Top 3 Initiatives for Healthcare HR in 2018

Marketing Director

The challenges in healthcare HR are clear: an ongoing talent crunch, shifting regulations and reimbursement models, and ongoing mergers and acquisitions. To meet these challenges, HR leaders must focus on their core strengths and roles to implement talent strategies that support the bottom line.

As the department that communicates the mission in a healthcare organization, HR is in a prime place to take the lead in new initiatives. “In healthcare we have an advantage over other industries because it's a mission that people can get excited about and invested in,” says Steve Garguilo, a Partner at Cultivate, which helps organizations change their cultures. “Helping people live longer, healthier and happier lives is an inspiring vision to be rooted in.”

These three initiatives are among the biggest priorities for healthcare HR in 2018.

Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

Recruiting, engaging and holding on to employees will be a major concern for HR leaders in the coming year. According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit, more than 90 percent of healthcare organizations say they expect to face a shortage of clinicians in the next 10 years, and that this will affect their ability to provide high-quality care. “Attracting top talent in today’s healthcare staffing shortage can be difficult,” says Shari Dalton, Founder of Moxie Mentoring, which provides healthcare recruiter training. As a result, HR will need to use digital tools to engage employees and to articulate unique value propositions to attract employees.

Making recognition an important part of culture can help build engagement and motivation, says Sarah McVanel, Chief Recognition Officer at Greatness Magnified, a consulting firm that works with healthcare organizations. “Recognition boosts trust in the organization, engagement, continuous improvement, satisfaction with management and intention to stay,” all of which help support safe patient care, McVanel says. Verbal or written thank-yous with personalized and specific words of acknowledgment cost little or nothing to produce, but are highly valued, she says.

Embracing HR Technology

Digital tools can help healthcare HR address challenges more nimbly while helping healthcare HR leaders be more efficient, but only if HR departments find the right solutions and use them, experts say. Advances in technology can solve a wide variety of HR challenges, such as communicating with a diverse workforce that isn’t tied to desks, communicating a consistent message and making work-related information such as payroll and benefits details more accessible to employees, says Jeff Corbin, CEO of APPrise Mobile, an employee communications system.

HR departments can also take advantage of artificial intelligence abilities in recruiting and assessment tools, while demand forecasting can help predict needed staffing levels. Using HR technology can free up HR’s time and resources to work on more strategic issues.

Training and Developing Employees

Employees are looking for more than a job — they’re looking for opportunities to gain skills that will help them further their careers. Healthcare professionals are looking for recruiters who are invested in their long-term goals, both personally and professionally, Dalton says. And while pay is always a top consideration, healthcare professionals want the opportunity to provide care to patients in a way that supports best practices, she says.

Robust training and development programs that have clear lines of sight to new opportunities within the organization will help improve the level of care, ensure the organization has people with needed skills and help retain top performers.

The coming years will be a time of change for healthcare organizations, and healthcare HR leaders will be on the forefront. Implementing new initiatives now will help prepare organizations to meet those challenges.

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