Collingwood hospital’s new effort to recruit staff
Collingwood General & Marine Hospital has developed a new recruitment and retention initiative by helping future, and present staff members find housing in the area.
“We’re currently recruiting significant team members from outside of the region, and trying to find housing in our area can be a challenge at times if you’re new to the area,” said the hospital’s vice-president of people and safety, Kris Baird.
“Perhaps our price drops have now reached a threshold that the general public is willing to explore,” said local real estate agent Karen Willison.
Though rental prices are starting to come down now, availability and affordability of housing in the Collingwood area have been detrimental to the hospital’s effort to bring in new staff in recent years.
“The housing market is definitely one factor that has been cited for our future employees coming in. We’ve also had individuals join the hospital, and then they had to leave because they weren’t able to secure more permanent housing,” explained Baird.
“During the COVID years, it was absolutely ridiculous because there was zero inventory, and you were dealing with 20 offers at one time to purchase something, and there was nothing to rent,” reminded Willison.
The new system brings listed and unlisted rental opportunities to one centralized database for healthcare workers.
“To give their people and their staff that are looking for something the opportunity to find it all in one place, it has to simplify it and make it better for them,” said Willison.
“There is a health human resources shortage in the province right now, so it’s absolutely first and foremost for us to look at recruitment and retention strategies to support our team,” added Baird.
There are no particular criteria to be a landlord in this program. Residents must fill out a form on the hospital website and provide pictures.
“It’s a chance to provide an opportunity for community members who have been so great to support our hospital to provide their information if they have places available for rent. Then we can provide that to our new employees coming in and make that connection for them,” said Baird.
The Collingwood General and Marine Hospital isn’t the first to develop this concept. In fact, they borrowed it from Muskoka Algonquin Healthcare (MAHC).
MAHC says since launching the program around Thanksgiving, they’ve had tremendous success and engagement from across the region of people reaching out to help them build a Muskoka housing inventory. In total, they have received just over 200 housing options that make it easier for new recruits to move to Muskoka. Those housing opportunities are also accessible to existing staff who might be looking to make a change.