Healthcare facilities are facing ongoing challenges as the pandemic continues, including serious staffing shortages and major financial difficulties. Understaffing has long been a problem in the industry, and as COVID-19 cases surge across the country, it has become a necessity for healthcare organizations to design rapid hiring, orientation, and onboarding processes.
Human resources departments in healthcare facilities are tasked with finding solutions for a staffing crisis with growing urgency. A recent HR Exchange Network article outlined the details of the problem and the important role HR teams play in both recruiting new staff and caring for employees at risk of stress and burnout.
Challenges for HR Teams
- Talent gap: According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for nurses are predicted to grow at a faster rate (15%) than all other occupations through 2026. To avoid a further shortage, it projects the need for 11 million additional nurses.
- Low morale and burnout: Healthcare is a high-stress profession, and even without the pandemic, burnout is common among doctors and nurses.
- Financial difficulties: Many healthcare facilities have had to cancel voluntary and non-emergency procedures during the pandemic, which generate essential revenue. This adds a financial burden to facilities already struggling to support increased staff hours, PPE, and equipment.
Alleviating the Strain – During and After COVID-19
Healthcare HR teams may be operating in emergency mode for some time, but it’s important to address current pain points while also looking ahead to future challenges. Here are strategies that HR professionals can put into practice:
- Acknowledge the reality: Uncertainty, fear, stress, fatigue, and other factors are real threats to healthcare workers during the pandemic. HR teams can look for tangible ways to empathize with these experiences and provide resources to address them, including providing mental health support, time off, and clear communication from leadership.
- Prioritize talent acquisition: Many healthcare organizations have slowed down hiring in recent months, opting instead to reassign current staff to meet their needs. HR teams will have to revisit their hiring goals and ramp up recruitment efforts.
- Embrace technology: Technology that has helped HR teams optimize recruiting, hiring, orientation, and onboarding will help improve efficiency long after the pandemic. Facilities can take advantage of new tech-driven techniques – such as completing some onboarding steps in tandem with the interviewing and hiring process, or offering a virtual orientation – to streamline the experience for new hires.
Healthcare facilities are under a tremendous amount of pressure right now and as we work with our centers to plan for the future, it is clear that the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for many months to come. HR teams will be crucial in helping their organizations prevail despite the challenges. Let us support your team in this critical time and help prepare your surgery center for 2021.
Learn more about MedHQ’s HR services for healthcare organizations.