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    How Nursing Facilities Use Automated Text Messages To Stay Fully Staffed

    In this week's Workstream Webinar, we have Nate Sorense (Healthcare Administrator at Villa Valencia Healthcare Center) and Josh Johnson (Workstream Hiring Specialist) as they take you through a 30-minute webinar on streamlining Villa Valencia's hiring process for 2020. They shared about how you can send text messages to candidates to engage them, writing job posts that can convert, how to build an applicant pool, how to automate interview scheduling and reminders to reduce ghosting, and sending paperwork via mobile device.

    Read on for the full transcript:

    Table of Contents:

    1. Getting into Workstream
    2. Staffing and Recruitment Process
    3. Workstream Demo - Overview
    4. Workstream Demo - Applicant Process
    5. Customizing Hiring Process with Workstream
    6. Q&A


    Getting into Workstream

    (00:00 - 01:42)

    Josh: My name is Josh Johnson, I'm with Workstream and Nate, would love to get an introduction from you and if you could just speak to what industry you're operating and i know healthcare is very broad and there's a lot of different verticals a lot of different things going on, so if you could just talk to you know maybe how you found your way into skilled nursing and go from there. 

    Nate: Yeah, so I'm Nate Sorenson. I run a skilled nursing facility here in Laguna Hills so we are a little bit different than some other skilled nursing facilities - we're strictly short-term and rehab patients. We have a boutique facility here of about 60 beds, just under that so we're dealing with patients just after surgery or who have IVs and need a little bit more care before they go home, all sorts of different types of patients usually staying anywhere from 15 to 30 days with us. So we have just under a hundred employees here working with us. When Josh reached out about Workstream it was super interesting to us because we're constantly hiring and it's a really difficult industry to hire into especially with COVID going on right now, a lot of people are either only able to work one job where they used to be able to work two, or there just seemed to be more difficulty getting the right people on board. I've been doing it for about two and a half years now and before that was working in a health system in Utah and got my way to skilled nursing mainly just because of an introduction that was made and I've been hooked ever since. So excited to be talking to you guys today and happy to answer any questions about how Workstream has been working for me.

    Staffing and Recruitment Process

    (01:43 - 03:26)

    Josh: Thanks for that introduction Nate. So I understand different industries work differently but in skilled nursing and especially in your company, you're responsible for the end-to-end, everything that goes on in your facility including making sure the hiring process is going smoothly from operations to managing employees, could you talk about the time investment that is required of you to staffing your facilities?

    Nate: Yeah, it's almost a full-time job in itself. I think some people may do it differently than I do. I like to have my hand in every applicant that comes through just because this is a tough business to be successful in so every person that we bring on the team needs to be a star player and somebody that's going to really add value to the company. For me, I want to be in on all the interviews so that's hard to do with everything else that I have on my plate. Honestly though, if you gave the job to somebody, it would probably take 20 to 25 hours a week of their time, so I was really looking for something to help take that away from me and help make that process a little bit more automated. It's a big investment and just because people are moving on so regularly, certified nurse assistances (CNAs) are becoming nurses or people are moving on to the hospital or whatever it is and retention is a big thing in this industry, if you can retain then you can be successful so while we work on that we also need to get people in the door pretty regularly trying to usually probably make five hires a month.

    Workstream Demo - Overview

    (03:27 - 10:03)

    Josh: Awesome! Let's go ahead and look right into what your Workstream instance looks like. I'll share my screen here and we can walk through your profile here and talk about what you mentioned. One feature of Workstream is the additional job boards that you're able to post to and that's automatically happening, so instead of just Indeed, you're getting applicants from Glassdoor, Facebook or supporting text-to-apply, scan-to-apply, if you have folks visiting your facility so you're able to cast a wider net. So this is the dashboard and Nate as you mentioned, you're getting applicants from a number of different places but Workstream is really focused on what your experience you're delivering once applicants have applied for your facility through the portal. You're attracting applicants from a number of different ways whether it be Indeed or different job boards, or investing in your website, in your career page, in your marketing spend and then so Nate along those lines, I know we've talked about what kind of experience you deliver once they apply to your jobs, how has your process kind of changed as you've been able to have applicants come into Workstream? 

    Nate: I think the biggest thing really is if you're in a competitive market where you have a number of facilities or even other jobs around that people can go and get, we're in tough times right now so a lot of people are jumping at the first thing that they get a response from or the first place that they get an offer from. Before, if somebody applied on Indeed, I would get an email about it but if I'm in a meeting or we're dealing with something, I might not be responding that person for hours or even a day and by that time, they could have already moved on and gotten a job at the next facility down the road or whatever. With Workstream, right as they apply wherever it is that they apply from they're going to get that automated response that I've customized to say hey thank you for applying and it'll prompt them to fill out the questions and the information that I'm asking for right there. So immediately after applying they're having a touch point from us which I think already just gives you such a leg up on the competition just because you're responding right away. You're already in contact with them. The mobile app makes it super easy because I get a notification telling me when people are messaging me when they've confirmed an appointment or when they've applied or whatever so I can just be right on top of it with them. Workstream in the sense of the conversion rate works that way, it helps us be quick responding and it helps us get people in and engaged with our company rather than I think we've all had the experience of applying for a job on Indeed and then six months go by you've already got it and then they respond and say hey we're still interested are you interested? It's like I applied for that job six months ago so. I think that's a big thing for me just to know that even if I was off my recruiting game where I wasn't able to look at Indeed right then, Workstream would be reaching out to the people for me so I love that.

    Josh: Yeah awesome let's jump into that from what that looks like from the product side because I think that's interesting when CNAs or RNs or LNs or other healthcare professionals are applying to jobs via Indeed, you can be certain that there's not just one job they're applying for, they're applying to a bunch of different jobs. And so, that engagement that they get, the experience that they have when they apply is really important in in winning that candidate. When you log into Workstream here, this is Nate's profile, you have a schedule that's going to integrate directly with your email, you have a summary of what's going on your business from last week and if I take you here in the positions tab - Nate's hiring CNAs, registered nurses, CNA another CNA job, looks like he turned off and a physical therapist job which it looks like you have an overwhelming applicant pool there so you may have turned the job off so you can stop getting applications.

    Workstream Demo - Applicant Process

    (16:55 - 20:26)

    Josh: Let's run through one of the value-adds you've described with Workstream - increasing your conversion once applicants apply to your job and so I'd love to just run through how Workstream does that. We'll get you going through this application process as a test applicant, so for those in the chat this is Nate's, these are the custom questions that Nate had built out for his CNA job, you'd arrive at this webpage either from Indeed, or Glassdoor, or Facebook, or a text-to-apply link which we do with Workstream, or scan-to-apply. If I'm looking at this from the application perspective,  Nate's customized his job description here, he's described he's really looking for a night shift CNA as you mentioned, he specified that in the job description and then he's listed out some of the benefits from his facility. If I'm an applicant and I'll apply as you, Nate, I'll put my email here and cell phone number. Nate has experience in the healthcare industry is looking for a full-time position he does hold a CNA license. Let's assume these things are true and eligible to work in the United States. When an applicant submits this with Workstream either through this web browser or their cell phone, they're going to receive a text message letting them know that their application has been received and they're going to get a link prompting them to start moving through the job process. Important to note that all this has happened without Nate having to do anything. Now, if I come into the CNA job from Nate's perspective as the hiring manager here, I'm able to come into this stage here of Workstream and see okay Nate Sorenson has applied today to the CNA job and if I click into Nate's profile, I'm able to see the answers that Nate has. Nate's already going through this application process, I'm able to send Nate a message, I don't have to use my cell phone to do this, this just runs through Workstream. Send a text to Nate and this is where Workstream is really differentiated on the candidate experience. As other candidates apply through Indeed, they're applying to facilities getting emails, phone calls sometimes a week or two later. When a CNA is applying through Workstream, they're able to get instant engagement into your hiring process and move directly through the questions that you've customized for that applicant. Awesome so Nate, I know a big thing for you has been as you moved applicants through and kind of got them collected their automation and once you've qualified applicants, could you just talk about how you've gone about scheduling interviews with these folks and how Workstream has increased your ability to get interviews? 

    Workstream Demo - Scheduling

    (20:27 - 23:42)

    Nate: That's another big thing that we were having issues - I'm going send you a message on Indeed hey does this day work or this day which one works better and they come back oh I can't do that and then I don't see that for a few hours, okay then how about that and so the scheduling itself can take two days. So how this works is if I move them onto a stage that I've titled phone interview, because we're doing a phone interview with everybody now, before we have them come on site. So if I move them to that stage, then they get a link that will take them to a schedule that they can see time that i've allotted on my calendar where i'm able to do phone interviews so i've gone on to my calendar and Workstream and marked off times and so they just get a representation of that and they can choose one of those times then when we do the interview. I then get a notification saying hey they schedule on this time, we do the interview, I move them on to the on-site interview stage and the same thing happens. They just get in as soon as I click move to on-site interview. I don't have to do anything else. They just go in look at my calendar find out when they can come in they schedule the interview and it happens, so that's the only reason I was able to talk to that CNA yesterday on a phone interview and she's here right now probably getting hired pretty soon because we didn't have to go back and forth about hey when can you come in all this kind of stuff. I just center my calendar these are the times we have available pick one and and she wanted to get hired super fast so she picked the soonest one so.

    Josh: Yeah awesome and then before you're using Workstream how did that process scheduling interviews work? 

    Nate: Yeah it was just super manual. I would just message back and forth on Indeed or through email. Sometimes, I would call them and say hey when can we get this done but to be honest, I think we lost a lot of applicants that way. It was also our own lack of responding soon enough to say yeah you can come in at that time but yeah it was all manual either myself or one of our HR people reaching out and saying hey we want you to come in this day so no automation at all. 

    Josh: Awesome! Have you increased the amount of folks that show up to the interviews when you schedule them with Workstream? A feature I want to touch on here is Workstream supports automated text messages so once an applicant is scheduled with you Nate, you have a rule set up here that you've customized where they get a text a day before their interview and then one hour before that interview they're getting a text message directly on their phone reminding them that they have an interview with you. Has that helped you kind of keep applicants in your pipeline?

    Nate: Yeah for sure. Big difference there. Yesterday, I even had somebody say oh yeah I've been waiting for your call probably because they got the one hour reminder saying hey you have an interview versus me chasing them down. I had even assigned somebody to just do that like hey here's my calendar of interview for today can you reach out to these people an hour before which she totally rolled that's what we were trying to do, to try and help people show up. And now they get it one day before, one hour before, and yeah I think I've maybe marked out of all the interviews we've done two or three no-shows so it's been a lot better.

    Customizing Hiring Process with Workstream

    (23:43 - 28:45)

    Josh: Awesome! The automated text messaging and following up with people with texting has been interesting for me to see with Workstream here is, just when they apply to jobs through Indeed, it's hard to get in touch with people over phone call because robocalls. You don't want to answer numbers that you don't know anymore because they're either phishing or robocall or whatever but text messaging is just a way to get in touch with people instantly and then deliver that kind of experience that's on par with the culture that you're running at your facility. What I think would be useful to keep running through Workstream here, so Nate, I know for your process you like to get folks straight into on-site interviews and bring them in and and that's when you're able to add your customization, how has Workstream helped to support you, how have you customized your process to make it so it's you're not changing what you're doing in hiring you're just kind of bringing the automation and simplifying things?

    Nate: Yeah that's exactly what we've done, we really still do the same thing, they're still the same steps but like I said, one huge thing has been the scheduling, getting people in. The other thing is that we can do is upload some documents that we would normally have them take time to do while they're here, they can do them through Workstream. So we can upload those and send to them when they are getting hired. We've uploaded our offer letter template so we can send it out through Workstream just to make it easier in there as well because they get used to communicating with us through the app and through the software and getting messages from that email and from that number so yeah, we really haven't reinvented the wheel. This has just been a nice support for us to help bring people in and get them in the door. We have a great facility here, once we get people here they pretty much always are hired if we offer them the position they're always accepting so the big challenge was just getting them here which I think anybody that works in healthcare can attest to.

    Josh: Yeah awesome and then continuing on through Workstream here, Nate, you and I talked about the job boards that we post to, we absolutely want to keep supporting these people that are posting jobs and Indeed. Indeed is a really great place to find applicants as you mentioned it's also nice to get reach in other job boards which we post to is Monster and Google, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, or Facebook. With Workstream, you'll no longer have to spend time fumbling through these job boards and managing applicants and different job boards that all come into one place. If you're doing Indeed sponsored ads which a lot of our customers do, you run that through Workstream as well and continue to get good visibility through Indeed. I think another great feature of Workstream to talk about is text-to-apply link which you're able to post on your social media and allow people to just apply to your jobs directly on their cell phones. That tends to be a really fast way to capture people. You can just customize what's happening in your hiring process and make sure that you're quick to take care of folks as they'd apply and then here on the applicant tab inside of Workstream, this is going to separate out by positions all the candidates that have ever applied for your role. So if you happen to fill a role and then you have a demand for another CNA position, you can go back through previous applicants, and hire from there.


    1. How are you going about hiring before utilizing Workstream and how has Workstream integrated into what you were doing before and helped you optimize that? What have you been able to leave behind since you've implemented Workstream?

    • I was strictly using to hire, which is a great site and was doing some good work for us. It took a lot more of my time to manage and to go back and forth with the employees on there just because the interface and the interaction wasn't as simple and wasn't as automated. But the great thing about Workstream is we don't have to give up Indeed, in fact, most of our hires still come from Indeed. Workstream just helps on the back end so Indeed or whatever the other sites are where the posts are being placed can help bring people in, and then Workstream really helped. us manage them once they've clicked apply and really improved our conversion rate. So we haven't had to change anything there. We just pause our own jobs that we had posted on Indeed and post them back on Indeed through Workstream, and it's nice because you can still do all the features that you'd like to do before like sponsor your jobs posts, if you want to create special campaigns and stuff, you can still do them all through Workstream that would then shows up on Indeed. So before, we were posting on simply one site and an apply with us on our website and that was it. And now, we're on 10+ job boards everyday. 

    2. You mentioned the questions that you like to ask applicants and I'm kind of doing that additional qualification automatically. Something great with Workstream that you touched on is it doesn't matter if applicants are playing at three in the morning or ten at night, you don't have to go and manage the applicants that are coming in, they're going to get instant engagement with your brand and with your facility because you already have this application process that's happening automatically via text messages. I'd love to know from your perspective, how have you customized Workstream to make sure that when someone applies, you're qualifying them automatically?

    • Nate: We were ending up with a lot of interviews that we're scheduling and taking up our time and going through the process of getting the person here and whatever just to find out that they didn't have a CNA license or there were some other big red flags. So, I've kept it pretty simple depending on the position but yeah we ask for what type of position you're looking for, is it full-time or part-time, have you ever worked in this industry and do you currently have a license. So this has helped me a ton because again with so much going on, our time is valuable so if I'm going to have somebody come in and interview, I'm really not going to waste my time if there's somebody that doesn't even have the license. They can't come and work right now and it's probably like a six week to three month thing away that they would be able to come and work with us. So maybe that seems a little cutthroat but when we need to make a hire today or tomorrow, we can really sift through those people. Workstream allows you to make question that automatically rejects the applicant if they answer no or yes, we don't use those that much other than the legally eligible to work in the US but this is nice because when I get the application to come in, I just scroll through their answers really quick. On the additional information stage, I have them put which shifts they're willing to work because even though you put in there hey we're looking for night shift, you're still going to get people that will apply that want am and pm and so I'll probably just decline those people if we don't have openings and we're really looking for night shift. This happened this week so we really need night shift CNA's desperately, I put up the job posting for night shift, i had about 10 applicants come through and I chose the two that said I'm willing to work night shift they're actually here right now interviewing with doing the on-site interview with our amazing managers and they're going start probably in the next couple days so these questions help us kind of just make sure we're not wasting our time maybe with somebody who's not necessarily fit for the job
    • Josh: All these questions are customizable, we have smart screening questions that automatically reject applicants such as if you're not eligible to work in the US. Nate shouldn't be spending time with those applicants just because there's no possibility of them being able to work at his facility.

    3. Love to get your touch here, so for those who aren't very technical or maybe don't have a ton of experience working in different web platforms, how is the process of customizing your hiring process in Workstream? 

    • Josh have been super helpful along with Mary (Customer Success at Workstream) and the Workstream team. After we signed up, we had a good length call that was able to walk me through step-by-step how you do things and how you can customize. To be honest, I don't even think I've reached the point where I feel like I'm utilizing all the features that Workstream has, and we're having incredible success with it. I think you can be pretty simple with it and not have to be super tech savvy and do all this kind of stuff but even if you wanted to customize it fully and use all the features, it's so easy, it just takes you through step-by-step, you just choose what you want to have on there and really, I'm not a super tech savvy person, obviously I ended up in healthcare so this has been really easy for us whereas also with Indeed and the app, it's actually my favorite part because we're all used to using apps every day and they've made a really good app that doesn't have any glitches any bugs, it's really user friendly. I'm starting to do most of my stuff through there, so it's really easy. Once you get up and running and the Workstream team will help you do that, you can literally just say this is what I want it to look like, these are the questions I want and if you're having trouble with it, they will help you do that, it's really easy after that initial step. 

    4. Can you see applicants who come from different job boards in Workstream or do you still need to log into each job board? You were working specifically with Indeed before and still working with Indeed, since you've brought on Workstream, have you still been working with different job boards or how has that worked?

    • That's also one of my favorite parts about it as I know we have postings on multiple job boards but I never have to log into those job boards because they all just funnel into Workstream so you can run out of analytics and see where most your applicants are coming from and ours are still mostly coming from Indeed i would say probably 95%. But yeah, you don't have to log into any of those job boards, it'll all come in here no matter where they're coming from, and you can handle them in Workstream.

    5. How have you set up notifications? How have you just been reminded of when applicants come into your portal?

    • I don't get an email anytime anyone applies but I just check Workstream probably three times a day at least and just look in there but I do get notifications anytime anybody has scheduled a meeting with me or if they sent me a message or if they've been in a certain stage for an amount of time and I've kind of left them there or neglected. I get reminders on that too so it's not like an overbearance of notifications from Workstream but it's in the key points where hey you need to take some action here and that reminds me to go in and see okay they scheduled this meeting they'll be coming in today and that kind of stuff. I believe you can set it so that when somebody applies, you could probably get a notification.

    6. How long did it take you to make your first couple hires with Workstream from day one to hiring a few CNAs?

    • It was like four days. My problem is I'm not following through so I'm not marking them as hired in there so it shows two hired but I believe we've hired five so far we've been with Workstream for like three weeks. So right off the bat, we weren't necessarily signing up with Workstream to get more applicants, it was more just to convert them and we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of applicants that came from Workstream that they increased for us but yeah the thing right out of the gate was noticing we were full with our interviewing schedule and we only made a small number of hires because we chose to not hire those other people. We were looking to hire like four or five people so yeah right out of the gate, we've been with Workstream for three weeks and we're about to be completely staffed with no empty holes which in our industry. If you have a hole and you have to fill that with a registry or an agency employee that you have to pay double or triple whatever the cost of Workstream is minimal, when you compare it to what you'd have to pay to get one CNA to come and work a shift to cover your team so the ability that they were able to give us to hire quickly and get people in and continue to do so, even if we're full, I'm not going to turn off our CNA and nursing ads because people usually come and go so yeah it was quick like less than a week. 

    7. How do you get applicants from Workstream into your ATS using UltiPro?

    • Josh: Workstream is designed for the ground up to be for hourly workers and for facilities that are hiring workers that are deskless, so this is designed to be separate from an applicant tracking system and be its own applicant tracking system. So far, as how we integrate with UltiPro, Workstream would be more of replacing something like that rather than putting applicants into your system.
    • Nate: And we use UltiPro here but the ATS part of it, we didn't really every utilize and so yeah you don't necessarily integrate the two kind. I get that questions because we had the same kind of thoughts, I think some of our other facilities have too, but it's good enough on its own that's all we need to use.

    8. For those who are using UltiPro suite, especially for onboarding and HRIS, why is Workstream for you differentiated enough to add it to your stack as opposed to using just the UltiPro ATS? 

    • Some people might be using it a little different than I was, so I don't know if my response applies to everybody but for me, I just view them as two very different thing. I don't think I really just ever had much success with that part of the UltiPro stack itself so adding this in was kind of a no-brainer. We obviously still use our UltiPro for onboarding and payroll and all of that fun stuff and there's all the reports that I run on that side of things, but when I think of recruiting, I really just needed something that was kind of going to be an automated system for me to help me track and and convert and then obviously once they're in the door, UltiPro is what we use to manage them and stuff but maybe my answer isn't necessarily relatable because we weren't using it super robustly. But in my opinion, you need it in addition to that if you're wanting to really convert your applicants to hire. It could seem like it's creating extra work, but I can tell you right now that Workstream does nothing along the lines of creating extra work for you. We still have all of our processes that are very strict in our types of facilities which I'm sure you're dealing with too when it comes to onboarding and doing all the correct documents and stuff so we don't necessarily use Workstream for the onboarding part. We just do that to get people in the door and get them hired, and then we shift over and do that there, but I know you're saying it can bring their offer letter and put them into UltiPro for you, you can still use it that same process - you can still do offer letter and everything through UltiPro and just cut that off from Workstream. Workstream just helps you get them in, schedule their interviews, get them hired and when you're ready to send them an offer, you just do it the same way that you've always been doing it and then they'll go into your UltiPro.

    9. Can applicants do this online?

    • Absolutely yes. So when someone applies, they're able to do this through the browser as well and then you can kind of customize if you'd want to send people to their phone or through or manage them more through email.

    To understand how Workstream can alleviate the same hiring problems, you can reach out to Josh at

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    Josh Johnson

    Hiring specialist at Workstream.

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