5 Ideas for Healthcare Employee Development

Marketing Director

The national unemployment rate is holding steady at 5 percent as of December 2015, which means the job market is now candidate-driven. Staffing professionals know that filling positions in healthcare is even more challenging than in other industries when the applicant pool is tight. In fact, the current unemployment rate for healthcare workers is only 3.2 percent. In order to compete, healthcare organizations must focus on talent branding to retain current talent and ensure they are considered an employer of choice.

The Importance of Talent Branding

Talent branding is an employer's reputation among current and prospective employees. Highly skilled candidates are far more likely to consider offers from organizations with a strong talent brand. Healthcare HR professionals are ideally positioned to grow their companies' talent brands, as the company culture and staff member experience are the primary factors that drive healthcare employees' opinions of their employers.

Promoting a Positive Brand with Strong Development Programming

Offering a robust array of development opportunities has proven highly successful in retaining current employees and promoting a strong talent brand. In one study, development opportunities were named as the number one driver of employee engagement for workers under the age of 25 and number two for workers between 25 and 30. Companies with quality development programming report engagement levels 30-50 percent higher than their industry peers.

Creating a culture that puts staff development first requires a multifaceted approach that permeates all levels of the organization. These five tips offer a framework for creating development opportunities company-wide:

Analyze Current Skills Gaps

Understanding current and future development needs starts with understanding where the organization stands today. After conducting a thorough review of knowledge, skills and abilities required for each position in the enterprise, survey employees to determine their present level of skill. An analysis of the gap between the two sets of skills gives a baseline for creating development opportunities.

Make the Most of Current Assets

A formal mentoring program that pairs experienced staff members with those two or three levels of responsibility down creates development opportunities for both mentors and mentees at limited cost to the organization. Mentors add training to their own set of competencies, and they enjoy increased job satisfaction as they share their experience with others. Mentees have the benefits that come with one-on-one coaching from a senior staff member they might not otherwise have face time with.

Take Mandatory Training to the Next Level

Industry-leading healthcare organizations don't limit formal training to the specific courses mandated by regulatory agencies. They design curriculum that offers hands-on exploration and deep understanding of topics. As a result, workers form stronger relationships with the class content, increasing their satisfaction with the training experience and adding to their ability to effectively apply the information.

Create Detailed Career Paths

Offer staff members clear, step-by-step career mapping that shows how they can get from their current state to the next level. Then, offer the specific development opportunities necessary for employees to move their careers forward. For example, leadership development should start early in employees' careers so that they are invested in their current positions with the understanding that their today's efforts have a direct effect on future employment prospects.

Make the Most of Outside Resources

It isn't possible for one company to offer every training class requested by every worker, but that doesn't mean such targeted training is out of reach and those employees must go elsewhere. Explore alternative ways to gain personalized programming through online resources, partnerships with education institutions, and independent skill-based training programs held across the country.

Retaining and growing a highly skilled workforce requires careful planning, and smart healthcare organizations are focusing on employee development. Creating a robust development program increases employee engagement, resulting in lower turnover, and it enhances companies' talent branding, making them employers of choice among potential candidates.

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