It’s neither easy nor inexpensive for hospitals and health systems to maintain staffing as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and enter into a “new normal.” Severe nursing shortages are making headlines across the country – from California to Massachusetts, and most areas in between. With the system so severely strained, the focus turns to health systems recruiting strategies that will help relieve the pressure on administrators, physicians, and staffers who have been pushed to the limit for the past two years.
Addressing the Shortage
The New York Times recently reported on the huge pay incentives and immigration fast tracks that are luring many foreign healthcare workers to the U.S. and other high-income countries to take jobs in hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes, and community clinics. Securing foreign workers has always been one pillar in a successful health systems recruiting strategy, but these days it doesn’t seem to be enough as the workers in the queue cannot be processed quickly enough. “There are an estimated 10,000 foreign nurses with U.S. job offers on waiting lists for interviews at American embassies around the world for the required visas,” the Times reports.
One method for addressing the healthcare staffing shortfall is by leveraging technology. As was reported in Becker’s Hospital Review, “Baptist Health schedulers now complete their entire surgical scheduling process on one platform. This platform provides accurate, up-to-date information on the case backlog, which has been critical as COVID-19 surges required OR rescheduling. This standardized approach streamlined processes and facilitated OR staff flexibility.” Health systems recruiting can be greatly enhanced through the innovative use of new technologies that have been refined during the pandemic.
There are also tremendous cost savings involved through the effective use of new scheduling and workflow technologies. “Baptist’s results show the value of leveraging technology to improve workflows and optimize staff. Primetime OR utilization improved nearly 40 percent since adopting the iQueue tool in fiscal year 2019. Gains continued during the pandemic, with a 6-percentage point increase in PTU from the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 to the first quarter of fiscal year 2022,” according to the publication.
Health systems recruiting can be further enhanced by effective government efforts. For instance, the Biden Administration announced plans in May 2021 to invest more than $7 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and train public health workers. While the public sector is just one piece of the nation’s health care system, it is a significant piece, and health systems recruiting will benefit as more and more workers are trained and enter the job market.
The Importance of Workplace Culture
Companies that specialize in health systems recruiting do their due diligence to obtain a deep and thorough understanding of their client partners’ needs and the culture in which they operate. Organizations with low turnover are often those with the healthiest cultures, and in turn, those with high turnover are often plagued with unhealthy cultures that contribute to the decision by good people to walk away. All of us in the health systems recruiting business realize that COVID-19 has just added to the strain of a healthcare system fighting hard to keep up. As Janet Shlaes, Ph.D., MBA, MA, writes in Psychology Today, “A recent study by the American Medical Association highlighted that the impact of ‘The Great Resignation’ will continue to significantly impact the healthcare field, led by frustration with working conditions, increased demands, job dissatisfaction, lifestyle unsustainability, inadequate compensation, a perceived lack of respect, and increased opportunities outside of the healthcare field… Healthcare leaders need to foster an organizational culture that values both people and finances, a culture based on thriving rather than surviving.”
Health systems recruiting specialists must work with their client partners to glean an accurate and unbiased understanding of their workplace culture and ensure they have the skills and capacity to change it if necessary. Transforming a dysfunctional workplace culture is a tall task, but it’s importance cannot be overstated. In a recent article in MIT Slone Management Review, four researchers make the argument that, “Companies cannot realize the true potential of digital transformation, embrace new business models, or implement new ways of working without supporting changes in organizational behaviors and norms. A recent study by Boston Consulting Group found that companies that focused on culture were five times more likely to achieve breakthrough results in their digital transformation initiatives than those that didn’t.” This is particularly important in the healthcare field right now as it becomes more and more digitally focused.
Answering the Call for Health Systems Recruiting
The challenges that make health systems recruiting so interesting and complex can be overcome with thoughtful, deliberate, and nimble planning and execution. Slone Partners is attuned to the challenges and prepared to help healthcare and other life sciences companies recruit and secure the talented leaders they need to succeed. Our health systems recruiting specialists at Slone Partners are busier than ever working with our client partners who have a pent-up demand for securing talented and visionary C-suite leaders.
We work closely with our client partners throughout the health systems recruiting process to ensure that top quality candidates are properly sourced, engaged at the right moment, and fully vetted, and we ensure that the process moves swiftly enough to minimize the possibility of top candidates accepting offers from competing firms.
Securing the most talented leaders for your healthcare organization can be daunting, but health systems recruiting specialists like Slone Partners can provide your team with the strategies, guidance, and support needed to ensure a smooth and successful executive leadership search.