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ABBA Personnel Services Inc. is a recruitment agency and the country’s top deployer of Filipino healthcare workers abroad. Their innovations include a unique scholarship program, hospital partnerships, and a specialized method of running the company via operations teams. As these concerns are mainly education and working methods, 2 SDGs are aimed to be addressed, specifically (1) Decent Work and Economic Growth and (2) Quality Education.
Abba has pursued three innovations to enhance its overseas healthcare recruitment industry business.
First is the Bequest Scholarship Program, which partners with top nursing schools in the Philippines and provides scholarships to select nursing students who have qualified for the program in terms of merit and financial need. Together with their employer clients, they provide them with significant financial support, not just to encourage them to finish and excel in their nursing course but to inspire other young Filipinos considering nursing careers.
Second are their hospital partnerships. Because of the tremendous shortage of nurses working in Philippine hospitals, the company has partnered with many hospitals to help alleviate the problem. This provides better access to a more extensive and varied pool of candidates made possible through collaborations with healthcare institutions.
Lastly, since the company was founded in 1998, they have always run Stand-Alone Operations teams that conduct end-to-end recruitment for their clients independently. Whereas other recruitment agencies would operate on a per-process basis, Abba uses a per-employer client basis, where each team is solely accountable to its roster of clients. The hospital partnerships and Stand-Alone structure of teams align with SDG 8 as they improve productivity and help employment locally (since they employ people) and internationally, as better staff productivity leads to more deployments of workers internationally. On the other hand, their Bequest initiative goes along with SDG 4 since this gives a better opportunity for access to education – closing financial shortages and supporting the execution of educational programs are achieved through mobilizing resources and increasing investment in education.
Bequest emerged due to the dwindling numbers of nursing students in the Philippines. From a high of beyond 200,000 nursing graduates in the 2010s, it has gone down to around 15,000 – 20,000 nursing graduates from 2016 onwards. As Ms. Karla has mentioned, “We thought that pursuing a nurse scholarship program won’t just help some of these nurses complete their education, but will also help bring back the former vibrance of the nursing profession in the Philippines.”
Around the same time, the company began seeking hospital partnerships because an increasing number of these graduating nurses are pursuing careers outside of clinical and hospital environments. The hiring practices of hospitals and other healthcare facilities have been significantly impacted by the prevalence of desk jobs, work at call centers, and BPOs. Ms. Karla also mentioned, “Because our clients abroad are hospitals and healthcare institutions as well, we thought that referring nurses who need the required bedside experience to local hospitals won’t just be helpful for us as an overseas recruitment agency in the long run, but to our local hospitals too.”
As for the Stand-Alone Operations Teams, the business initially sought it because many of their employer clients were unsure of how they would be able to serve them efficiently, particularly if they were smaller than the others. No matter the difference in size, credentials, or experience, they can ensure that they are provided equal attention through Operations Teams that are exclusively dedicated to each of our employer clients.
The Bequest scholarship program has played its role in addressing the ongoing nursing shortage. These scholarships have enabled more people to pursue a nursing career by providing financial aid to aspirant students and expanding the number of healthcare professionals in the sector – individuals with talent and enthusiasm can pursue careers in nursing, regardless of their financial situation. Nurse-to-patient ratios have been improved not just in the Philippines but in other countries where the client employers are located. Ms. Karla has emphasized the impact of hospital partnerships on the business, “Partnerships make it easier to streamline the hiring process, which shortens the time it takes to hire someone. By swiftly filling open positions, hospitals can lessen the effects of personnel shortages and maintain continuity of service.” As the country’s top deployer of healthcare workers, the firm can hire local healthcare experts to fill particular roles as the organization is focused on international hiring. This has helped solve severe shortages of specific healthcare professions, which is a massive help in healthcare institutions globally.
Abba Personnel Services has also dramatically shortened the time it takes for healthcare organizations to hire new employees by handling candidate sourcing up to deployment. This is particularly crucial given the urgent and fast-paced nature of the healthcare industry, where prompt hiring is necessary to maintain the standard of patient care. By finding, vetting, and choosing eligible applicants to fill open positions, Abba has provided great help to healthcare institutions internationally. Their healthcare industry knowledge, specialty in several healthcare areas, and market insights help healthcare firms hire more quickly, fill skill gaps, and provide high-quality patient care.
The Bequest program has, in its way, aided in the company's efforts to recruit additional nursing graduates. Additionally, it has helped grow new nursing students at its affiliated nursing institutions. Ms. Karla adds, "The Bequest scholarships can entice brilliant and highly motivated people to pursue nursing degrees. These highly educated nurses may contribute cutting-edge knowledge and abilities to the healthcare system, raising the standard of care delivered worldwide."
The hospital partnerships have produced more qualified nurses for the company's international employer clients. The fact that the referral scheme has allowed hospitals to hire more nurses for their facilities also makes them very grateful. Further on, Ms. Karla states, "These partnerships may lead to improved quality and safety standards. Hospitals can work together with us to achieve or maintain these relationships, ensuring that they meet recognized healthcare quality benchmarks."
The Stand-Alone Operations Teams have directly impacted the company's expansion, particularly in recent years. The company now employs about 80 people, up from only five in 1998. The staff members were given numerous opportunities to lead their own teams and themselves, and they now offer their direct reports the same chances. Ms. Karla stated, "We have a smooth and effective employment process, and that is made possible via end-to-end recruitment. The risk of losing potential applicants due to delays or poor management is decreased when all recruitment processes are handled by a single assigned team, which minimizes communication gaps." She ends her answer by emphasizing how she has witnessed improved collaboration when a single team manages the entire recruitment process.
The company has clarified that its goal has always been to provide dignified and meaningful work to as many Filipinos as possible. This would help people gain a sense of purpose – they can pursue it. Ms. Karla states, “With the help of scholarships, more nursing graduates are entering the workforce, giving healthcare organizations access to a bigger pool of competent applicants. Healthcare facilities can fill open positions more swiftly and effectively because of the increasing supply of nurses.”
Additionally, as an effect of the Bequest Scholarship Program, there is already improved access to healthcare services, particularly in underprivileged or rural areas. Nurses are critical in providing primary care, preventive services, and health education to promote public health and wellness. The effects of this scholarship allow people to completely transform their lives by being in a profession that’s not only fulfilling but will almost always be in demand here in the Philippines or overseas.
Hospital partnerships ensure that job vacancies in the Philippines and abroad will be effectively filled up because they can create a system that qualifies these nurses for both – this translates to better economic growth. People who work generate revenues that they then spend on products and services, promoting economic activity and advancing the economy as a whole.
The company’s Stand-Alone Operations Teams can also promote dignified and meaningful work because employees are always empowered to be entrepreneurial. This setup has been continuously creating jobs within the company and opening up opportunities, as managers have also continued to let their direct reports participate in decision-making. Ms. Karla stated, “Our recruitment setup ensures that candidates are suitably evaluated for their abilities and credentials. A well-matched workforce produces more effectively, which is good for the economy as a whole as well as for individual workers.”
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Karla Flores, Partner / Co-owner
ABBA Personnel Services Inc. is a POEA Awardee recruitment agency, the #1 deployer of Filipino healthcare workers abroad. For more than two decades, it has sent Filipinos to various countries such as the U.S.A., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Maldives, Papua New Guinea, and many others.