The U.S. is facing a healthcare talent shortage, leaving many vacancies unfilled. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1 million healthcare positions will be open by 2024.
Until healthcare organizations adopt new approaches to talent management, patients are at an increased risk of receiving substandard care from overworked employees. For example, increasing a nurse’s workload by just one patient increases mortality risk by 7 percent, according to research published in The Lancet.
How can healthcare talent management professionals work towards a solution? To start, try these 10 ideas for hiring and retaining top-quality healthcare staff.
1. Develop a reputation as an organization with an excellent culture and clear mission: Candidates research potential employers before they apply for a vacancy. While most healthcare organizations have missions around providing care, not all of them showcase their culture and values via social media or within a job description.
You must take an honest inventory of your organization’s online reputation and then take necessary steps to fix it, if necessary. Blogging, social media, and an engaging career site all shape a candidate’s first impression of your employer brand.
2. Overhaul your hiring and screening process: First, be sure your processes make it easy for candidates to apply: look for ways to shorten the application process and ensure your online apply works from any type of device.
Then, consider using scientifically validated behavioral assessments and personality tests. In general, past behavior can predict future performance and can help with retention and matching for culture fit.
3. Use niche job boards: Job boards are an effective means of reaching qualified candidates. Using healthcare-specific job boards helps you get in front of the right candidates who want to work at organizations like yours.
4. Offer a comprehensive wellness program: Offering programs that help employees manage stress can attract candidates who understand the pressures of the healthcare environment.
Experiment with quick but effective interventions for employees as part of a wellness program. For instance, offering in-chair massages can help relieve tension, offering the benefits of massage in a way that can help employees unwind without a time-consuming trip away from work.
5. Create talent pools for tracking and sourcing talent: The right sourcing software allows you to keep a database of people who have expressed interest in your organization. Even if you don’t have any suitable positions at the time, maintaining relationships with interested candidates enables you to notify them when vacancies arise.
6. Create an official retention plan: After you find the best people for your organization, you need a plan in place for retaining them. Healthcare professionals appreciate opportunities for ongoing development, regular feedback, clear policies and procedures, and a sound onboarding process. Document your approach and review it annually. Make sure all members of your leadership team understand the policies and commit to them.
7. Get feedback: Employees who feel underappreciated and frustrated by their working environment are likely to leave. Give them the chance to express their opinions by administering anonymous surveys.
8. Assign mentors: Give staff the chance to learn from others and advance their careers by assigning them a mentor. Encourage the pair to meet on a regular basis. If the relationship isn’t working, reassign the employee to a new guide.
9. Adopt a collaborative staffing model: Traditionally, healthcare workers comply with a schedule of assigned shifts. However, organizations are increasingly turning to collaborative staffing models that allow staff and managers to work together to fill shifts using a crowdsourcing model.
This approach gives employees more control over their work-life balance. A collaborative staffing model also helps you attract talent when you emphasize it during the interview stage.
10. Offer recognition programs: Healthcare workers consider salary and benefits when deciding where to apply, but their workplace experience determines whether they stay. Awards, official recognition programs, and bonuses all help staff feel appreciated.
High turnover and job dissatisfaction in the healthcare sector doesn’t have to be inevitable. A strong employer brand, good recruitment process, and a positive working environment will help you attract and retain the very best talent, so you can provide quality care.
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