Solving the 4 Biggest HR Related Problems in the Healthcare Industry

Oct 16, 2018
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As a HR professional in a highly regulated field such as the healthcare industry, you face unique challenges every day. Challenges that your company is expecting you to be able to solve quickly and in a budget-friendly manner. It's not an easy task.

In this post, we'll discuss the four biggest HR-related problems facing the healthcare industry and how professionals in this field can solve them effectively.

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4 HR Related Healthcare Problems (And How to Solve Them)

Let's dive into the problems you, as an HR professional in the healthcare industry, face on a daily basis — and how you can attempt to solve them effectively.


1. A Shortage of Qualified Staff

The healthcare industry is plagued by a lack of qualified professionals and many hospitals and doctors' offices are feeling the effects. In fact, by the year 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 1.2 million vacancies for registered nurses.

That's a staggering number and it's due to a multitude of factors including:

  • The Increase in Patients Needing Care: As baby boomers continue to age, many of them require increased medical care. This in turn creates a greater workload for medical professionals.

  • The Increase in Retiring Nurses: With baby boomers aging, many nurses of that generation are retiring, leaving large numbers of vacancies in the hospitals they used to work in.

  • Limited Availability in Nursing Programs: Nursing school is notoriously competitive due to the limited amount of spots in each program. And nurse hopefuls have been known to wait years before finally receiving their chance to receive training.

  • A Shift in Worker Priorities: As the older generation begins to retire and leave the workforce, they are replaced by millennial professionals who value different things than their predecessors. Mostly, millennials want benefits and the potential for career advancement rather than just competitive wages.

What can your HR department do to combat this shortage of qualified staff members? We have a few suggestions:

  • Maintain a full pipeline of qualified candidates via a proper applicant tracking software system. When the time comes to hire your next nurse or doctor, you'll have a head start and can pull from your list of pre-vetted professionals.

  • Offer competitive compensation and enticing benefits packages to new hires. While this may cost your organization more money upfront, you'll save much more due to increased patient satisfaction and lower turnover rates.

  • Engage your current employees with an appealing work environment, the possibility of career advancement, and ongoing training and development. When your staff loves where they work, they'll be much less likely to leave.

2. A High Turnover Rate

Speaking of staff members leaving, a high turnover rate is another prevalent problem in the healthcare industry — especially amongst first-year employees. This problem is quite expensive, costing the average hospital somewhere between five and eight million dollars annually to replace departing nurses.

The most popular reasons for medical personnel leaving are better opportunities elsewhere, long hours, high levels of stress, and a lack of quality training.

Fortunately, many of these issues can be dealt with by your HR department!

Similar to our tips in approaching staff shortages, companies need to also entice their current employees to stay with competitive wages, enticing benefits packages, and continued training and career advancement opportunities.

HR teams should also pay special attention to the mental health of the employees working for their company. Ensure that staff finds their working environment appealing and aren't feeling overworked or stressed to the point of burnout.

3. Complex Compliance Standards

The healthcare industry is highly regulated. It makes sense, as healthcare professionals literally deal with life and death scenarios on a regular basis. But these complex compliance standards still pose problems for HR departments.

With the constant controversy surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the continuous modifications being made to it, HR departments must stay on top of the latest regulatory evolutions.

HR professionals in the healthcare field also need to be able to properly classify their company's variable-hour staff members and appropriately track each employee's time worked. Not always an easy task.

But HR and compliance don't end with just the ACA. HIPPA regulations must be followed as well, and sporadic audits ensure that businesses in the healthcare industry comply with all patient privacy laws.

Fortunately, a quality HRMS can greatly assist HR departments when it comes to meeting complex compliance standards and avoiding costly penalties!

4. Revolutionary New Technology

Technology, when used correctly, is a beautiful thing. It saves us time, makes once tedious jobs much more convenient, and in the case of the healthcare industry, allows medical professionals to save more lives.

But rapidly changing technology also presents problems to HR departments because personnel must be trained to properly use new equipment, which takes both time and resources.

But by committing to in-house training programs and "microlearning" opportunities (quick training on specific topics that can be implemented right away), HR departments can quickly and affordably close the gap between a staff members limited understanding of a tool and the new technology your organization needs to run more efficiently.

Improving HR in the Healthcare Industry

The four problems we discussed in this post are definitely a cause for concern for HR departments operating in the healthcare industry. Fortunately, each of them can be solved — or at least alleviated — by smart and proactive human resources professionals!

If your HR team is currently looking for a software solution to help you better solve your company's staffing shortages and high turnover rate, or meet complex compliance standards, we invite you to demo the HR Cloud suite of services.


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