Despite growing demand for talented healthcare workers, the skills gap in the healthcare industry continues to grow. This can result in understaffing and less-than-optimal patient outcomes at many organizations. In response, organizations have begun developing new initiatives to improve their workforce development efforts and combat the lack of skilled healthcare candidates.
With the skills gap showing no signs of narrowing, it’s important for hiring managers to improve their own hiring and retention practices. Here are some helpful strategies for closing the skills gap within your organization.
Consider hiring temporary labor.
It’s not always necessary to invest in full-time employees when staffing needs arise. If an unexcepted vacancy occurs or a job needs to be filled for just a short period of time, consider using a staffing agency to secure temporary workers. Hiring temp workers to fill voids can alleviate the cost of hiring full-time employees.
Additionally, staffing agencies and recruiting partners are skilled at identifying qualified candidates who can quickly and efficiently fill your hiring needs. This process can help make sure you’ll be sent candidates who have the experience, skills, and education necessary to deliver great patient care.
By investing in a staffing partner relationship, you can streamline your hiring process so you have a fluid pipeline of candidates available when your organization has jobs to fill at the last minute.
Develop employee referral programs.
When organizations struggle to find quality candidates, they often forget to look right in their own backyard. Remember, your current employees are your greatest referral source and can provide the best leads.
According to recruiting platform iCIMS, the majority of employers find that referred candidates outperform candidates recruited by other means. Further, iCIMS found that referred employees tend to be more satisfied in their roles and stay longer. When implemented effectively, an employee referral program can yield the best hires regardless of current workforce development challenges.
By leveraging the networks and connections of your current employees, you can increase your odds of attracting talent similar to your existing workforce — without wasting enormous amounts of time and money to find qualified candidates.
A robust employee referral program can also reap many rewards for your company culture, allowing your employees to feel valued and appreciated for their efforts to bring new talent to the organization.
Revamp on-the-job training and development.
Regardless of how great your new hires may be, they won’t be able to perform to their greatest potential without the proper guidance, tools, and mentoring. Every healthcare organization must revisit their training and development programming to make sure their new and current employees are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to fulfill the demands of their jobs.
In fact, according to Careerbuilder.com, 21 percent of employers say gaps in on-the-job training are a reason they can’t find qualified candidates for highly skilled positions. You can facilitate on-the-job training in many ways, including seminars, workshops, lunch-and-learns, and mentoring programs. Along these lines, you can also consider training workers for cross-functional roles in which you’ll develop a team of multi-skilled employees who can fill positions in different departments when your candidate supply is down.
Organizations that dismiss the importance of comprehensive onboarding and regular training will inevitably be at risk of losing their best talent and failing to attract new talent. This should not come as a surprise, since ambitious healthcare workers want opportunities to advance themselves professionally over the course of their careers. Employers that invest in their workers’ ongoing growth and development are likely to find a gradual increase in the number and quality of applicants they attract.
While combatting the growing skills gap is no easy task, it’s the responsibility of healthcare organizations to re-evaluate their current means of finding top talent. Whether it’s by investing in a temporary workforce, creating new on-the-job learning opportunities, or simply incentivizing current employees for referrals, employers have the tools and means to improve their recruitment and hiring efforts.