The gap in the skills trade industry continues to widen as baby boomers age out of the workforce and future generations take their place. With staffing shortages on the horizon, what can healthcare facilities do to retain their staff?

hospital-bedempty-hall-(1).jpgTimes are changing. The Pew Research Center states that millennials are currently the largest generation in the U.S. labor force. While they may be the biggest, they certainly aren’t the most eager to stay at their current jobs. In fact, a poll from Gallup found that 21 percent of millennials say they’ve changed jobs within the past year – more than three times more than other generations.

As millennials continue to swell in the workforce, baby boomers are reaching the age of retirement at an alarming rate. Combined with a tight labor market in the healthcare industry (first-year turnover in the hospital sector is at 28.3 percent – higher than any other industry in the U.S.) it unfortunately remains that healthcare facilities are noticing a significant and steady decline in their staff.

With so many external factors, it’s no wonder that organizations are at a loss of how to retain their current employees. Here are three key insights for combatting healthcare staffing shortages at your facility.

1. Engage your employees

According to Gallup, only 22 percent of employees are engaged and thriving. This disengaged workforce shouldn’t be taken lightly. As we’ve previously covered on the importance of engagement, engaging your employees is one of the first steps to achieving a more sustainable, stronger workforce.

Now, adding an office happy hour or a ping pong table in the break room – while fun – doesn’t necessarily qualify as employee engagement. Rather, allow your employees to have a say in departmental decisions and routines, as well as their own path in the organization. Provide your associates with clear expectations, defined goals and areas to develop as a leader. By investing in their personal growth and giving value to their input, employees will find a greater sense of purpose in their work and thus are pushed to remain engaged in their role.

2. Provide opportunities for career advancement

We know that millennials are likely to switch  jobs throughout their career. The question remains, however: Are individuals causing this exodus, or are companies not providing enough compelling reasons to stay? If an employee expects their path at a company to be stagnant, they won’t want to remain in their role. Instead, they will look for advancement somewhere else. To combat this, healthcare organizations should establish a clear career pathway and opportunities for employee development to gain additional knowledge or certifications throughout their career.

At Medxcel, our continued growth and organizational structure offer associates job stability as well as opportunities for career development and advancement. The more you can give employees room to grow and learn in their career, the more likely they’ll want to remain at their current facility.

3. Improve your current hiring practices

Stuck in your same hiring routine and not seeing any reduction in turnover? Your current hiring practices may need some polishing. In addition to asking “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” draft questions that focus on your organization’s values and mission statement. At Medxcel, our core values permeate all we do and every interaction with our clients. It’s a no-brainer that we’d want our new employees to embody those values, too.

Keep in mind that additional screening and behavioral assessments are also necessary to select the right candidate for the job. While the allure of saving time and money might compel your company to short-cut the hiring process, these testing efforts will allow you to see if your candidates’ values, motivations and skills align with how your company operates. This will provide your organization with a solid applicant to whom you can confidently send that offer letter.

The Ultimate ROI

Long story short, by addressing the staffing shortage head on, implementing hiring best practices and investing in employees, you are ultimately setting your healthcare organization up for the ultimate ROI that will be well worth the investment.  Not only will you empower employees with pride-of-ownership, you will also see long-term savings by reducing high-margin contracts. You can learn more about this topic in our whitepaper FTEs of the Future: Aligning Needs & Skills for Profitable Healthcare Facilities.