The pandemic has brought the healthcare industry to an inflection point. By 2028, the healthcare industry must hire an estimated 10.8 million new clinicians, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and US Census Bureau. That’s a daunting number—even in ordinary times.
However, because a significant proportion of the clinical workforce that is set to retire matches the number of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals currently working in the industry, this presents a healthcare talent issue.
It’s also not clear yet whether the pandemic has made things better or worse for the healthcare industry. It’s possible that the coronavirus crisis may have attracted more people to healthcare professions.
Yet, lingering issues from burnout, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues are troubling signs for the workforce of this industry. Already, clinicians are opting for early retirement, and 40% of women are going part-time or leaving medicine altogether within six years of completing their residency.
Now is the time for you to reconsider your talent acquisition strategies and plan for the coming healthcare talent crisis, so your organization will have the people it needs to deliver on your strategic goals in the future.
These are the three areas where you need to take action today.
Competition is stiff in the healthcare market. Organizations are vying for a scarcity of talent, so you need to make sure you stand out. What is your talent value proposition? What do you offer clinicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals that your competitors don’t?
To answer these questions and find ways to make your healthcare organization more attractive to candidates, you need technology and data. State-of-the-art virtual hiring platforms can help you understand what skills are available in your market, how competitive your reward program is and how best to reach potential candidates.
Additionally, technology, including solutions equipped with artificial intelligence, can take over some of the lower-value, repetitive tasks that take up much of your talent acquisition team’s time. Instead of screening, ranking and scheduling candidates, your talent acquisition team can instead focus on higher-value, more strategic work.
Plus, technology can actually improve the candidate experience. Chatbots are available to respond to candidates’ questions 24/7/365. Plus, automation reduces the time between candidate applications and interviews by up to 79%. And, with recruitment process outsourcing providers, you don’t have to invest in the technology to enjoy its benefits — or take advantage of its most up-to-date features.
Organizations won’t be able to rely on external hiring alone, given the extent of the healthcare talent crisis. Instead, they need to find new ways to engage and develop the talent they have, so everyone in their workforce realizes their full potential. Here again, technology can assist.
For instance, you can anticipate employee supply and demand with strategic workforce planning tools equipped with predictive analytics. This data will enable you to decide whether you should develop internal talent or hire external talent to meet your future skill requirements.
Tools like our Success Profiles, which are data-driven job descriptions, can also help your managers and team members plan career paths. Success Profiles outline the skills, competencies, traits and drivers associated with success in a role, so you can understand how competencies and traits connect with different roles in the organization.
All of this information makes it easier for your talent acquisition team to address the coming healthcare talent crisis. You’ll be able to plan what skills you need for the future, identify gaps in your current workforce and decide how to find the right talent — whether through reskilling, upskilling or sourcing externally.
Retention is a serious problem for healthcare talent — even without the stresses of a global pandemic. With the number of registered nurses projected to reach 3.4 million by 2026, nurses make up the bulk of the healthcare workforce. However, one in four nurses leaves the profession after their first year.
As employees shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials, the expectations and ambitions of nurses are shifting markedly. That means healthcare organizations too must shift in how they recruit and engage future nurses.
While pay and incentives matter, they aren’t everything, and a one-size-fits-all approach for hiring and maintaining employees may not be satisfactory. More healthcare employers are moving towards a differentiated offering, allowing employees to choose the reward package that best meets their needs.
A collection of this data through strategic workforce planning tools can allow you to tap into what will be most meaningful to the next generation of nurses. These tools can also identify skills gaps and potential talent shortages and show nurses and their managers opportunities for development, encouraging nurses to remain with your organization because they’ll know that they have the opportunity to develop themselves and build their career.
As the healthcare talent crisis intensifies, organizations that have adopted technology will find themselves ahead of the curve. They’ll be in a position to secure talent with the skills they need, make their talent processes more efficient and cost-effective and, as a result, deliver an optimal experience for their employees, patients and stakeholders.