Six-Month Checkup: Healthcare Marketing in the First Half of 2024


Chris Steenstra

EVP, Account Director

We’re halfway through 2024—and the healthcare industry is continuing to navigate a rapidly evolving landscape. The trends we predicted at the year’s outset have only gained momentum, reshaping how healthcare organizations approach their operations and workforce management. We sat down with a group of leading healthcare marketers to discuss the three biggest changes they’re seeing so far and how their organizations have been adapting.

What they’re seeing: A surge towards prioritizing employee mental health and wellness.

Healthcare organizations are increasingly focusing on staff mental health and overall well-being. Sharon Delaney McCloud, UNC’s director of corporate communications, says that UNC has established a 24/7 service, the Hope for Healers helpline, connecting callers directly with licensed mental health professionals. The line was created to address the unique challenges healthcare providers face, particularly compassion fatigue—a form of burnout resulting from repeated exposure to traumatic situations.

And to further support staff well-being, UNC has launched the TarHeal Wellness podcast. Created and produced by resident physicians, the podcast delves into social relationships, self-care, and career development, all while supporting its fundamental message: No physician needs to face these challenges alone.  

What they’re seeing: The need to bolster recruitment and retention strategies for healthcare staff.

With ongoing staffing challenges, healthcare providers are getting creative with retention and recruitment efforts. “We’ve invested a lot of energy this year around retention and experience,” said Julie Sheedy, chief marketing and engagement officer at Loretto Health and Rehabilitation. Loretto also intentionally renegotiated union contracts in 2023 to significantly increase its hourly pay rates, which had a drastic improvement on a staffing rebound post-COVID—filling just over 70% of its job openings.

What they’re seeing: The use of non-salary benefits to entice employees.

Retention tools are also recruitment tools, McCloud noted. “Professional development is the new pension,” she said. “We invest in our employees to make them feel valued. Other organizations might be able to beat us in pay, so we’ve found ways to beat them elsewhere.”

Non-compensation benefits are integral, particularly when 60% of employees consider work-life balance and wellness benefits in addition to salary. UNC has contracted Headspace and Well, two mindfulness and wellness apps that provide thousands of hours of content to promote mental health among its 45,000 employees.

As we move into the second half of 2024, healthcare organizations are adapting to the evolving landscape with innovative strategies. By prioritizing staff well-being and offering competitive benefits packages, healthcare providers are not only addressing immediate challenges but also positioning themselves for long-term success in an increasingly competitive market.

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