4 easy ways to improve your EMS recruitment efforts

No one wants to join a sinking ship


This article is reprinted with permission from the EMS Leadership Academy. For a more in-depth exploration into the topic of recruitment, join the EMS Leadership Academy for a free Recruitment and Retention Training on Jan. 5 or Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. ET. They are also hosting a 3-day live event, February 2-4, 2022, called EMS Leadership LIVE.

While there are many factors that lead to a successful recruitment campaign, here are four simple, easy to implement strategies that will enhance your EMS recruitment efforts.

1. Join a winning team vs. we need you

We have all seen signs out in front of an organizations with some version of “We need help.” Think for a moment about the message that sends to people. No one wants to join a sinking ship and if someone is attracted by that message, is that the type of person your organization needs? It will likely be someone who wants to help by sacrificing themselves. This type of person will repel high performing individuals from joining your team.

"...[R]emember that people are attracted to a winning team or being part of something great. Stay focused on creating an organization that is worthy of highly engaged members," write Giruzzi. (Photo/Getty Images)

Instead, remember that people are attracted to a winning team or being part of something great. Stay focused on creating an organization that is worthy of highly engaged members.

2. Benefits vs. struggles

You are always recruiting even when you think you aren’t. People are watching and listening to your words and actions. How do you talk about your organization? Are you angry, resentful or frustrated, or are you excited for what you are creating? Do you complain about how hard it is and how many hours you have to put in or do you tell stories of the privilege it is to help people in your community?

If you are focusing on the benefits and what’s working, it will send a completely different message than if you are concentrating on the struggles and problems. This isn’t about pretending everything is perfect or painting a rosy picture. The intention is to notice that what you and others in your organization are saying matters.

Think about what you have gained both personally and professionally from your participation with the organization. Haven’t the challenges and struggles also had a positive impact?

3. High performing, engaged team members vs. warm bodies

People want to participate in and be a part of an elite team. It is very motivating and attractive to be doing something that not everyone can do. If, on the other hand, you are looking for warm bodies to fill shifts, then that’s what you’ll get. It is discouraging for the recruits to be treated as if their talents and strengths don’t matter. Why would they join your organization if what they have to look forward to is being a shift-filler rather than a contributing member of an awesome team?

The context you have for recruitment influences what actions you take and how effective those actions are. The context of recruiting high performing team members will lead to very different strategies than trying to fill shifts with warm bodies.

Please note, you can’t just say your organization is special. You must build a culture worthy of high performing, engaged members.

4. Team approach vs. lone ranger

Being a Lone Ranger could actually repel people from joining your organization. If you are perceived as a self-sacrificing, struggling person, it will not be conducive to recruiting high performing, engaged team members. It is more effective to build a team of people from inside and outside your organization who understand how valuable it is to have a strong EMS organization in the community. Asking for ideas and input from community members about ways to recruit more effectively will reap many rewards.

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