8 min read
The healthcare workforce has changed since the pandemic – no one can deny that. And, as a result, healthcare leaders need to rethink their workforce strategy and prepare for the ever-changing workforce.
As we approach 2023, it’s the perfect time for healthcare leaders to start their workforce planning with the goal of better fulfilling their workers’ needs and improving overall patient satisfaction.
In this article, we discuss the key things to consider when laying out a healthcare workforce strategy for 2023 and beyond.
Mental health support for healthcare workers
Studies show that nearly 40 percent of U.S. physicians are reluctant to seek mental health support out of fear that they may lose their medical license.
Leaders need to prioritize mental health support in order to help prevent workers from developing stress-related health conditions and burnout. Not only does this positively impact the workers, but it means that patients receive better quality care as well.
Healthcare organizations could offer one-to-one meetings with workers, training for managing stress, and access to mental health resources.
Furthermore, healthcare leadership must also embed empathy into their employee training and day-to-day activities. Empathy is an important topic in the healthcare industry, but there is an increasing lack of empathy within healthcare organizations.
This is something we have discussed in a recent article about the importance of empathy in healthcare. Along with mental health support, it’s an important factor in maintaining employee satisfaction and morale, while improving patient care.
Most of all, every worker has the right to take care of themselves without fear of judgement.
Healthcare leadership must also embed empathy into their employee training and day-to-day activities.
One of the challenges for healthcare staff is that they’re needed pretty much 24/7. They barely have the time to focus on themselves, let alone partake in events or wellness programs. A work event can be difficult to organise, especially when your staff is always required to be on-call.
For example, events that take place in the afternoon may be inaccessible to those who work night shifts. You don’t want anyone to feel excluded or lacking because they haven’t been offered these same opportunities.
Instead, it would be beneficial to run two events – one during the day and one at night – so that everyone can attend and enjoy the benefits their employer has to offer.
Workforces have never been as age-diverse as they are at this point in time, consisting of about four cohorts of generations. Healthcare leaders must learn how to manage different age groups, i.e., baby boomers, millennials, and Gen Z.
For instance, a baby boomer may have completely different ways of understanding and communicating than a Gen Z worker. Healthcare leaders must understand the differences between them, not just in age, but in the way that they think.
As a result, you could implement different hiring, training, and day-to-day processes to be inclusive of all generations and their quirks.
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Embrace talent technology
A healthcare workforce strategy should focus on embracing technology, as it has proven track record of improving it for the better.
There are a variety of different ways to embrace technology, including using up-to-date platforms to source talent more efficiently, onboard new hirees, train workers and track their progress, help reduce burnout through individually customized mental health support, and more.
Technology needs to be embraced across the healthcare industry, not only in staffing, but also in patient care. There are applications that can reduce the pressure on staff by advising patients to book online consultations instead of in-person ones, improving patient-nurse ratios.
Improve staff retention
The pandemic raised a lot of issues in the healthcare system, and one of those was the staffing and talent shortage.
Job seekers are now expecting more from their employers, as was made clear by the high turnover rates seen in 2022. They demand better benefits and work environments, or they are willing to find work elsewhere.
Hospitals are under great pressure due to the lack of staff and funds. As a result, healthcare leaders need to understand what workers are looking for and directly address these desires to improve retention and remain competitive.
Here are some things healthcare providers should consider:
- Training programs around empathy, leadership, career advancement, and more – Training opportunities are not only a benefit to workers, but also the organization itself, as their staff will have the right skill sets to provide better patient care and it might prevent the need to hire more employees.
- Nurse leadership programs
- Rotating shifts or tasks to avoid burnout
- Managers should receive input from staff on workplace issues – your workers want to be heard. When building retention strategies, consider how to make staff feel like their voices are heard.
Many healthcare organizations still overlook the potential that staffing agencies have to bridge talent gaps quickly and efficiently.
Utilizing staffing agencies
Many healthcare organizations still overlook the potential that staffing agencies have to bridge talent gaps quickly and efficiently. It allows them to fill urgent staffing gaps as soon as possible, without the burden and costs of hiring permanent workers.
Harnessing temporary staff in high-turnover departments leads to lower cases of burnout, decreases risks in patient care, and boosts patient satisfaction. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
For maximum results, it’s best to work with an established agency that specialises in healthcare staffing and has a proven track record in developing effective talent strategies. Contact us to discuss your talent needs and how we can help.
Overall, it’s evident that staff retention is still an issue within the healthcare industry. While this problem preceded COVID-19, the pandemic heightened the challenges facing the healthcare talent market.
It also brought to our attention the fact that our workforce is not what it was 20-30 years ago.
Not only have technologies and treatments changed but peoples’ priorities have changed. Now, more than ever, healthcare leaders must find the right balance of leadership, strategic thinking, and coaching, while keeping organizations afloat in the midst of a recession.
Consequently, healthcare providers need to change with the times. One of the key areas in need of improvement is their approach to workforce strategy.
Through utilizing staffing agencies such as Talent4Health to help with talent shortages and embracing advances in talent technology, healthcare organizations can look forward to happier workers, increased retention, improved patient care, reduced risk, and less cost.
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