Since the healthcare industry is crucial to saving the lives of many, there’s always an element of pressure that comes with the territory. This is especially apparent in the HR department of any healthcare provider.
From employee burnout to high turnover rates, there’s no shortage of challenges facing healthcare HR departments up and down the country. The good news is that there are ways to solve them.
Read on to discover the six biggest human resources challenges in healthcare departments and what to do about them:
1. Staffing Shortages
Given the huge medical advancements and new technologies on the horizon, coupled with an aging population, the healthcare industry will need more and more workers over the upcoming decades.
In fact, when nurse retirements and workforce exits are factored in, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 175,900 openings for RNs each year through 2029. The burden of filling these shortages will fall on HR departments to solve.
The best way to combat staff shortages is to make your workplace an appealing place not only to start a career but also to enjoy long-term professional development.
Millennials and Gen Z will soon occupy the majority of the workforce, and these generations tend to place priority on personal growth opportunities and competitive compensation.
New employees want to understand not just the day-to-day tasks involved in their role but the long-term opportunities that come with it.
Go beyond offering basic training and instead, offer advancement opportunities to help healthcare workers excel at their positions.
Many younger generations appreciate flexibility, so offering employees to sign up for training courses in their area of expertise or beyond not only helps to engage employees but ensures that there’s a broad range of knowledge in the workplace.
When it comes to incentives, employee perks and socials can help employees feel valued and encourage team-building.
But when it comes to showing employees their worth, there are a few ways more effective than remuneration.
With Voilà!, you can add a variety of premium types to staff who work additional or overtime shifts to adequately compensate them for their dedication and make them feel valued.
Image of Voilà!’s shift premium feature
2. Employee Burnout
Employee burnout is a type of job-related stress involving physical or emotional exhaustion with a sense of reduced accomplishment.
Burnout has been on the rise in recent years due to many factors, including staffing shortages, the Covid-19 pandemic, and lack of engagement.
A recent study revealed that burnout rates are as high as 70% in the nursing profession – and the consequences don’t stop at stress.
Employee burnout can increase absenteeism, reduce productivity, and lead to more mistakes and a high staff turnover – all of which negatively impact your bottom line and, ultimately, your employees’ mental health.
To reduce the chances of burnout occurring in your workplace, encourage a healthy work/life balance among employees.
One of the easiest ways to help employees get the balance right is with flexible schedules.
If your company is unable to compete with other employers on pay, offering flexible schedules goes a long way to attracting and retaining talent. Voilà! offers smart scheduling features, which empower employees to take control of their own scheduling.
Smart scheduling allows employees to choose the shifts that work best for them. Plus it saves you the time typically spent on manually creating rotas and asking each team member for their preferences, so it’s a win-win.
As well as flexible scheduling, regularly checking in with employees is a great way to spot the early signs of burnout and prevent it from occurring. If an employee displays signs of feeling overwhelmed or fatigued, organize a well-being session to discuss ways to lighten their workload.
The better you look after your workforce’s wellbeing, the better attendance and turnover rate you’ll experience, ultimately improving your bottom line.
3. High Turnover Rates
A high turnover rate is one of the biggest human resources challenges in the healthcare setting.
Because of the unique challenges facing workers in the healthcare industry, this sector experiences one of the highest turnover rates, with hospitals losing almost 15 in every 100 nurses per year.
The primary reasons contributing to this high turnover rate are stress thanks to higher patient loads (as a result of staff shortages) and lack of appreciation from senior management. As the popular saying goes, people leave managers, not companies.
As an HR department, it’s in your interest to retain employees. Retaining employees not only saves money on recruitment and training but also avoids indirect opportunity costs caused by more experienced staff members leaving. The cost of replacing just one registered nurse ranges from $22,000 to $64,000, so if multiple nurses leave your company every year, the cost quickly mounts up.
Luckily, the way to retain more staff doesn’t have to be expensive.
While bonuses and pay rises are effective at making staff feel valued, there are other ways to keep staff engaged, even on a low budget.
Ways to successfully engage and reward staff include Employee of the Month programs, flexible schedules, increased holidays with every year of service, and performance rewards to recognize employees that go above and beyond.
Peer-recognition schemes are also effective since they allow employees to nominate a colleague for some form of reward or recognition for hard work that senior management may not be privy to.
Tackling employee burnout can significantly reduce your turnover rate since employees who experience less stress are more likely to stay at a company.
4. Finding Last-Minute Replacements
24/7 staffing needs coupled with staffing shortages can make finding a last-minute shift replacement a nightmare.
Scheduling changes in healthcare can be unpredictable, and only skilled, qualified professionals can carry out many of the roles required, making it more difficult to find a short-notice stand-in for staff sickness.
The solution lies in automation.
Instead of spending hours on the telephone calling every possible replacement, a workforce management platform like Voilà! saves you valuable time and effort by finding a replacement for you in real time.
The smart shift replacement technology doesn’t rely on guesswork.
Image of the custom rule feature on the Voilà! platform
This includes team, position, location and seniority.
Not only does the platform save you valuable time, but it also prevents a small portion of workers from taking all the shifts, leading you to pay out excessive overtime and possible employee burnout.
5. Attracting Top Talent
While retaining employees is essential, you need to be able to attract that talent in the first place.
Plus, the better suited a new staff member is to your company, the more likely they are to remain in post for a long time.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2.4 million new healthcare positions are projected to be added in 2026, so acquiring top talent is only going to become more valuable for future-proofing your company.
The best way to attract top talent is to invest in the right technology.
The pandemic encouraged a wave of new technologies, including telemedicine and remote monitoring, which have become innovative ways for healthcare providers to engage with their patients.
Remote methods of caring for patients save time, increase flexibility, and allow employees to focus on providing optimal patient care in a way that’s more convenient for doctors and patients.
As the world moves digital, younger generations of medical practitioners are keen to implement these new technologies into their practice and will seek out companies with tech-savvy policies.
In a survey of millennial physicians, 79 percent said they preferred using electronic medical records for charting documentation, so being a tech-friendly workplace is a must to attract top talent from Gen Z and millennials.
Using a workforce management platform like Voilà! allows medical professionals to build their own schedules, swap shifts, and message one another all from their smartphones, so it’s a great way to adapt your workplace to the preferences of the next generation.
6. Keeping the Company Connected
The barriers to staying connected in the healthcare industry are like no other.
Hospitals are open 24/7, with employees working around the clock at different times, making communication feel sometimes impossible.
Poor communication can negatively impact not only staff satisfaction but the quality of service you provide to patients. In hospitals, situations can quickly escalate, and staff require a way to communicate significant updates quickly and easily, whether to their entire team or another member of staff.
The best way to allow staff to communicate quickly and easily is through a centralized communication platform. Instead of juggling multiple ways of communicating with each employee, streamline it with the use of Voilà!
Its built-in communication platform keeps employees connected under one (virtual) roof. Employees and managers can send direct messages, and employees can communicate via group chat, updating each other on last-minute scheduling changes or asking for emergency support when needed.
Not only will using one centralized platform helps everyone feel engaged, but it will also save you and your team valuable time.
Say goodbye to chasing staff members through the corridors to give them last-minute updates face-to-face. Instead, let Voilà! do the work of streamlining company-wide communication.
The Bottom Line
Any HR manager in the healthcare industry will know that working in this uniquely dynamic sector throws up a whole host of challenges.
From reducing the turnover rate to avoiding employee burnout, there’s no shortage of pressures on an HR team in the healthcare industry.
Luckily, there are easy ways to solve these challenges for a happy, productive workforce and a healthy bottom line.
Many of the problems thrown up by managing a workforce in the healthcare industry can be solved using technology.
Whether it’s scheduling shifts using smart scheduling software or allowing employees to keep in touch with the use of a centralized messaging platform, adopting a tech-savvy approach to staff recruitment and retention is invaluable.
Increased employee engagement through the use of flexible scheduling, better communication, and the ability to give premiums will reduce the amount of human resources challenges in the healthcare setting.
Voilà! can reduce your manual workload and help you and your staff focus on what matters most.