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How the Pandemic is Changing the Way Healthcare Staffing Agencies Prepare for Crisis

With COVID-19 sweeping the country, healthcare staffing agencies have been forced to rethink how they respond to and address market needs as it relates to their own business processes, strategies, and resources. As a result, this pandemic has demonstrated how companies are opting to leverage candidate engagement tools, be more agile in approaching new areas of focus, and utilize data & analytics to enable internal process optimization. 

Prioritizing rapid response communication

The pandemic has amplified the need for agencies to deliver quickly on urgent requests made by the facilities they’re supporting. Having the ability to promote and maximize exposure of the most urgent and high converting job orders in the midst of COVID-19 has proven to be extremely important. In a marketplace where jobs are concentrated in pockets rather than spread across the country, being targeted and strategic in your candidate engagement and hiring approach has been a core focus for our partners.


Vivian Health is designed to create a faster and more efficient process for a population of users that have traditionally had to resort to opaque hiring processes for temporary employment.

When you consider the grave nature of the healthcare crisis going on in our country right now, it’s hard not to think about the healthcare professionals risking their lives every day to keep us out of harm’s way. These individuals
should have transparency in their job search, trust in their recruiter/company, and the ability to transmit updates quickly. Communication within Vivian is designed to achieve these goals and has demonstrated value in times where a conversation can make or break an experience and/or opportunity.

While mass quantities of needs for nurses and respiratory professionals flooded the market in March as COVID-19 broke out, we saw a significant increase in our talent pool exceeding 100,000 users and had hundreds of thousands of new conversations take shape between recruiters and candidates within our Chat feature. In my eyes, the need for technology in challenging times has become more evident than ever before.

Business agility is required to weather the storm

The need to pivot quickly to meet market demands has never been more apparent than in the case of COVID-19. Agencies have had to refocus their efforts more frequently in order to respond to workforce needs. This has created a universal need for agencies to be more agile in their candidate acquisition approach, taking into account some of the dynamic changes, such as:

  • work from home environments
  • demand fluctuations, and
  • greater consequences for leaving jobs unfilled


We had clients change their recruiter’s expectations when thinking about work hours to attract and engage candidates during different hours of the day. With the fluctuations in demand, the job market posed challenges for candidates in certain categories. Furthermore, health systems were seeing patients in extreme conditions and HCP’s become infected on a daily basis, only increasing the need for temporary healthcare workers. By giving recruiters and companies the tools to drive meaningful engagements to address catastrophic situations, candidates being pulled in many directions based on supply and demand fluctuations are being made aware of the most relevant job offers to them as soon as the positions are open. 

Agencies that have been quick to capitalize on areas or modalities they hadn’t focused on pre-COVID are adding additional verticals to their business mix while engaging an entirely new population of candidates. There has also been a significantly smaller time frame in which agencies have the opportunity to attract candidates to jobs and successfully place them in these conditions, which is why business agility can serve as a primary asset in addressing both short and long term growth initiatives.

A bigger focus on real-time data

A majority of the data in the healthcare staffing industry is pulled from third parties, making it difficult for companies in the space to forecast needs and plan effectively. The pandemic has completely changed the way this industry views labor and has highlighted the lack of data and analytics to support decision-making. Although most companies can pull historical figures to support their claim, Vivian is unique in that our experience is ‘live’ which gives us the tools to maintain a real-time understanding of the marketplace as it relates to labor (i.e. pay rates, open jobs, etc), tendencies, and relevant trends. With things changing so rapidly in this environment, providing real-time data gives agencies a high-level understanding of candidate and job dynamics to inform sound decision-making from an operational, financial, and business development perspective across the organization.

As we look ahead into the coming months, leveraging this real-time data will be extremely important. Having access to meaningful candidate and job-related data enables agencies to anticipate needs based on tendencies, trends, and the ever-changing needs of the facilities they serve. Disaster management is an afterthought for some organizations, but an opportunity for others.


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Matt Kekoa McCollough

Matt Kekoa McCollough

Matt serves as the Director of Operations at Vivian Health, where he oversees operations across our provider clients and is primarily responsible for maximizing the quality of our client and candidate delivery process. Having operated teams in the contingent labor space as well as with Vivian, Matt regularly consults with our customers to identify and understand their specific hiring trends and challenges, all in an effort to craft the most impactful and scalable solutions for our workforce.

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