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How to Beat the Talent Shortage in the Healthcare Industry

Talent Shortages in the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry has been challenged with talent shortages for several years, and to the industry’s credit, they have found innovative ways to deal with those shortages. This includes creating physician’s assistant and nurse practitioner roles to reduce the workload on primary care physicians, as well as shifting high-volume, low-skill care such as vaccines to pharmacies and other retail locations.

However, as the industry continues to transition to a value-centered model, rather than a volume-centered model, and healthcare technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated in both patient care and administration, the challenges have become even more acute. An older and less healthy patient population, coupled with changing healthcare laws and regulations, only adds to this burden.

Here are a few tips to help you beat the talent shortage in your organization, now and in the future:

  • More Sophisticated Workforce Planning – Healthcare organizations should have an eye toward the future of workforce needs over the next 5 – 10 years and ensure they have the strategies in place to recruit and retain the necessary talent need to provide value-based services as efficiently as possible. Many of the newer jobs in healthcare technology did not exist only a few short years ago, nor did the emerging healthcare planning roles focused on patient wellness. Becoming better able to predict where new roles and skills will be needed to allow leaders to identify talent gaps and determine strategies to fill them, either through hiring or training existing staff.
  • Total Talent Management – More than ever before, it is essential that healthcare organizations view their total workforce, including not only full-time staff, but also part-timers, temporary staff, independent contractors (freelancers) and professional service firms, as part of their solution. Partnerships with adjacent healthcare organizations like pharmacies and home care organizations will also be part of the long-term solution to ensure patient needs are met. Thinking creatively about how to fill the talent gaps will reveal quality solutions. For example, rural hospitals are filling the demand for ER physicians by offering high-paying weekend freelance gigs to attract physicians from urban communities. Independent contractors/freelancers and professional service firms may be a good option to fill healthcare technology needs when talent is hard to find. 
  • Streamlined Hiring Process – One of the biggest enemies of successful recruiting is a slow hiring process, as the best candidates are off the market in an average of 10 days, while HR managers are still working to set up job interviews. Leveraging candidate tracking systems and working hard with hiring managers to speed the process can yield much better results.
  • Succession Planning & Training – The Baby Boomer retirement bonanza is hitting the healthcare industry particularly hard, as the economy improves HR leaders should begin by identifying all staff members who may be nearing retirement and working with them to determine their plans and offering part-time options or a slow phase out to retirement while training their replacements. HR managers can proactively mitigate some of the brain drain that inevitably occurs through succession. We also recommend identifying high potential junior employees and mapping their skills to the likely future vacancies so that an orderly process of training, mentoring and knowledge transfer can occur. This will also help you forecast where future recruiting needs are most likely so you can identify prospective candidates for your tracking system.
  • Automation – Technology and automation must also be an important part of your future talent planning, as it becomes more feasible to transition low-skill, repetitive tasks to machines and enable staff to take on other work, thereby reducing your headcount requirements.

If you would like to learn more about how to beat the talent shortage, consider our latest free eBook, “Anatomy of a Profitable Workforce.”

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