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Four factors defining workforce realities in healthcare

There are dozens of articles, reports and surveys about the workforce challenges facing the healthcare sector. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of information, but the realities of today’s healthcare workforce can be summed up by four key facts:

  • Turnover rates are up;
  • Skills shortages are hitting hard;
  • Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, and
  • Millennials are changing jobs more often than any previous generation.

And those facts aren’t going to change anytime soon. The question is, how do healthcare leaders adjust their workforce plan to fit this new reality?

Here are five strategies that can be part of the solution.

The first, and essentially the foundation of a solid workforce strategy, are fair and equitable compensation programs and policies. Start with a compensation philosophy that provides a framework for pay decisions based on market factors, and supports overall goals of the organization.

Second, adopt a philosophy of transparency and communication about compensation so employees know what to expect and feel more engaged on the job. The simple act of updating job descriptions can create an opportunity for productive communications between supervisors and employees.

If employees don’t know when their next increase might be or what they need to do to grow in their position, that’s an easier job to walk away from. It’s harder to leave a position where employees know what to expect if they produce or perform at a certain level.

Third, tackle skills shortages by assisting current employees to advance in their careers.  Offer mentoring programs, career ladders and tuition assistance for those wanting to acquire additional skills.   Be certain your organization does not take for granted employees with highly sought-after skills. Recognition programs and retention bonuses can help keep them from taking their skills elsewhere.

Fourth, don’t assume all Baby Boomers want to fully retire. A recent AARP study found that 37 percent plan to work in retirement. Strategies for retaining these experienced staff can include part-time work schedules or new roles as coaches and mentors.

Finally, create a workplace culture to engage and retain Millennials. They are the largest generation in the workforce and the least engaged, according to a Gallup poll. They estimated that Millennial turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 annually. That dollar amount seems believable when you consider LinkedIn research findings that Millennials average four jobs within their first 10 years out of college.

Supervisors are sometimes put off by studies showing Millennials want to be their own bosses, work flexible schedules and prefer coaches over bosses. But Millennials also want to make the world a better place, appreciate having an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas and value a culture of collaboration. Some simple measures to help engage this generation include employer-sponsored volunteer opportunities with local charities, team competitions for volunteering or giving, open forums for sharing input and offering opportunities for self- or peer evaluations.

To find out more about surveys and services that can help guide your workforce strategic plan, contact us at 800.300.9570 or go to compdataconsulting.com.

About Compdata Surveys & Consulting

Compdata Surveys & Consulting is a national compensation and benefits survey and consulting firm.  They maintain the largest database in the country on current healthcare compensation with more than 14,000 healthcare participants annually.  Compdata Edge collects data continually throughout the year so clients stay competitive in today’s ever changing market.  When you add Compdata as a strategic partner in your Total Rewards planning, you gain affordable resources and trusted advisors.