Some people have not been having a great week. For instance, #PoorLeo trended on Twitter during the Oscars featuring memes of a depressed Leonardo DiCaprio after he came up short yet again. And then there’s John Travolta, who was blissfully unaware that he was butchering an Oscar nominee’s name in front of a billion people.
But coming up soon, some people will be having a great week — one dedicated to recognizing their contributions to the field as well as acknowledging the mountain of challenges they confront.
“The week of March 16 – 22, 2014 has been designated to recognize human resources professionals in hospitals and non-hospital organizations across the nation for the daily issues they face in workforce, compensation and benefits, employee relations, health care reform and wellness — just to name a few.”
So to commemorate Health Care HR Week, we did some digging and pulled out some data points that are relevant to HR professionals who work in the health care arena. We’ve highlighted some of the unique challenges those in health care face and also prescribed potential cures.
Taking the pulse of challenges in health care
Hiring’s not back to normal yet.
The diagnosis: The hiring landscape in health care, like many other industries, hasn’t reached pre-recession levels yet.
The cure: Despite a downward trend, health care growth has been impressive through difficult economy. Of note is the resilience and persistent growth of physicians’ offices compared to the drop of job hospital growth in hospitals. As demand for health care services rises over the next decade, organizations will have to bring in more headcount. For now, health care hiring managers have indicated a significant increase in their part-time hiring plans in 2014.
The diagnosis: Health care recruiters struggle with recruiting skilled applicants and find compensation to be a challenge — these go hand in hand. Since many are constrained by cost, attracting the best candidates with the right skills becomes all the more difficult.
The cure: There needs to be an increased focus on engaging and developing internal talent in the health care industry.
The diagnosis: Half of health care hiring and HR managers admit to a significant gap between the skills and experience an organization needs versus what candidates bring to the table.
The cure: Data can help. For instance, data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl. (EMSI) shows that registered nurses (RNs) are projected to be the most difficult position to fill by far. Research suggests that companies recruiting for RNs in New York City, for example, should consider partnering with particular schools to create a steady pipeline of graduates that could prove to be highly valuable in the long term.
The diagnosis: Nearly half of health care hiring and HR managers, where there are 100-plus employees, have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates. In fact, these positions will typically stay open for two months or longer at the vast majority (73 percent) of organizations. Of course extended vacancies have consequences: 6 in 10 say openings resulted in productivity loss; 3 in 10 said they hurt morale and negatively affect the quality of work; and nearly 1 in 4 said it negatively affects patient care.
The cure: Health care organizations should create proactive recruitment strategies that focus on building talent pipelines and leveraging workforce analytics. According to Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare: “Organizations are struggling to find a balance between bringing in new talent and hiring experienced industry veterans capable of stepping into stressful environments with little ramp-up time. It’s important, however, that health care leaders develop pathways for new graduates.”
Difficulty recruiting nurses
The diagnosis: More than 2 in 5 health care employers hiring nurses said that they only hire experienced nurses and not new graduates, which automatically shrinks the candidate pool, according to a 2013 survey of nearly 250 health care hiring managers.
The cure: Unfortunately, it takes time for job seekers to acquire the typically required bachelor’s degree or higher. To see an improvement in the registered nurse market, one needs to wait for schools and students to catch up to the demand and train more registered nurses.
Increased workloads and high stress
The diagnosis: More than half (55 percent) of health care workers have noticed an increase in their workload over the past year, with 13 percent saying the difference is substantial. In fact, 1 in 4 plan to change jobs this year. Health care industry employees also had the highest rates of complaint when it came to stress levels and workload, with 69 percent of health care industry workers saying they feel “stressed” in their current jobs, and 17 percent describing themselves as “highly stressed.”
The cure: Health care leaders should ensure employees have the resources and support they need to perform their best. Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare, says they should consider adding staff members to take some of the load off current employees’ shoulders, working with employees to adjust their schedules and create a more manageable work environment, or re-assessing paid time off policies to enable employees to take the time they need to unwind and recharge.
Tell us in the comments below: What challenges do you face as you recruit in the health care industry, and what trends are you noticing that your peers should be aware of?Related