From Brian Radin, President, Comdata prepaid.
Employment in health professions is expected grow by 15% Almost 2.4 million jobs will be created in the next few years. However, no end to the nationwide health care recruitment crisis is in sight, especially under the majority of workers that are underpaid and undervalued. While understaffing can be a nuisance and loss of income in sectors like hospitality, the consequences can be disastrous for healthcare.
What to do if you cannot provide intensive care on time? Many healthcare providers face this problem as the industry needs thousands of additional skilled workers to keep up with current and future demand.
What is driving the crisis
To understand why the deficiency occurs, we need to understand the challenges many health professionals face. Burnout is real – a recent Washington Post poll shows almost 30% of the workforce consider leaving the job as they seek a better work-life balance. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is still vital to the safety and wellbeing of our healthcare workers largely unavailable for many small and medium-sized clinics. And they are also underpaid – last year nursing assistants have one average salary of $ 30,000, and medical assistants, domestic helpers, and others averaged just $ 13.48 an hour (less than $ 30,000 per year). Finally, there is generally a limited supply of healthcare professionals. As of now, the United States has a larger number of Citizens over 65 years of age than ever before. Additionally, over the next ten years, 20% of the United States will be seniors. Add to this the training time it takes to work in the healthcare sector and you see a mismatch between the vacancies and the skills available to workers.
Healthcare leaders need to think outside the box to contain the tide of this churn. To attract (and retain) the best talent in healthcare, you need to answer two questions: How do I treat my employees and how do I treat my patients? Everyone wants to make good money, and while that’s an important factor, it’s not just about pay.
There is no time like the present – get the help you need now
Here are some ideas health administrators can use to attract and retain employees and differentiate themselves from the competition:
- Show them the money: At the moment it is a labor market. As an example there is currently 43 openings for home health and personal care aides for every applicant. With so many jobs and so few skilled workers, you need to make sure that your pay is extremely competitive. Think beyond an annual salary – also consider signing up for bonuses and sticking with them. For example, employees receive a bonus after six months of employment; after 12 months another bonus (possibly a little higher) and so on. Here’s another idea: consider a repayment program to help your employees pay off training debts. Rely on months or years of seniority – the longer you stay with your company, the higher the repayment amount.
- Give them instant access to their money: Many employees live from paycheck to paycheck and resort to expensive solutions to financially bridge their needs between pay periods. In addition, many lack access to traditional banking services. Fix this by giving employees instant access to their earnings with paycards and on-demand EWA solutions. These tools provide employees with an easy and secure way to manage their wages even if they don’t have a bank account.
- Hire proactive, not reactive: Don’t wait until you have a personnel crisis to start the hiring process. Instead, project your staffing needs for months and start the hiring process sooner rather than later. This will help your new team members have enough time to get the training they need to get them through the orientation process. Don’t forget that underqualified people are not that good at their job and your customers will notice. It will also help your bottom line by reducing the need for expensive travel nurses.
- Look at your procurement: Don’t recruit from just one or two channels – proactively network with high schools, colleges, technical schools and job boards to get in touch with potential employees early on. Consider offering internship programs that have a clear path to full-time employment. If you can offer a guaranteed employment program, you are more likely to make friends with your potential employees. Here’s a pro tip: try platforms like Nursing café to reduce the average set-up time.
- Now that you have it, keep it: It is not enough to fill your employee list. Go out of shape when it comes to running your business. Make your employees fun, provide mentors, and install ongoing training programs. Many healthcare professionals have to work long shifts in a row. Think outside the box on how you can improve your workforce plan. This will motivate your employees, make them feel valued, and strengthen their skills, which ultimately strengthens your organization.
- The perks high: Consider offering something that the competition doesn’t. Adding a 401 (k) plan, paid time off, sick days, and health and psychiatry will help you stand out from potential employees. If you don’t already have one, why not implement a career program? This could encourage your team to stay with the company and grow. Put yourself in the shoes of your employees – what would you want in your position?
Step out of the masses
The recruitment crisis is real – and it affects all industries. In some cases there are many more positions than qualified applicants. In this day and age, workers and potential workers are in power. Hence, employers need to be willing to reinvent their approach to attracting and retaining talent.
Offering additional compensation and opportunities for instant access to pay, practicing a proactive attitude, diversifying your hiring sources, and improving the daily lives of your employees can all help bring potential employees to your door and keep those you already have.
Still fighting? Take a step back and think about what you would want if you were on the front lines. Consider asking your reps what works and what doesn’t – it will provide valuable insights to help keep your roster busy and full.
This is a complex problem with no one-size-fits-all solution and it won’t go away anytime soon. Traditional hiring and retention practices are simply no longer enough. If you are the employer people want you to be, you will find it easier to attract and retain the best talent. Remember, happy, committed people do the best work, and this ultimately translates into your company’s reputation and profitability. So if you are struggling to fill vacancies with qualified health professionals, try to think outside the box by reviewing your benefit offerings, giving your employees instant access to their earnings, and going the extra mile with the perks and engagement in the workplace to get the good workers you already have.
Thank You For Reading!