Today, CVS Health is hosting a one-day career event in the US to hire an additional 25,000 people to support the company in administering flu vaccines over the winter months.
Most of open roles are for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians or nurses at CVS Pharmacy outlets; CVS Health currently employs more than 200,000 people across its retail pharmacy stores.
These additional pharmacy staff will also help CVS Health to continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 booster shots amid the escalating public health situation in the US. Yesterday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved boosters of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine yesterday for the over 65s and those at high risk of contracting the virus, including frontline workers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also endorsed the booster shots for this demographic.
Talking to UNLEASH about the recruitment drive, CVS Health’s vice-president of talent acquisition Jeffrey Lackey notes: “Last year we doubled the number [of flu shots] we gave relative to the previous year; we did 20 million [in 2020] as opposed to about 10 million the previous year.”
So far CVS Health has administered 34 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Lackey.
CVS Health is expecting the demand for flu vaccines this year to be at least as high as 2020. It is also expecting further demand for COVID-19 vaccines, particularly as the FDA deliberates on vaccine approval for 5-to-11-year-olds.
“These 25,000 workers will help give our teams a cushion and a break”, explains Lackey. “We have got to have enough staff there to take on this additional work. It is an amazing and exciting time, but also very challenging.”
Virtual recruitment at CVS
The 25,000 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and nurses will be recruited using CVS Health’s virtual recruitment system Virtual Job Tryout after they apply either through text or the company’s website.
Lackey is particularly proud of CVS Health’s innovative virtual hiring solution. He explains that it is “very slick from the candidate perspective” and “it can actually cut a week out of the process”.
A major benefit of Virtual Job Tryout, according to Lackey, is that gives candidates “a realistic job preview” so they know what the role they are applying actually involves day-to-day. This is through informative videos, as well as built into the assessment part of the interview process.
This allows potential employees to decide for themselves if that is the right job for them, or whether they should apply for a different role at CVS Health.
This is important to Lackey and CVS Health; “the interview is about assessing the person, but also allowing them the opportunity to discover if this the job they want”.
Although Virtual Job Tryout has been a major part of CVS Health’s recruitment process for many years, it is only with continual refining over many years that the company feels satisfied to use it “as our selection device by itself without the interview”.
The perks of working at CVS
Of course, CVS Health’s pharmacy recruitment drive also occurs in the midst of the ‘Great Resignation’ in the US where employees are voting with their feet and leaving jobs they are not happy with.
So how is CVS Health going to attract people and fill these 25,000 roles?
“Every market right now is facing unprecedented challenges in hiring,” states Lackey.
Competitive pay, which acknowledges the public health necessity of vaccine delivery, as well as generous benefits that the company is constantly re-evaluating, are going to be central to CVS Health’s plan to successfully hire 25,000 people. The benefits packages include health insurance, a discounted stock purchase program, tuition reimbursement, and an up to 30% discount at retail stores.
Further to this, CVS Health has implemented a referral scheme for its existing staff where they will receive a cash bonus if someone they recommend for a job is hired.
In addition, company culture, purpose, and values are central to CVS Health’s hiring strategy, according to Lackey.
“We hire on purpose and values. We want people who are going to build and grow the culture to make it even better than it was yesterday,” he explains. “The thing that separates CVS Health from other organizations is that colleagues have a passion for what they do”.
Lackey concludes that CVS Health sees COVID-19 as a common enemy for all to battle. So the company wants to create “an environment for our colleagues to come together, join forces and battle the virus” for the good of all.