The healthcare industry is still reeling from the demands placed on it by the pandemic, and staffing has become a challenge for many sectors, including dental practices. It is no secret that healthcare recruiting and retention had already been difficult without the added pressure and stress of Covid-19. Fortunately, there is now a focus on identifying strategies to make this process easier for all involved -- read on to learn more.
While hiring in the healthcare industry is on the upswing, hospitals and other healthcare organizations are still scrambling to fill necessary positions in the midst of major staffing shortages. While undoubtedly a concern long before the Covid-19 pandemic, these shortages have only been exacerbated by the challenges of the last 18 months.
Since 2012, an average of 60,000 baby boomers have retired from critical nursing positions each year, and many of those positions have been difficult to replace. I believe that gap will only grow wider due to pandemic-induced burnout. The U.S. birthrate is also down for the sixth year in a row, which will impact jobs across markets in the decades to come, but particularly within the healthcare industry.
With many organizations reporting few qualified applicants, as well as a high level of industry turnover, the hiring problem is a critical emergency for the industry. Healthcare employers are trying hard to hire as quickly as they can, but in addition to fewer job seekers and out-of-industry competition, the typical hiring process is still wildly inefficient, with the average days-to-hire as high as 49 days. In the current environment that’s simply too long.
Reducing the number of days it takes to hire is just one challenge healthcare employers must overcome as they look to address pressing staffing shortages. From my experience in helping healthcare providers with their recruitment, onboarding and credentialing processes, I see four additional ways where the healthcare industry can improve its hiring practices and ultimately increase employee retention.
Offer Early Career Education.
Starting at square one: How do you get young people to think about careers in healthcare? The healthcare industry has a lot of opportunities to seed growth for careers beyond those highly skilled positions like doctors, nurses and surgeons. And many don’t require extensive education. Hourly and high-demand positions like certified nursing assistants offer the chance to get a foot in the door, and with the right training, employees can move into more skilled positions and a long-term career. By exposing young people to the varied opportunities early on, your industry can open their minds to all that is possible.
To help young jobseekers gain awareness of professional opportunities, healthcare employers must also think more strategically about organizational branding. Technology is primed for candidate outreach, particularly for younger jobseekers. From social media outreach to optimized job posts, healthcare HR can use the internet to connect with candidates who are early in the process of considering career paths and goals.
Provide More Career Development Opportunities.
Hospitals and other healthcare organizations, including long-term care facilities, are known for their high staff turnover rates. And on the heels of the largest global health threat in the last century, those rates are only going up, making job satisfaction and employee retention imperative. While a lot of healthcare organizations are investing more into staffing development programs to combat the turnover and help upskill workers, there are new opportunities to augment these offerings.
Workplace benefits like on-site career and leadership development opportunities can also help healthcare employers attract and retain nurses looking for long-term positions as well as outside applicants who are interested in a career change.
Technology is an invaluable resource when it comes to providing opportunities for career growth. Savvy employers can use technology to isolate employee strengths and professional goals and support growth through distance learning. Online training can work hand-in-hand with career check-ins and ongoing mentorship programs to get employees where they want to be without having to leave their organization or the industry.
Ensure Employees Have Access to Burnout Prevention Resources.
According to one survey, more than 60% of frontline healthcare workers say the pandemic negatively impacted their mental health, while nearly 80% of registered nurses in another survey say the pandemic strained staffing in their unit to “unsafe levels.” As healthcare workers finally start to process the trauma from the last 18 months, I believe burnout levels are sure to rise even higher.
From helping to create a safe workplace environment, offering flexible mental health days, ensuring seamless shift changes and offering on-site or virtual employee assistance programs, healthcare employers will be increasingly expected to offer resources to support their staff during these unprecedented times and beyond.
Automate On Boarding Processes.
From scheduling meetings and fulfilling training requirements to distributing, filling out and filing paperwork, onboarding employees can be a labor-intensive process in any industry. So when you account for the sheer volume of positions healthcare organizations are filling each year, the time commitment alone is a huge suck on HR resources.
As the healthcare industry continues to rebuild its workforce, I think now would be a great time for employers to reevaluate their onboarding practices to ensure they’re hiring and retaining well-prepared employees. Implementing more thoughtful onboarding software can have positive impacts on an organization well into the future. In fact, a recent study from Brandon Hall Group found that successful, structured onboarding can increase productivity and employee retention rates by 82%.
In the critical months and years ahead as the healthcare industry continues to recover from the still lingering Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare organizations have an opportunity to improve their overall recruitment, hiring and onboarding processes. The demands put on healthcare workers and employer organizations stretched the industry in a myriad of ways over the last 18 months, but by utilizing innovative solutions on the hiring front, healthcare employers can set new expectations for the future of healthcare employment.