Hospitals and other healthcare institutions face staff shortages and hiring has increased as a result of the global pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the industry’s drive for maximum efficiency, poor retention, and a retiring workforce have made it challenging to meet this unprecedented healthcare talent shortage.
As per a recent study published by Health Affairs, an average of 60,000 baby boomers’ nurses have left the workforce since 2012 in the US. And, by 2020, it has roughly reached half of its peak of 2008. This departure trend has continued to accelerate in the coming years due to high industry turnover, low healthcare retention rate, increased hiring time, and out-of-industry competition.
In this scenario, recruiting and retaining healthcare workers has become critical, henceforth, shall not be left solely to the human resource department. Entrepreneurs, hospital managers, and human resource officers must collaborate and anticipate to prevent the negative consequences of this capacity crunch. Such consequences could ensue when either an employee leaves, denies accepting a job offer or becomes ‘unproductive.’ Leaders shall strengthen their focus on the wholeness of employee well-being, speak openly, and act transparently.
More, they shall also understand the individual-centric challenges and see what can be done to attract talent, and improve job satisfaction followed by employee retention. Perhaps a thorough assessment of the organization can reveal the extent to which the medical and paramedical staff at the hospital feel exhausted, overworked, undervalued, or disenchanted. Managers can then propose and eventually devise possible solutions based on their findings.
Simply, organizations shall become great places to inspire people, address their needs, and ultimately increase healthcare retention. Below are a few strategies that the healthcare industry shall practice to make its HR approach sustainable.
1. Early Career Education
Getting young people to think about the healthcare industry can seed solutions early on. Exposing young minds to varied opportunities beyond the doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff-like positions can positively open their minds to all possibilities. Leaders can use technology, and digital platforms to attract young career seekers. Herein, rightful employee branding, optimized job posts, social media outreach, etc., can help to connect with young minds quickly.
2. Career Development Opportunities
On the heels of gigantic health threats in the century, it has become imperative to invest in staff development programs, help upskill workers and offer huge workplace benefits. Technology can enable savvy employers to isolate strengths, support growth, and impart training to accelerate. Studies suggest that the workplaces that support structured career mapping, cultivate leadership, and offer skill development are four times more favorable than the others.
3. Burnout Prevention Resources
As per a survey from the Washington Post, the pandemic negatively impacted 62% of health care professionals and caused mental or stress-related problems, out of which one-third are young health workers from the age group 18 to 29. Also, 56% of frontline health care professionals experienced trouble sleeping, 47% had headaches and stomach pains, and 16% had increased dependency on alcohol. Amid these exaggerated phases, healthcare employers will be increasingly expected to create a safe work environment, offer flexibility, and ensure shift change to provide on-site or virtual health assistance programs to support their people during and beyond pandemics.
4. Techno-Enabled Onboarding
A study published on Glassdoor by Brandon Hall found that structured and standardized onboarding can increase productivity and retention by 82%. During onboarding, functions like scheduling meetings, doing paperwork, organizing training, and distributing roles and responsibilities are labor-intensive. Particularly, when HR accounts for a sheer volume of healthcare positions each year, time and energy commitment are immensely involved. As the health sector is rebuilding its workforce, adopting ‘onboarding’ software can streamline the process and save time.
5. Increased Autonomy
Ideally, functioning flexibility would drive the road map for HR strategies to facilitate the needed transition, outlining opportunities to review and assess what is working. However, allowing sufficient operational autonomy is not a quick fix. Yes, it requires mission-driven recruitment and retention plans to engage, nourish and drive the mindsets. Fortunately, participative leadership, people-focused objectives, workplace transparency, and two-way communication can expedite value creation and action.
6. Work-Life Integration
Amid the rising expectations and demands, organizations shall not view work (paid) and life (non-paid) activities as two separate entities that contradict one another. Rather both shall be seen as melting pots supporting the existence of each other. Therefore, HR strategies must co-create space to support the proper integration and allow healthcare employees to balance both aspects.
Furthermore, getting a chance to work with a highly motivated and skilled team is also a powerful retention approach that works perennially. Usually, employees feel proud to be associated with talented peers all-around and are more likely to stay there longer. Necessarily, by keeping the people foremost, and applying human-centric solutions, hospitals and other healthcare institutions can leverage their human capital, raise financial performance and sustain long-term.