Across all types of healthcare organizations, the most pressing question we keep hearing again and again is: “What are the best ways to find and keep talent?”

It’s not surprising when you look at any jobs report. The employment rate for healthcare jobs is expected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all other occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) research that predicts a shortage of 100,000 doctors by 2030, to the staffing crisis plaguing nursing homes, the healthcare industry is up against a talent shortage, with an aging population to care for.

We’ve found that the institutions that rise to the top of the job search, attract the highest-potential employees and retain those employees for years to come approach recruitment from both the rational and emotional sides of things. The key to making the most of this delicate balance is to leverage the softer rewards of connection, meaning and fulfillment alongside those more rational payoffs like flexible shifts, career growth and better benefits, using a combination of targeted marketing and values-based content. It’s a bold ask, one that requires a mindset shift among the workforce and a narrative flip on the side of the recruiters.

Fulfillment + Connection Motivate Young Job Seekers

Through focus groups and in-depth interviews with healthcare professionals, we’ve found one common denominator: Many of the people who are attracted to, and who stay in, jobs in healthcare desire the connection and emotional satisfaction from their work that come from providing help for those in need, as well as the meaningful connections made with patients and their families. The fulfillment that comes from the emotional side of these jobs is often unquantifiable, but just as important in attracting talent as robust benefits packages.

Emotional fulfillment and a greater purpose are also two characteristics that have been known to motivate millennial workers in pursuing their careers. The intersection of these two facts adds to healthcare organizations’ ability to attract fulfillment-driven young workers to take positions based on a larger sense of purpose.

Thought Leadership that Sells More than a Job

From demographic targeting in recruitment efforts all the way to a hard look at company culture, there are many specific steps that any healthcare institution can take to begin this narrative flip while targeting adults between 18 and 30 years of age. We’ve found success using the robust targeting functions on LinkedIn and Facebook to develop content that is relevant to a very specific audience we want to communicate with for job recruiting. But what will set your recruitment apart is the content itself. Don’t just spruce up a job listing; rather, offer a softer article about the fulfillment a job at your institution provides. This could be a story about a relationship between a caregiver and patient or a motivational interview with a leader at the facility.

With one larger healthcare institution looking to recruit physicians and nursing staff, we decided to feature a series of interviews with their executives that focused on inspirational leadership stories rather than job functions to highlight the culture at the institution and tie that in with a larger purpose that centered on fulfillment, connection and recognition. We followed up with video and photography to appeal to a larger audience and promote engagement, and let these pieces of content begin to sell the softer, more emotional side of choosing a career in the healthcare field, with that organization leading the story.

Whether your healthcare institution is looking for physicians or CNAs for long-term care, the problem is universal. The demand for healthcare workers is at its highest, and it’s continuing to grow while the pool of applicants shrinks and the population ages. The question remains: How will you fare in this environment? An inward look at your own company values and culture can go a long way toward changing your recruitment messaging and achieving that optimal balance to attract the brightest and the best to your workforce.