Top Healthcare HR Trends for 2017

Marketing Specialist

As healthcare HR leaders look to play a more strategic role in the organizations they serve, they’ll need to embrace new ways of thinking when managing employees. Navigating their organizations through the challenges of increased demand for services due to the Affordable Care Act and a shortage of skilled talent have made talent management a key issue; as the regulatory and policy horizon remains unclear under a new presidential administration, HR leaders must pay attention to trends to ensure they can find and hire the best providers in their fields.

“Talent management is important due to the continuing trend of payers shifting to value-based reimbursement models, which reward positive outcomes and emphasize patient satisfaction,” says Michael Tope, Founder and CEO of CBR, an HR outsourcing firm. “To adapt to this system, medical practices must ensure that they employ highly qualified individuals who are committed to providing patients with the best possible care.”

Here are the key healthcare HR trends you need to pay attention to this year.

Embracing Big Data Business Practices

Using data analytics in healthcare organizations in clinical settings isn’t new; as data-rich environments, healthcare organizations are perfect candidates for using strong analytics tools to find patterns in employee engagement and healthcare outcomes.

Healthcare HR leaders are adopting new big data practices to help them run their operations more like high-performing, for-profit businesses, says Mike Todd of Talent Plus. More organizations will be analyzing data drawn from business metrics such as HCAHPS and patient satisfaction with employee sentiment and engagement to better manage time, money and effort.

Heightened Focus on Retention

The cost of recruiting, hiring and training a new employee can exceed that employee’s annual salary. As healthcare organizations attempt to control costs while meeting growing demands, retaining qualified employees becomes an even more pressing need.

Medical practices must optimize their recruitment processes and focus on minimizing employee turnover, Tope says. Using tech platforms for recruiting and screening can help attract higher quality candidates that are most likely stick around, while perks such as flexible schedules can help healthcare organizations hang on to them.

Greater Emphasis on Development

As organizations move toward value-based care, employees will need new skills to provide the level of care that can help your bottom line. “In our Yelp generation, consumers are guided by scores and rankings to decide on where to invest their healthcare dollars for those they love,” says Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart:HR, an HR consulting firm.

Training doesn’t just retain employees; it helps your employees provide better service, he says. “Development and retention of high-potential employees should be at the top of the list of concern for healthcare institutions large and small,” Price says. “By investing in your staff and training them, you will see better focus on patient care, quality of service and increased demand for your facility.”

Increasing Importance of Well-Rounded Candidates

Healthcare HR has traditionally focused on hiring only for clinical skills; after all, that’s what an organization’s reputation is based on. But along the way, healthcare HR leaders have tended to become insular, says Brent McCombs, Vice President and Managing Director of hrQ, an HR consulting firm. “As such, their exposure to best practices beyond what is happening in healthcare is limited,” he says, and they may be “behind” their counterparts in other industries.

To identify the kinds of soft skills needed in today’s healthcare environment, it’s vital that healthcare HR keep up with new tech options, systems and processes, McCombs says. Develop well-rounded job descriptions that require both clinical and service skills, then look at the latest in recruiting and assessment platforms that can help you find top candidates. “With a greater focus placed on technical and customer-oriented skill sets through the development of position profiles, recruiting, interviewing and hiring, healthcare organizations will be more successful in ensuring they are enhancing their customer focus,” he says.

As the role of healthcare HR continues to evolve, leaders must be willing to be flexible in their approach to managing their departments and organizations. Watching trends in the industry and applying them to their own organizations will help them meet current and emerging challenges.

PreCheck Pulse Report: Healthcare Employment Screening Trends Report