Hospitals and health systems across the U.S. have been scrambling to keep up with pandemic-fueled labor shortages. To bridge staffing gaps, organizations must revamp their recruitment strategy and place a renewed focus on the needs of today’s workforce. Initiatives should encompass everything from increasing speed and agility within the recruitment process to strengthening internal culture to decrease turnover. To take a deeper dive, here’s a look at ways to improve staffing and retention goals for your healthcare facility. 

Expand Compensation and Incentives

As the adage goes, money talks. But, perks and benefits can speak just as loudly. Offering sweeteners like comped lunch twice a week, daycare coverage, gym memberships, and similar benefits can make your opportunity more enticing to potential candidates. 

Harness Flexibility

From increased responsibilities and complex caseloads to long hours and mounting administrative burdens, burnout is one of the major contributing factors to staffing shortages. According to the National Healthcare Database, burnout increased 26% in the last year across the 480 healthcare systems surveyed, with 2 in 5 employees suffering from high levels of burnout. The impacts of burnout have only been exacerbated since the onset of the pandemic, driving healthcare workers to seek opportunities that prioritize employee wellness and flexible scheduling. 

Speaking with Fierce Healthcare, president and CEO of Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), Halee Fischer-Wright, M.D., M.M.M., FAAP, FACMPE says, “Practices also need to optimize their practice to make employees happy.” Part of that equation lies in alleviating repetitive tasks, which are often time-consuming and add to stress levels. “We recommend that physicians take a look at practice operations and weed out what is necessary versus what is habit. A good solution is cross-training staff, so different people can take turns doing tasks with less chance of burnout. It is also a good idea to increase communication among the staff, so you can learn of concerns early.”

So healthcare leaders should aim to mitigate the long-term repercussions of an overworked, understaffed facility – like poor community health outcomes, high turnover, and decreased profit margins. Having an agile and flexible staffing strategy in place that proactively plans for things like unexpected coverage gaps and succession planning will play an integral role in optimizing care delivery and increasing retention. 

Collect Data & Make Adjustments

To truly understand the employee experience, healthcare organizations need to continually collect and evaluate data. From onboarding and exit surveys to regular feedback and communication, gaining insight from current staff is an effective way to understand what can be approved upon, why employees choose to stay, what attracts new talent to the organization and so on. 

By listening to employees, healthcare organizations have an opportunity to build a thriving and engaged internal culture, better understand their value proposition and strengthen their employer branding. Regularly evaluating employee sentiment, along with key business metrics, can also help facilities drive better business outcomes by understanding where improvements need to be made. 

The Bottom Line

Grappling with labor-related challenges in the wake of Covid-19 will require healthcare organizations to reevaluate everything from the technology they use to their staffing strategy. Moving forward, facilities will need to remain nimble. In doing so, it’ll ensure you’re prepared for any uncertainties thrown your way. 

Here at Polaris, we’re helping hospitals and healthcare organizations drive revenue and improve patient outcomes through flexible, effective healthcare staffing solutions. In a time when healthcare workers are needed now more than ever, our team of recruitment experts can help your facility implement an innovative recruitment strategy. To learn more, contact the Polaris team today.