The day Candy Lindsay first helped others discover their careers, she realized she had discovered her own.
After completing graduate studies in social work, Lindsay was a child abuse case worker and eventually a police sergeant. She was tabling for the department at a college recruiting event, and discovered that she loved helping people realize fulfilling careers.
“I was always attracted to individuals who were ‘lost,’ taking opportunities that were handed to them with no real end game in mind,” she recalls. “I use my education and experience to guide these individuals to opportunities that they find compelling and rewarding, with a clear path for the future.”
Lindsay knows she’s lucky—she’s never felt adrift in her own career. But for anyone who’s let themselves become too comfortable, or stayed in a position till long after it became unfit, her mission is to help them reconnect.
Lindsay has spent more than twenty years in healthcare. In 2016, she arrived at Amedisys, one of the nation’s largest providers of home health and hospice care. As vice president of talent acquisition, her task is to maintain an all-star recruiting team which can staff demanding, specific positions across the United States. To do that, she applies four strategies from throughout her experience:
HAVE A VISION
Lindsay arrived at Amedisys in 2016. In the past year, the organization has hired more than six thousand people; building a recruiting team capable of such a task has required discipline, patience, and an incremental approach to development. They built up a foundation by streamlining processes, conducting strategy sessions with hiring managers, learning to more effectively source passive candidates, and providing targeted screenings of candidates. Now, there’s a stronger, more targeted pipeline of talent across the country.
“This year was our operational excellence year, and next year will be our best practice year,” she explains. “It’s been a journey. I feel good about the progress we’ve made thus far, and the proof will be in the results that we deliver.”
One of Lindsay’s first projects at Amedisys was to select a team of highly skilled recruiters, whom she can deploy to work on crises as they arise. Borrowing an acronym from her police career, Lindsay calls them her SWAT team: a handpicked crew of agile, mobile, and exceptionally effective operators that she can deploy to solve urgent, unique dilemmas. It’s been one of the most effective tools throughout her recruiting career, and it’s serving Amedisys as well.
“As a leader, you often hear that there’s a fire somewhere,” she says. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘It’s critical, we have to have these seven positions filled right now or our patients won’t get the care that they need.”
“Using a small team of skillful, agile, highly motivated recruiters to supplement the work of the larger team can be very effective,” she adds. “Assigning them fewer, critical requisitions that they will fill as quickly as possible can be just the thing that a difficult market needs.”
GIVE EVERYONE A VOICE
As a business service, recruitment has to be versatile and highly responsive, and that means communication channels need to be as clear as possible. Regular meetings are key, but leadership has implemented structural changes to ensure that there are opportunities for learning and growth.
“We host a monthly meeting with all the field recruiters and let them decide what needs to be on the agenda,” she says. “Their team leaders facilitate the calls, so questions get answered and everyone gets the opportunity to hear a consistent message. They have some ownership in the outcomes of these monthly calls.”
Amedisys also hosts an annual summit for the entire talent acquisition team for training, team-building, and sessions with leadership. The highlight of the event is an evening awards dinner, where CEO Paul Kusserow is a regular attendee. Lindsay notes that the event builds unity and purpose across the organization and allows the hardworking team a chance to be recognized.
“Once greatness is achieved it can become difficult to maintain, so it is important to continuously recalibrate and monitor results,” Lindsay says. “I ask, ‘are we really following our best practices?’ Do I hear complaints coming in, or are we all following the same process that we know works?”
If she hears complaints, she’s ready to call for a retraining.
In an early strategic meeting, recruiting leadership crafted a set of questions for recruiters to ask hiring managers. Over time, those questions have been honed and updated. Retraining sessions, including role play, have kept the team intentional and aligned.
“If we aren’t aligned, we won’t get to the quality talent that we so desperately need,” she says.
As a hospice and home health provider, Amedisys requires the most committed, resilient, and experienced professionals. It’s not posturing; an imperfect fit could quickly develop into burnout, dissatisfaction, or inadequate care. With patient health and safety at stake, excellent staffing is crucial.
“Amedisys is a company of caregivers,” Lindsay says. “Every one of our employees lends a hand in providing compassionate care for our patients. That’s why we’re committed to finding the most passionate, best-qualified employees who understand the higher calling of this opportunity.”
Photos by Caley Newberry