Artificial Intelligence (AI) will disrupt healthcare’s destiny for good. Here are five steps digital health startups can take to find the premier talent to get the job done.
Not too long ago, AI was the topic of futuristic movies. What was once a fictional draw at the Box Office is now a reality in offices worldwide. AI is everywhere and rapidly transforming the way we work. What remains scarce though is the technical talent in healthcare to see this tech revolution through.
AI is quickly expanding into the technical infrastructure of the U.S. healthcare system. Its transformative potential is incredibly promising, from enhancing clinical workflows and streamlining administrative and payment processes to extracting life-saving insights from EHR data and genomic research. As the trust in AI grows, so does its perceived value in the healthcare space.
A July 2020 Intel survey of U.S. healthcare leaders found that 84 percent of respondents have already deployed or expect to deploy AI into their clinical workflow. Additional findings from Intel conclude that the top areas of application for AI in healthcare would be predictive analytics at 94 percent, and clinical decision support and cross-specialty collaboration to improve patient care, both at 92 percent. But healthcare’s embracement of AI also comes with fears, including improper implementation and underperformance. These noted obstacles make AI executive recruitment even more critical for future solution developers in digital health.
Recruiting already sought-after AI talent can be quite an undertaking, especially for emerging developers who must compete with tech giants like Google, Apple and Microsoft. Young companies and startups don’t need tons of cash to attract the right talent. What they need is a strategic plan and guide—one that’s deliberate, intentional and honest.
1. Start with Self-Examination
Employing an exceptional leader with AI expertise first starts with evaluating the needs of your company. Understand every aspect of the business before searching for the right people to run it. Missing this basic step is a costly mistake many startups make.
Speaking of costs, compensation will be a challenge; therefore, don’t lead recruiting efforts with cash. What drives most experienced professionals to change jobs is the opportunity to lead with purpose, not merely the promise of financial profit.
Create and communicate a strong value strategy. Be clear about your mission, vision and values. Let the market know who you are, why you’re here and what problem your company is out to solve. Conduct company surveys that will allow employees to be transparent with leadership and communicate the potential pluses and minuses within the company. After review of these first few steps, you can then make the necessary adjustments to ensure that your company is a place that new hires want to be from the start.
2. Focus On Skills That Matter
AI is still an emerging technology, and thus, the skillset and even job titles for such positions are continuously evolving. This can create quite the challenge for developers seeking to onboard their next AI product manager with ever-changing needs. As a result, it’s vital to seek candidates with a couple of core competencies to navigate the role successfully.
Problem Mapping: The right candidate will understand how to solve “the problem” by leveraging data and methodologies to create a solution. Unlike a traditional product manager with a user experience (UX) or marketing background, an AI-specific product manager will need a wealthy knowledge of data science and data engineering to ideate products and maps for commercial application.
Communication Skills: AI new hires need to be incredibly effective at communicating both the high-level and more laymen aspects of AI-focused products. They should be able to translate the technical points to be consumed by data scientists and engineers and explain the same basic information to focus groups and consumers concisely. This could be the critical difference between your product’s failure or success in the market, all stemming from improper communication.
3. Create a Culture Worthy of Welcoming Talent
Remember that your company culture can be one of the most promising aspects of consideration for a new hire. Attributes like cultural diversity, working flexibility, and recognizing digital preferences and perks can go a long way with candidates, especially when appealing to applicants from different working backgrounds.
Think Generationally: The current COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced the importance of having an agile and remotely accessible work environment in a multigenerational workforce. According to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, both adaptability and flexibility reigned as the top tier company attribute for Millennials and Generation Zs, 46 and 40 percent, respectively, compared to other characteristics of successful businesses. Other prevailing workforce qualities included company creativity, being tech-savvy and showing empathy.
Go Digital: Communicating those values to candidates isn’t the only matter of importance; it’s also imperative to think about how to capture their attention and use effective, technical touchpoints to reach them. Generation Z, those born between 1995-2010, are digitally native, while Millennials who were born between 1980-1995, matured with the internet at their fingertips. If this is the talent pool you want to reach, learn to do so virtually.
Use more visual imagery in your company’s career content, leverage professional networking platforms and expand your brand digitally via various online channels, including social media sites and mobile apps. These are just a few ways to connect with potential candidates. It’s even more notable in the case of searching for AI talent, given that most of the skillsets will be tech-driven and dynamic.
4. Create HR Best Practices to Attract and Retain Talent
Human Resources should become a key component of your company’s overall talent acquisition strategy. Below are very effective practices that not only attract the right talent but contribute to reduced turnover and long-lasting tenure.
Recruit Honestly: Provide a transparent and realistic preview of what potential candidates can expect from their new role. Show them data that reflects your objectives and how your working environment and culture meet those objectives. According to Corporate Executive Board, a range of 50 to 70 percent of executives don’t make it past the first 18 months in a new role due to “cultural misalignment.”
Onboard Strategically: Develop entry practices that help new hires assimilate to their new role within the context of the company’s working environment and culture. Inadequate onboarding practices are a failure point for most executives who leave their new positions prematurely.
Train and Educate for Advancement: Provide education and volunteer opportunities to help employees grow into existing and advancing roles. This is critical for talent acquisition and retention. If you can’t offer a path of advancement for employees, expect them to go elsewhere to find these forward mobility paths. Opportunities for advancement and company mentorship programs shows care and concern about future growth and development, and also promotes longevity.
Use Data to Make a Difference: Ask these types of questions from the top, down: How is your company comparing with competitors? How is employee morale? What aspects of the organization are working or should be improved? What kind of compensatory benefits or rewards should you consider? A good employee benchmark survey can help answer all those questions and provide invaluable insight for your company’s recruitment plans.
5. Piece It Altogether with An Executive Recruitment Partner
Use some points in this guide and you could undoubtedly recruit your company’s newest AI talent … However, an HR firm devoted to the task with a healthy amount of experience in the healthcare industry may better serve you in the long run.
The right recruitment partner can guide you through the hiring process, using data-driven insights and curated solutions to help you:
– Explore current talent trends in the market, both by determining what top candidates are looking for and what skill sets they have to offer.
– Examine how effectively your company communicates its mission, vision and values to attract top-tier talent.
– Identify what mediums are most influential when it comes to reaching suitable candidates.
– Develop benchmark surveys to assess your company’s culture and working accommodations.
– Refine your recruitment and retention practices, including strategies for onboarding, training and advancing talent.
Keep in mind that having an executive recruitment partner could be well worth the investment to deliver quick results when keeping up with the fast pace of the healthcare industry. Hiring your company’s future AI workforce is a serious task to undertake. Make sure you are equipped with the right recruitment knowledge to accept this undaunting challenge courageously.
About Michael Delisle
Michael Delisle is the Vice President, Practice Leader for Digital Health at GattiHR, a full-cycle, HR specialty search firm providing retained executive search, workforce analytics, talent optimization and HR technology services. Over the past 20 years in executive search, Delisle is primarily focused on early to growth stage venture-backed companies to global organizations in digital transformation. Sectors include healthcare technology, digital health and life sciences with an emphasis on product, marketing and sales leadership positions.