3 Ongoing Healthcare HR Challenges to Address in 2022
Human resource leaders in healthcare have already faced countless challenges over the past two years. But many of these challenges remain unsolved and will follow us throughout 2022.
This Healthcare HR Week, we’re addressing some of the hot topics HR professionals in healthcare face. With the number of COVID-19 patients stabilizing — at least for now — healthcare HR professionals must take this opportunity to revisit people processes and address challenges.
Here are some of the ongoing challenges facing human resource management in healthcare this year.
1. Clinical Staffing Remains a Priority
The greatest challenge to healthcare HR continues to be staffing shortages for clinical workers. Since the shortage likely will remain, HR professionals need to identify ways to optimize limited human resources. “Healthcare providers may be the most mission-oriented professionals of all,” says Todd Furniss, CEO at TFIP Group, “but they are also the most reluctant to change for fear that new processes may challenge patient outcomes.”
Healthcare HR professionals must work with clinicians to pioneer new ways of working that optimize the use of human resources on the floor. Evaluate existing processes and identify points where you can implement software to support clinical workers.
Compensation is a complicating factor in the healthcare worker shortage. “Nurses provided to hospitals through agencies may be making two times or more than the employees working on the same patients on the same shift in the same facility,” Furniss says. Healthcare HR professionals must re-evaluate compensation structures to attract and retain more full-time and part-time talent.
2. Burnout Continues Deflating Morale
Many healthcare workers experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from their time working in COVID units. They’ve been immersed in illness and handled countless deaths, often having to quarantine themselves to protect their families. Watching patients suffer through COVID-19, often without family by their side, has taken a significant toll on clinical workers’ mental health.
In fact, healthcare executives believe burnout could be the most disruptive force in healthcare in the coming years, according to AMN’s 2021 Healthcare Trends Report. That’s extremely troubling and something your healthcare HR team must address proactively.
“Create an environment that is easier for them to work at while they work through the PTSD that people have had during COVID-19,” says Judy Gaman, CEO of Executive Medicine of Texas. The American Medical Association offers several resources for creating a healthier environment for your clinical staff. Offer more options for part-time work so that employees can still take the time they need for themselves during the week.
3. Hospitals Need to Improve Employer Branding
To attract new talent with staying power, healthcare systems need to be honest about what it’s like working at your organization. Employer branding is a vital component of an effective recruiting strategy. You need to be able to communicate what working at your organization is truly like. Work with your marketing team to develop content around working at your company and what people love about the jobs you offer.
Don’t try to hide what might be perceived as negative about your brand. Instead, flip the script and highlight what people like the most about working for you. Conduct interviews to learn what keeps your best talent engaged at your company.
“How do we motivate, engage, and interest new hires or potential hires?” Gaman says. You need to attract the right employees who are excited and inspired by your work environment. If you have a fast-paced workplace, for example, highlight employees who thrive in that environment. You want to attract more people like them who enjoy working in a fast-paced setting.
COVID-19 has taken a toll on our healthcare system, and especially its most valuable asset: its people. Take steps to overcome the HR challenges you’re facing in 2022 to put your people first.