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Nursing recruitment: relationship between perceived employer image and nursing employees’ recommendations


  • Greet Van Hoye

    1. Greet Van Hoye PhD
      Assistant Professor
      Department of Personnel Management, Work and Organizational Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
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Title. Nursing recruitment: relationship between perceived employer image andnursing employees' recommendations.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to examine the relationship between nursing employees’ perceptions of instrumental and symbolic dimensions of employer image on the one hand and their intentions to recommend their organization as an employer and their willingness to testify in their organization’s recruitment materials on the other.

Background.  Previous research suggests that word-of-mouth recommendations by current nursing employees can enhance healthcare organizations’ attractiveness as an employer for potential applicants. However, it is not known what motivates employees to provide positive word-of-mouth comments and to endorse their employer in recruitment testimonials.

Method.  The instrumental-symbolic framework was applied to identify relevant dimensions of perceived employer image that might relate to employee recommendations. A questionnaire was administered in 2006 to 106 nurses and nursing aides from four non-profit nursing homes in Belgium. The response rate was 55%.

Results.  Overall, nursing employees were more willing to recommend their nursing home to others than to testify in recruitment materials. Both instrumental and symbolic employer image dimensions predicted nursing employees’ recommendation intentions. Conversely, willingness to testify was only predicted by symbolic image dimensions. Specifically, the more the nursing employees perceived that their nursing home offers task diversity, offers the possibility to help people and is prestigious, the more they intended to recommend their organization to others. The more they perceived their nursing home as competent, the higher were their recommendation intentions and their willingness to testify in recruitment communication.

Conclusion.  To increase nursing employees’ willingness to recommend their employer to potential applicants, organizations should enhance their perceived employer image.