October 13, 2021
In response to the increasing need for nursing home and home care workers, the Iroquois Healthcare Association came up with a new marketing campaign to help potential applicants reflect on the possibilities for personal fulfillment that could come from working in the industry.
“We put a lot of thinking into how we could differentiate this field and how we could go after changing the perception, particularly of younger individuals, about what it’s like to work in long-term care. We came up with this idea of the ‘Caring Gene,'” said Eileen Murphy, senior director of special projects for Iroquois, a Clifton Park-based advocacy organization that represents 54 hospitals and health systems throughout upstate New York.
“It basically says that there are people out there that have in their DNA an intrinsic desire to care for others. You either have that in your DNA, or you don’t have it in your DNA,” Murphy said. “But if you have it, there’s an opportunity for you to work in long-term care and really derive a lot of personal satisfaction.”
The organization deployed ads through digital media, billboards and buses, radio and TV, which it eventually focused on people ages 18-24.
“Trying to really go after those individuals who may be stuck in a fast food job or in retail and don’t see a career future or career satisfaction, and trying to attract them to the long-term care industry,” Murphy said.
Since the start of the first three campaigns in June 2019, the marketing effort has led to 1.7 million visits to the dedicated website, 1.2 million of which were unique visits. There were 105,000 interactions with the job search, and there were 33,000 clicks to apply.
It’s difficult to track exactly how many hires that’s led to, but the next version of the website should help with that — it includes an artificial intelligence program designed by New York-based firm Davis and Partners. The next campaign starts Sept. 7.
It’s estimated that the state will need an average of about 40,000 home health and personal care aides and 15,000 nursing assistants annually for the next 10 years. Even before the pandemic, home care agencies had up to 30% vacancy rates for direct care workers.
“The New York state population continues to age,” Murphy said. “There’s a significant demand for long-term care services either in skilled nursing facilities, and even more of a need in home health care agencies because of individuals’ desires to remain at home.”
The recruitment program was part of a state-funded initiative by Iroquois to provide assistance around recruitment, retention and training of nursing home and home health employees. The training initiative included an online curriculum that includes 3,000 courses for employees, who were given Google Chromebooks to access the training. There was also a mentoring program as part of efforts toward retention.
Iroquois was recently given two gold and six other awards during the 38th annual Healthcare Advertising Awards. Iroquois said its submissions were among 4,400 total, making it the largest health care advertising awards competition and one of the ten largest of all advertising awards.
“It’s the first time we’ve won the award, but it’s really the first time we’ve done anything like this,” Murphy said.
Albany Business Review