Notes from ASHHRA 2018: The Key to Employee Pipelines

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"It's critical to build partnerships with local colleges and universities to streamline employee pipelines." That from the Thought Leader Forum at the recently wrapped ASHHRA 2018 conference in Pittsburgh. It's an understandable sentiment. We all know healthcare is at a crossroads. Retirements are looming, incoming employees are in short supply, skills are changing. Not surprisingly, much conference talk was on recruiting and developing employees, and how strategic education and HR will have to work in sync to keep up.

Key Takeaways from ASHHRA 2018

The numbers are particularly bleak on the nursing front. Shortages on our healthcare frontlines have been predicted for years, and recruitment alone isn't enough to fill the gaps. Just how dire is illustrated by the comings and goings detailed by one presenter:
  • 25% of new RN graduates are leaving the profession after one year
  • 81% of RN's will retire in 10-15 years
And it's not just keeping staffing levels that's at issue -- but just keeping up. Healthcare systems, said one ASHHRA presenter, are barely halfway to the Institute of Medicine's goal of 80% RN by 2020. Another session showed that artificial intelligence will drive 45% of healthcare activities of the future. Those are major competencies with significant learning curves that will require perpetual upskilling and reskilling. In other words, they won't be achieved by recruiting alone.

Solving the Shortage? We're Going to Have to Get Creative

The underlying message is that healthcare is changing. And to keep up, talent strategies will have to change with it. Employers are going to have to get creative -- like one of our healthcare clients who embraced education strategy by putting tuition assistance under talent acquisition. Such "re-recruiting" is generating results, getting already committed employees to pursue new roles while developing critically needed skills. The results speak volumes -- a seven-year low for a key nursing vacancy. "We are continually looking for ways to help them achieve personal goals," wrote our client, "while aligning them to the organizations needs both now and in the future."

Great strategy -- a fresh, effective way to take on the new realities. It also answers another key takeaway from the ASHHRA Thought Leader Forum: the perils of getting stuck in a rut. "We can't keep doing the same things over and over again," said one participant, "and expect different results."

Written by: Ellen Oliver

About the Author

Ellen Oliver at Bright Horizons

As Director of B2B Marketing Programs, Ellen writes about talent management, employee engagement, and work/life balance trends. Ellen brings a wide perspective of human resource topics gained through working with industries from large engineering and construction firms, to government and academic organizations and nonprofits.