Our thinking: Long-term talent strategies for healthcare organizations 

To retain your healthcare workforce, transform your talent strategy

Healthcare organizations must raise their game, shifting their long-term talent strategies to keep employees and attract new workers.

The shortages, burnout, exhaustion and, more recently, workplace violence healthcare workers have experienced over the past two years is driving the most significant human capital challenges this industry has seen. The furor surrounding the vaccine mandate (put into effect in 26 states at the time of writing), coupled with the threat of attrition wrought by the “Great Resignation,” has only accelerated the need for change.

Healthcare organizations can no longer run their talent strategy the way they did pre-pandemic — if they want to compete, it’s time for them to rethink and modify their approach now. Here’s how they should respond.

Four critical actions for healthcare employers

  1. Make work work for your people.
    Rethink the work clinical and non-clinical people do to increase agility and make work more sustainable, so people want to stay. This means redesigning and transforming the nature of healthcare work — where it gets done, how it gets done and the technology used to support it.
  2. Build in flexibility.
    To retain and attract healthcare workers, offer more flexibility. Money alone will not do it — pay must be competitive, but it’s no longer a differentiator. Stay focused on flexing to meet individual needs. It’s also critically important to understand how employee needs have shifted pre-pandemic versus today.
  3. Prioritize learning and development.
    Speed up skill-building through on-the-job training and certifications, which help you keep hold of critical workers and attract new ones — and keep pace with advancements in technology, automation and patient care. Track skills and deploy talent with this in mind.
  4. Enhance the employee experience.
    Employees expect a simple, frictionless experience when accessing personal data and company policy information but are often frustrated by antiquated and disparate technology platforms. The same goes for their supervisors. Unifying systems on a single platform with a modern user experience takes administrative burdens off workers, allowing them to focus on what matters most: delivering quality care.

Why act now?

Healthcare organizations cannot afford to ignore the call to transform their talent strategy. If they do, they will continue to grapple with turnover, open positions they can’t fill, surging overtime and staffing agency payouts to fix talent shortages that will become increasingly harder to overcome.

And talent shortages, of course, also compromise quality. Overworked people are more likely to make mistakes, leading to much higher costs. When the workforce is stretched too thin, and performance plummets, healthcare organizations inevitably suffer negative consequences such as rising readmissions or sinking patient satisfaction scores.

Overcoming obstacles to transformation

A multitude of obstacles prevents senior leaders from initiating comprehensive change. Transformations of this magnitude require a significant financial investment, time commitment and new resources with modern skills. The business case for adopting new HR technology and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems has been delayed and ignored for too long, too often brushed aside to pursue revenue-generating projects, like building new wings or offering new procedures.

But the pandemic stress test has made healthcare organizations realize their ERP and operating systems need investment — and need it now. “Lifting and shifting” their existing infrastructure simply won’t cut it. To solve the substantial workforce issues they face, healthcare organizations need modern systems that operate efficiently and effectively — and provide essential employee insights to shape a talent strategy that will help secure their future. Modernized systems also offer other crucial protections that can help healthcare organizations and hospitals guard against the increasing threat of ransomware attacks to their core and peripheral systems that threaten providers financially and put patients at risk

If healthcare organizations want to avoid these hazards, drive the business forward and keep critical workers, it’s time for fundamental transformation — a goal within reach, with an approach that focuses on people, processes and technology.

Contact us

Get valuable support for transforming your talent strategy by contacting Mercer today.

Check out our case study to see how we help healthcare organizations like Nebraska Medicine move their back-office infrastructure into the modern era. Get in touch to learn how our technical expertise and HR knowledge can help you unlock Workday’s full potentialmaximize your ERP software and transform your business.

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