Solving the Healthcare Talent Shortage

Healthcare in the United States is facing a major shift. Baby-boomers are retiring and hospitals must figure out a way to minimize the effect of the pending workforce shortage while ensuring the highest standards in patient care.

Healthcare in the United States is facing a major shift. Baby-boomers are retiring and hospitals must figure out a way to minimize the effect of the pending workforce shortage while ensuring the highest standards in patient care.

The good news is that the answer to the healthcare talent shortage may already be on the payroll: your millennial employees. With carefully plotted out education and mentorship programs, these newcomers have both the capacity and the desire to move into critical roles for their employers.

How do we know this is a workable strategy?

Millennials Want to Learn

Our recent Millennials study found that these employees are career-oriented, eager to learn, and hungry for advancement and growth opportunities. Nearly 60% of Millennials would pick a job with strong professional-development potential over one with regular pay raises.

They Want to Commit to an Employer

Millennials are not the job-hoppers employers think they are. Only 14% of Millennials told us they need to job hop to advance professionally; 83% would prefer to work for one employer for a long time.

Learning Opportunities are the Key

In the same study, Millennials showed strong desire for engagement opportunities for their professional development and career growth. More than half - 53% - say the opportunity to learn new things or to have access to learning and development opportunities would be an incentive to stay with an employer.

The Key to Developing Healthcare Talent: Training and Time

For employers, this transition cannot occur effectively overnight or over a short period of time. Forcing Millennials into new roles with minimal mentoring, especially in nursing, potentially can result in negative outcomes in patient care.

To make this transition effective, it requires planning the process now to remove barriers for professional development and to drive collaboration between HR, talent acquisition, workforce planning, and nursing.

It will mean providing managers the tools and talking points to engage employees' aspirations for development and growth, and to guide that growth towards actual hiring needs within the organization.

It will require an effective transfer of knowledge between Millennials and Baby Boomers, supported by your organizational leaders, most notably your CNO, CHRO, and VP of organizational development.

And it will require employers to think differently about tuition assistance - not just as a benefit, but as a solution to this problem. When leveraged effectively, strategic tuition assistance programs can align degree and certification completion to fill skills gaps and provide a structured professional-development roadmap that can and should include mentorship programs.

Thriving in the New Talent Environment

Think of the impact an organization can achieve if they engage with highly motivated Millennials to ensure their degree completion or other professional development aligns to actual skills gaps; think of what could be accomplished with carefully thought-out mentorship programs. By acting now, you allow for an effective timeline to do both of these things, before the majority of your Boomer leaders have retired.

By putting actionable opportunities in place that engage Millennials to discuss career and professional development expectations, our healthcare organizations not only survive, but thrive during this time of workforce transition.

With the exit of Boomers just beginning, there's a window of opportunity for mentoring and transition. But employers must act now to align educational development opportunities and mentorship programs for millennials while there's time to do it right.

Get all the data from the EdAssist Millennials study. Find out what Millennials want in an employer and how their career aspirations should inform your healthcare talent strategy. 

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.