What Healthcare HR Leaders Need to Know

Healthcare HR leadership for doctors and management training

Healthcare HR is on the move. The industry is expected to add more jobs over the next eight years than any other segment of the U.S. economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about one in four new jobs will be filled by doctors, nurses, lab techs, and other support roles, putting healthcare on track in the next decade to overtake state and local government as the largest employment sector in America.

Fortune's recently announced Best Workplaces in Healthcare showed some distinct trends. What do you need to know about creating a great healthcare workplace?

Healthcare HR: Brace for Change and Competition

Industry growth promises to bring change big and small to healthcare. Fortune reports that an aging population paired with an influx of new patients covered by the Affordable Care Act is putting intense pressure on organizations in the field to curb costs. At the same time, competition is pushing more health care organizations into mergers and acquisitions. To thrive, healthcare organization will have to keep up with technology innovations affecting everything from where they treat patients to how they keep medical data secure.

Providers can also expect to have to win the war for healthcare talent. And it's not going to be easy. A Compadata survey showed voluntary turnover in healthcare hit 14.4% in 2015, up from 13.1% the previous year. At the same time, health care companies can't fill jobs fast enough. From 2000 to 2010, industry jobs grew 25%, more than twice as fast as the rest of the economy, according to research by the University of Albany. By 2020, the health care industry is expected to add another 4.2 million new positions. The labor crunch is especially noticeable in nursing, where nearly half of U.S. RNs are expected to reach traditional retirement age by the end of the decade.

How To Win Talent With a Great [Healthcare] Place to Work

FORTUNE's best healthcare workplaces showed distinct trends. Coworkers in these workplaces say they feel like part of a cohesive unit, no matter their job. The vast majority of employees called their workplace "friendly," and said they felt like an equal member of the organization regardless of their position, and could count on coworkers to cooperate.

Creating those great workplaces can be helped along significantly with some specific healthcare HR ingredients:  

Work/Life Balance for Healthcare Professionals

Employees consider work/life balance among the three defining pillars of their dream employers. And it's more than just a pipe dream, even for those always-on roles like nurses and doctors.

Education and Professional Development

The keys to solving the healthcare talent shortage are education, training, and time. Whether helping nurses achieve their BSN (while helping the organization reach Magnet status) or overhauling a tuition assistance and loan repayment program in order to fill talent gaps that higher-ed can't even outpace, healthcare HR and benefits people today have their work cut out for them, and will need a hardworking tuition strategy to deliver.

Supportive and Inclusive Benefits

Talking about a child care program offered to employees by a hospital, one physician told us flatly, "If it goes, I go."  And  since ERs don't run without people, having back-up care or short-term replacement care in place ensures that people will be where the hospital needs them and the right state of mind - even in a blizzard or a hurricane.

Support For Healthcare Employees, Support For Healthcare Organizations

The bottom line is that benefits that support healthcare employees  support healthcare employers.  "A nurse who knows that his/her child is well cared for is able to be fully present while at work," says Bright Horizons VP Kim Callaway, "and is therefore much less likely to miss something - or worse, make a mistake."

Just as important is the message those support sends about culture. As Hannah Elise Jones, a Great Place to Work consultant, told Fortune, "If you're on your feet all day, it's tough and emotional, one thing that can get you through the day is an emotionally supportive workplace,"

See how Cincinnati Children's Center built career ladders that lead somewhere great, and won the talent war at the same time. 

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.