There is a significant shortage of skilled workers nationwide across all industries. In healthcare, this skills gap has a widespread impact as it decreases the quality of patient care and increases costs. The lack of skilled laborers available to be recruited by hospitals has also been further affected by staffing shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2016-6948-Tech-Taking-Call-in-Cafeteria.jpgChanging the perception of trade schools.
With high schools putting more emphasis on four-year college and less on vocational trade programs for students, fewer high-school graduates are choosing to pursue vocational careers. Often students are not aware of all the post-graduate options available to them, causing many to apply to traditional four-year colleges without considering trade opportunities and their potential. It’s crucial to break the stigma that trade experience isn’t as valuable as a college degree. Trade careers are highly valued and often have salaries equal to or exceeding those requiring a college education and are equally important to society. Careers such as electricians, maintenance mechanics, power plant operators and more are vital to the infrastructure of many industries, including hospitals and healthcare facilities globally.
Without the training programs in place to teach these skill sets, these trade skills are on a dramatic decline. This presents a huge challenge for the healthcare industry, as these skills are desperately needed by healthcare facilities to operate. In order to close this skills gap and address the current labor crisis, healthcare facilities must take a new approach and develop training programs of their own.
Attracting talent for vocational careers.
Hospitals can get creative when recruiting candidates in these fields by partnering with local trade schools and accreditation agencies. Connecting with students right out of high school, and educating them on vocational opportunities, can be a successful strategy to building a long-term pipeline of talent. Healthcare recruiters reach potential candidates for these positions in many ways, including launching targeted social media campaigns. One strategy that has been successful at Medxcel is creating an engaging referral program to encourage current leaders and associates to introduce new talent by offering a financial incentive. It’s also imperative to communicate with current associates on their career goals and provide them with the training necessary to grow in their profession.
While salary is important, Medxcel VP of HR Patricia Sirmon has seen that candidates for these positions ask just as much about other benefits such as paid time off (PTO), organization growth and company culture. It’s important to offer opportunities for training growth and flexibility in order to retain talent. Targeting these needs by developing internal training programs with leaders within your organization allows new associates to be trained and engaged within their team. Providing associates with a clear pathway for growth encourages associates to remain where they’re being engaged instead of seeking to grow elsewhere.
The labor gap will eventually lead to facilities not being able to be effectively operated and maintained, making it crucial that healthcare organizations prioritize addressing this issue. Many of these roles are required by municipalities and safety organizations, which makes them critical in maintaining a safe environment for patients and visitors.
Planning for the future of healthcare roles.
Succession planning is the process of identifying knowledge, skills and abilities of current leaders and creating a development plan for preparing multiple people to be able to potentially perform those functions. It involves looking at the future needs of an organization and ensuring that staff are set up for success. Succession
planning typically takes 12 to 36 months. Any organization can benefit from the principles of succession planning by identifying crucial job skills and passing them on to prepare for the next generation of workers. This is especially useful in vocational fields, as it can be a more complex process to transfer the required knowledge.
Learn more about closing the skills gap in this episode of Medxcel’s podcast Outside the Patient’s Door at outsidethepatientsdoor.com, or find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more. National VP of Operations Matt Keahey and VP of HR Patricia Sirmon go in-depth on how they collaborate at Medxcel to develop and engage skilled healthcare associates.
Interested in learning more about Medxcel’s services? Contact us at info@medxcel.com or 855-633-9235 to see what we can do for you!