- The Great Resignation has had a huge impact on the healthcare system, exacerbating an already significant talent shortage.
- Attracting and retaining talent will require a multi-pronged approach that includes compensation, adjustments for work-life balance, and the use of all available resources.
- A well-designed cloud-based communications solution can help you attract and retain top healthcare talent.
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The global pandemic has had a tremendous impact on employers. Perhaps no industry was harder hit by the “Great Resignation,” the label attached to the mass departure of workers during COVID, than the healthcare sector.
The burden to the healthcare system caused by the pandemic, including the demands for testing and emergency care, has been steep. To find solid ground as conditions stabilize, providers need to proactively implement strategies to sustain their existing workforce and attract new talent.
Six ways to survive the Great Resignation
The following are six ways your health organization can survive the Great Resignation.
1. Compensate well
There is no doubt it is a “worker’s market” in healthcare. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated that the quit rate in healthcare and social assistance ranged from 2.5 to 2.9 percent each month from August through December 2021. These percentages equated to 500,000 to 600,000 health employees leaving their jobs each of those months.
Many of those workers leaving healthcare are moving into other industries due to burnout, personal life challenges, and related factors. To attract and retain talent, you have to compensate well. In addition to industry-standard (or above) salaries, employees want a full range of benefits that allow them to take care of their own health and wellness needs.
Hiring new workers is much more expensive than retaining the talent you have. Thus, if you haven’t already done so, take time to review your compensation structure. Review the pay and benefits you provide relative to what employees could make in similar jobs in your geographic region. If your workers are underpaid, don’t wait for them to ask for a raise. Often, they leave instead. Invest a bit more to keep your talented people happy and save on the costs of new hires.
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2. Develop or maintain a culture of collaboration
Healthcare employees also want to feel they have a voice at work. The demands of the pandemic caused many to work long hours, while also facing vaccine mandates, mask mandates, and other protocols that leave people feeling like they have little control over their lives as employees.
When possible, include employees in conversations about work schedules, office protocols, restrictions, requirements, and other things that impact their daily work lives.
3. Prioritize work-life balance
Burnout is a major contributor to high turnover rates. The demands on healthcare workers currently create a perfect recipe for it to occur. A poor work-life balance plays a role in the onset of burnout.
To keep your current people engaged and to attract new talent, encourage work-life balance. Avoid the temptation to push people too hard. It may seem necessary during peak healthcare demands, but you are in worse shape when people leave and you have to invest time and resources to replace them.
Try to help your people develop a clear delineation between job-life and home-life. Doing so helps you get each employee’s best effort on the job and improves their ability to sustain high-level performance in critical job roles.
4. Eliminate unnecessary workplace restrictions
The logic and practicality behind workplace standards and policies can change over time. In some organizations, the lack of regular review of policies leads to holding on to outdated policies that do not reflect the current work environment for your healthcare team.
If you have policies that don’t contribute to the optimization of your workflows and your team, consider removing them. Simplify the number of responsibilities for people and allow for the greatest level of comfort possible. Workers who feel relaxed in their work environment tend to spend less time thinking about being somewhere else.
As an example, some health facilities scaled back or eliminated dress codes during the pandemic. Dressing comfortably helps employees work long hours and face stressful workloads successfully. Some providers are making these changes permanent.
5. Streamline communications and processes
A different approach to dealing with the labor supply shortage is to reduce your dependency on manual labor. Integrate advanced technology solutions to automate processes and tasks to the extent possible and support optimum worker efficiency.
Automation reduces reliance on paper-based documentation and filing, which takes a lot of time. In addition to relying more on technology, eliminate wasteful tasks and redundancies. Do an audit of the typical tasks required for each position. You will likely find some tasks unnecessary for successful operation.
Communication is one area that has been boosted by technological advances. In particular, cross-platform communications solutions allow your workers to communicate better internally and externally. People in support roles can seamlessly shift interactions from one platform, such as chat, social media, or telephone, to another. Interactions are stored for easy access regardless of the communication channel.
6. Look for government support
The American Rescue Plan included $10 billion for states to invest in critical work, education, and healthcare. Most states have applied for funding and identified projects for investment.
Research the projects in which your state is investing to see whether you have access to funds that would support your technological upgrades or your efforts to hire and train workers. Some local governments, particularly in metropolitan areas, also applied for and received COVID relief funding.
The Build Back Better bill, currently under consideration by the Senate, includes $1 billion in direct care workforce grants and $20 million for hospice and palliative nursing programs. If passed, it provides additional pathways for providers to potentially access worker support funds.
Meet the talent challenge with RingCentral
It is a very challenging time for healthcare employers. High quit rates and a shortage of qualified workers put great importance on your ability to keep and attract talented people.
Proactively applying several of the strategies here can give your organization an advantage over others that take a more reactive stance. Make streamlining communications with RingCentral’s cloud-based platform a priority, and see for yourself how cloud communications can transform your healthcare organization.
Originally published Mar 08, 2022