in front here today. And always learn some things when you’re out in front, but it’d be good to talk a little bit about that case study.

[0:03:11.0] RS: Tell me more about these talent acquisition woes, Matthew?

[0:3:13.0] MR: Yeah, so I guess for my healthcare friends, probably listening to your shows nothing new here. But certainly in healthcare today, we’ve got a lot of different and I’m talking about acute and post acute care for the most part, you know, paint that healthcare brush. I mean, I think that’s the vantage point that I’m coming from. I think that a couple of things are going on number one, some intense cost pressures that exist inside of the ecosystem, with a stew of things that have kind of created said cost pressures. And some of this has been in a really kind of in motion for a lot of different years. But number one, just the supply of talent, specifically nursing, right? And so when we think about really beyond the physicians and the tax, and really everybody that it takes to run a healthcare organization, an acute or post acute organization, those skilled nursing professionals are critical, and the amount for sometimes upwards of 30 40% of our hiring annually. And so, post COVID, this was an issue, but really COVID kind of moved along some movement of that talent base.

And so we’re acutely focused right now on on trying to figure out how to grow our own right how to grow our own nursing talent, but then more specifically, how to take that Trinity Health employment brand into the market, make it a great place to work and attract folks from our competitors. And so I think that when we think about how important the healthcare ecosystem is to each and every one of us, you know, you want to go into hospital, you want to have great safe care, really, for us that talent acquisition engine, and it producing what it needs to produce annually is critical and so referrals and land that one’s referrals, they play a key part in that for us engaging our existing talent to go help us find the talent that is available, well out on the market.

[0:05:01.0] RS: Now, I wanted to ask you about this enduring need for talent. Because in the talent organization you have, like you say, 30-40%, maybe just be nurse placements. And of course, in talent, you think about making hires hitting these headcount goals, etc, etc. But obviously this rolls up. And when you miss these numbers, then the whole organization can start to feel the pressure of missing a talent goal, right? Yep. I would love for you to explain when does missing talent and the pressure that’s created for missing talent goals result in financial pressure for the organization?

[0:05:31.0] MR: Yeah. And so what you’re most likely seeing and a lot of healthcare organizations, this just isn’t Trinity. This is most healthcare organizations that were out there talking to and that we’re engaging with is that their vacancy rates have been increasing dramatically, there also was a shift during COVID, to where a lot of our skilled nurses, for example, they got on the road, and they became travelers. And so there was a great market opportunity, just due to this pressure for them to get out and to travel, probably get paid a little bit better stress or skill set out, or what have you. When I think about when does the C suite get involved? And so lucky at Trinity, because we’ve got a very engaged kind of talent oriented CHRO. And he’s been very focused on evolving not only the talent acquisition function, but the HR function and to being kind of this one HR model that a lot of large healthcare organizations are going after.

But the reality is, is that at Trinity, and again, at many healthcare organizations, that vacancy rate has not been going down, it’s in some cases been growing, right. And so it’s just like anything else. Whereas if things are operating as they should, your C suite generally will be engaged to the level that they need to be now, as things have become more challenging, what’s occurring is that, you know, the C suites digging in, they want more detail, they want to understand more specifics around the pipeline, you know, we’re getting questions around to the detail level of where are these hires going to come from, from a source attribution perspective, more than I’ve ever seen in my 20, some years in healthcare TA. And so at Trinity, for example, some of the things that the executives really from the CEO down had been doing, they have spun up really these weekly, in some cases, bi-weekly, we call them our ETA initiatives.

And really, they come together and focus on what are the next generation of needs in the talent space? And then more specifically, how are those tracking? Right? So like, Hey, you committed to do this referral program? What’s it delivering, and then making decisions about where they double down their investment, or where they pull their investments back? And so the level of involvement right now, I think, probably in most organizations is intense, but it’s a good thing. And I want a position that I think it’s actually a great thing for TA pros, everybody’s always yakking about, hey, I want a seat at the table, I need a seat at the table. And I’m trying to wrestle into this table or whatever. And the reality is, if you’re at the table, you know, and so I think it’s a good opportunity for talent acquisition professionals to not only put up the strategy, but then show that they’ve got the delivery muscle to actually meet the objectives that they’re setting out to do. And so it all starts for us with a good solid demand plan, kind of getting a good demand plan in place, aligning that demand plan with the C suite. And then again, some of the details that they’re asking for this year is like, alright, we got the demand plan, where’s the higher is going to come from? And if we need to grow something, then I’ll use like GNS, for example, if we need to hire GNS, and so nurses right out of school, inexperienced nurses, what are the things that we need to do to actually increase that pipeline? Right, that level of detail. And so I think it’s an interesting time, but it’s a very exciting one if you’re in healthcare TA,

[0:08:53.0] RS: I liked what you said, you’re at the table, because that’s the truth. If you have people outside the town department, I suppose above the town department who are looking at you who are like caring about the work you’re doing, then you have a seat at the table. Right? And it’s just a question of, are you bringing something to the table? Are you receiving something and going away and fulfilling the order? Right? Yeah, right, right. When you get that laser focus when you get the attention of the CFO, or the CEO, whomever? What does that typically sound like? And how do you make sure that talent responds to that in an effective way?

[0:09:22.0] MR: Yeah. Well, if you’re driving new initiatives, what it feels like and what it actually is, at least from my perspective, our sound business cases with the appropriate ROI attached on them. And so I don’t think there has been one new initiative that we haven’t brought forward to a CFO or CEO or even our CHR O who is very talent minded, very focused on the data, the numbers and the finances. It always starts with a good solid business case. Now, that’s something that the TA Pro he or she self in partnership was maybe a finance team or whatever they need to build that, prepare that, then it’s the narrative around that there’s a little bit about the data. And is this a good idea? Do we believe in this idea, the Queen delivered this idea. But then it’s also emotionally getting folks excited about that initiative as a potential solution to their problems. The reality here is that nobody wants to be short staffed, right? If you’ve got budget to do something or budget to make these hires, and the issue is supply, the reality is if you’ve got a solution to decompress, that a CEO, a CFO, CHRO, they want that information, and what’s the detail associated with they want that information so that they can make the decision.

And so I think the first thing is getting enough confidence to build that ROI case, make sure the math is good, make sure that you believe in it, then it is the narrative around it, how does it fit into what we’re currently doing. And then from there, it’s all about measuring the outcomes associated with that, that’s what they really care about, you’ll find that talent minded C suite, folks, it really get this, and they really get excited about it as potential goes, you know, and so I think the other thing for me too, is that not everything that we do, or suggests we’re gonna do is always going to work exactly the way that you want it to work, right. And so I think part of that is also owning that with them very quickly. So if you got something in flight, and you don’t believe it’s going to deliver what you put out there, owning it, preserving your credibility, your seat at the table, or whatever, and then just keep coming back, you know, and so I know that answers your question or not, but that’s just kind of how the experience at least from my perspective, typically rolls.

[0:11:33.0] RS: Yeah. And I think you answered the question when you just need to have your numbers ready to go, basically. And in a healthy organization, if you were asked about certain metrics, and you didn’t have it, or whatever, you can go find it and come back, but you’re better to have it ready to go better to like, show that, hey, I think about this every day to CFO. So when they look at you, do you want to lose that momentum? You don’t don’t throw your shot. Yeah. What are those high level metrics you would say that the sea level tends to care about?

[0:11:59.0] MR: Yeah, so the base ones that we will focus them on are things like cost per hire, right? And so when it all boils down to all the different levers that we can pull referral programs, or GN strategy, programmatic distribution, like whatever they are, right? There’s all kinds of different levers you can invest in that cost per hire, that means something. And so I think that is an idea. We like to also focus our executives on just this idea of quality of hire, and whatever source that we’re leveraging the turnover, potential improvement of that source. And so what are some of the sources that deliver higher quality leads to the organization. So, you know, again, growing your own referral program, and we find that inside of referrals, not only the referrals stay longer, but the referees and the sounds that we’re gonna be talking about, you know, on stage here today. And so, those types of new education to a CFO or Cedric because he had, I think, to your point, when you’ve got a talent acquisition team that’s constantly thinking about these things, they’re the smartest person in the room as it relates to cost per hire, how these analytics flow or work.

Some of it’s about educating the C suite on what actually are the important ones to focus on. So like, you’ll hear the one that everybody knows time to fill. That’s an important one, but some metrics that we like to focus on speed metrics, or maybe a little bit more nuanced time to first contact, for example. And so showing the C suite that not only are you thinking about the quality associated with what you’re doing, but also the ability for you to drive speed and throughput through the funnel, and so those are some of the ones that’s off the top of my mind, but typically, it does come down to the dollars and cents. So being able to show what this is going to cost. And then what is my anticipated ROI off of it. So we’re going to invest in this, what bucket are we going to take from to pay for it?

[0:13:51.0] RS: Funnel velocity is so important. And I think like the time to fill is often a vanity metric though, because it’s like, oh, yeah, we fill this role in six days, but they don’t last six months. So we’re back where we started because they tend to fill us so fast because we’ll be able to replace them. Yeah, but yeah, like you’re speaking my language with the funnel velocity and you can break it down like, Okay, here’s the time from offer, extended to offer accepted or even offer rejected, like prove that your team is like actually on the ball with this and that you’re not losing anyone due to time, which kills all deals. Does anyone feel personal to..

[0:14:20.0] RS: Speed kills all deals. Yep, I love that.

[0:14:22.0] RS: With referrals specifically, this is kind of a nebulous question. I’m hoping you’ll just go off on it though. With referrals. What percent of your total hires should that be?

[0:14:33.0] MR: Yeah, it’s a great question. And I can speak confidently in healthcare TX actually have some great benchmarking data on that through a company that we leverage called LHC. And so I have a good sense of healthcare. And I think this holds true pretty much for all general industries as well. And so the highest performing referral platforms or programs in the land, a third producing north of 30%, a source of hire, they’re a really good referral program, you see some what I would probably classify as elite programs, hiring almost 50% of their hires from their referral program. Now you got to watch. And I think when you get to that level, you got to really focus on adverse impact. And if you have a diverse organization, and you’re hiring that many referrals, then you’re going to be a diverse organization. But if you don’t have a diverse organization, right, and you’re hiring that many folks with referrals, you might exacerbate that problem.

So when you’re hiring that much talent 30 to 50%, you run into different challenges, which are probably for some good challenges to have, I would take that challenge here today for sure. The bottom spectrum of that right is generally a program that’s producing sub 10%. So if you’ve got less than 10% of your hires coming from referrals, I would suggest you get some opportunity. And then obviously, the Goldilocks number, right, there’s about 21%. And so an organization that has a good program has a good platform has really good engagement from their staff, if they’re delivering 20%. That’s a very nice anchor. So when you think about 100 of your hires that you need to make each year and at 20, we got to make 40,000 external hires, right. And so when you think of if 100, if I make 100 hires, 20% of them come referrals, that’s a very nice anchor. And so then you can build the other sources that you need kind of off of that. And so that’s how we look at it. That data that I just articulated is native to healthcare, but again, is it about talking to other folks about their programs, it seems to align pretty closely.

[0:16:33.0] RS: Matthew, this has been fantastic catching up with you. Good luck on your presentation.

[0:16:37.0] MR: Now see how it goes.


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