International recruitment, a solution for the shortage in healthcare employers?

Sep 23, 2021

In the search for a structural solution to the shortage of healthcare employers, it came to the attention to also look beyond national borders. Yet many healthcare institutions are still hesitant to take the step abroad. With the right approach to an international candidate, it can be a crucial and sustainable solution to the staff shortage in healthcare.

Figures from the CBS show that 889.000 dutch people are working in health care at the moment, while there is room for 1.3 million health care professionals. This means 411.000 jobs in healthcare that have yet to be fulfilled. Only a small part is filled in by foreign people 9000 from the EU and 7000 from other parts of the world.

Many of these international healthcare professionals come here through specialized healthcare agencies. Also a network like EURES, the European job mobility portal and part of UWV (The Dutch social security agency) plays an important role in the link between employers and employees from within the European Economic Area. The EURES Advisers inform and advise employers and international candidates about travel, housing, language skills and good integration. Because in addition to arranging the correct documentation, such as a BIG registration, personal matters are the biggest challenges for the employer. If sufficient attention is paid to this, the chance of successful integration of the international candidate within the healthcare institution is much bigger. But, how do you handle that the right way?

Expectation management

Before looking beyond national borders, it is good to first define the expectations of a candidate. What is expected of a foreign employee upon entry? What is expected of him or her after 6 months? And what after 12 months? With such clearly defined expectations, the integration of an international candidate is much smoother. That is nice for the candidate, but also for current employees within the healthcare organization. It is an incorrect assumption that a foreign healthcare professional must work directly at his level. Discuss the wishes with the healthcare professional and offer enough space for language development in addition to work Through this space, the candidate also discovers the cultural manners within the organization. This will accelerate the integration and increase the connection with the organization.

The Dutch Language 

One of the biggest challenges is mastering the Dutch language. Especially in positions where communication is important. The candidates already need to start their language courses in their home country otherwise it is harder to start working at an organization. Organizations with a lot of experience in international recruitment projects often have their own language institutes that they work with. This ensures the quality of the courses.

Nowadays, language courses can also be made for the job applying, this means that you will learn language examples that suits with your work profession. We advise you to follow a language course like this because this is how you will learn best in your field of work and which will only accelerate the integration into the new organization.

Once in the Netherlands, it is important that the professional is given the space to continue to develop his language. The language is mastered most quickly when the candidate can actively participate in daily practice. Giving trust, good guidance and extra language courses speed up this process.

Guidance at your workplace and more

Integration in the workplace is mainly facilitated by the deployment of a buddy. The personal ‘helper’ of the international candidate preferably comes from another team. That prevents work from being taken over. After all, we have to take care of each other; one-on-one exchange of views on how the work is going, where there are difficulties and how decisions are made. Still, the buddy should never be the most important focus. As management it is crucial to be close to the international candidate. Good guidance in the workplace alone is not enough A place to live that you can call home must also be found, in which the professional can live directly. In this way he or she immediately feels welcome and housing is not an uncertainty factor.

Exchange project

Internationalization of the workplace is not only a solution to the staff shortage. The intrinsic motivation of foreign employees is usually high. They feel very involved in the health care organization where they work and bring fresh insights with them. As a result, they provide a new energy in the workplace and can even provide greater efficiency in the work processes

In addition, internationalization of the workplace opens doors to new development processes or forms of remuneration for permanent Dutch staff. For example, consider an exchange program with a foreign healthcare institution or a short refresher course in an international environment.

I sincerely believe that international healthcare professionals within Dutch healthcare institutions are the solution to the ever-growing staff shortage.

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