If Your Job Ain't Rockin', Opportunity's Knockin'

Kandace McLaughlin Doyle, for HealthLeaders Media , December 10, 2008

Click for larger image.Opportunity might be knocking . . . but no one is answering the call from the usual print ad or billboard. So, how do you get the attention of qualified professionals? A different execution tactic could be the key to recruitment success.

Good Samaritan Hospital and Regional Medical Center of San Jose (CA) needed to recruit but didn't want to pay the typical agency fees to do it. So Leslie Kelsay, marketing vice president for Good Samaritan, did a little research. "I had seen a few wrapped vehicles around the community so I started researching campaigns that had been done in other industries." What she found was a cost effective way to get the word out.

"We recruited our employees to serve as rolling ambassadors for the hospital," Kelsay says. "We asked them to commit to wrap their vehicle for a minimum of a 6 month period. And to carry employment information packs in their cars in case someone approached them directly." Forty employees jumped at the opportunity but only 13 were selected on the basis of geography and how many miles they would cover throughout the community during their commute.

The car wraps were designed to be eye-catching, using bright psychedelic colors, and a catchy phrase: "If your job ain't rockin', opportunity is knockin."

"That was actually one of the phrases the agency thought they wouldn't show us," says Kelsay, "They weren't sure we would be willing to go that far but we were." Also included on the wrap design was a toll free phone number, fake bumper stickers with sayings like, ‘My other car is an ER gurney,' and information about a $7,500 sign-on bonus for RNs and lab technicians.

The benefit to the employees? The fun of driving around in a wrapped car aside, if a recruit was hired and worked for a full year the car fleet employee would be rewarded with a $1,000 bonus for the referral. The benefit for the facility? Overall, they made six hires—a good return on investment considering the fairly inexpensive effort.

"This campaign paid for itself in the first 48 hours," says Kelsay. "We hired two RNs and didn't have to pay agency fees." The campaign also generated a lot of buzz. "The campaign was featured on news stations from California to Ohio," Kelsay says. "Breaking through with that level of earned media was kind of the cherry on the ice cream sundae."

Kandace McLaughlin Doyle is an editor with HealthLeaders magazine. Send her Campaign Spotlight ideas at kdoyle@healthleadersmedia.com If you are a marketer submitting a campaign on behalf of your facility or client, please ensure you have permission before doing so.

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