Top Healthcare HR Challenges and How to Overcome Them

by Srikant Chellappa Nov 16,2023
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Knowing how to manage your employees effectively is essential for quality patient care as a healthcare provider. However, employers today are often challenged with inefficient processes, tight budgets, and complex regulations when it comes to human resources (HR) in healthcare.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that healthcare jobs will grow by 13% from 2018 to 2028. 

The HR challenges that healthcare employers face can be significant. For example, recruiting top talent, managing and retaining them, responding quickly to changing customer demand, and complying with an ever-growing set of regulations. These issues can lead to severe problems if not addressed immediately.

This article will discuss the top HR challenges faced by healthcare employers today and how they can overcome them. We will look at how technology-enabled HR solutions like employee engagement platforms and predictive analytics tools can help streamline operations and help them make informed strategic decisions about their HR strategies.

Here are the 6 top healthcare HR challenges and their relevant solutions:

1. Shortage of Talent & Trickiest Recruitment

Talent shortage in healthcareThe shortage of talent in the healthcare industry is a growing concern. As healthcare costs continue to rise, it has become increasingly difficult for public and private hospitals to hire and retain good practitioners. It has led to an increased demand for human resources strategies to help balance labor supply with practitioners’ ability to practice efficiently.

As per the Employment Projections 2021-2031 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Registered Nursing (RN) workforce is poised to witness a 6% expansion in the upcoming decade. This growth is set to elevate the RN workforce from 3.1 million in 2021 to 3.3 million by 2031, resulting in an additional 195,400 nurses. Furthermore, the Bureau’s projections indicate a yearly demand for 203,200 RNs through 2031, accounting for retirements and workforce departures. Consequently, hospitals are urged to proactively implement strategies to ensure an ample supply of qualified staff in anticipation of this upcoming demand surge.

It could include offering competitive salaries, providing training opportunities, and creating attractive benefits packages for potential employees. By doing so, hospitals can ensure they can attract and retain quality personnel while keeping costs down.

Also read: Benefits of Implementing an Employee Career Development Program

2. Managing Employee and Patient Dissatisfaction

The healthcare industry faces several HR challenges in the coming years, particularly regarding managing employee and patient satisfaction. According to recent studies, 39% of people have avoided a doctor due to bad experiences with healthcare administrators or practitioners. It highlights the importance of ensuring patients receive hassle-free services, from booking appointments to carrying out tests and paying medical bills.

Healthcare organizations must focus on resolving scheduling and management issues to improve patient satisfaction. For instance, they should ensure that patients do not have to wait for long periods despite having already scheduled an appointment. Additionally, they should strive to respond promptly to any patient queries or complaints. Healthcare organizations can create a more positive experience for their patients and employees by addressing these issues.

3. Adapting to New Technologies

The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving, and it comes with the need for new technology to manage the ever-growing amount of data. With the introduction of AI-integrated software applications, healthcare providers can store and manage patient records, clinical notes, and administrative data more efficiently. 

This enhanced database is highly beneficial to patients and record keepers.It allows easier access to information and helps tackle many HR challenges of the healthcare industry.

Technology has made it easier for patients to schedule appointments and keep track of their visits and treatment histories. By having all this information readily available and accessible, patients can easily keep track of their medical records without having to worry about paperwork or manual filing systems. Furthermore, this technology also makes it easier for healthcare providers to quickly access patient information when needed, allowing them to provide better care promptly.

Also read: What “Gamification KPIs” Should You Be Tracking

4. Battling Employee Burnout

employee burnout in healthcareEmployee burnout is a significant issue in the healthcare industry. Healthcare professionals are constantly exposed to high levels of stress due to the nature of their jobs. This stress can be beneficial in small doses, as it can help motivate and energize employees, but when it becomes too much, it can lead to burnout. Feelings of exhaustion, apathy, and a lack of motivation characterize burnout. It can have severe consequences for both the employee and the organization they work for.

Organizations must take steps to prevent employee burnout before it occurs. It includes providing adequate resources and support for employees, such as flexible working hours, access to mental health services, and regular breaks throughout the day. Additionally, organizations should ensure that employees are adequately rested and given tasks beyond their capabilities. 

Finally, employers should create an environment where employees feel valued and appreciated for their hard work and dedication. By taking these steps, organizations can help reduce employee burnout and ensure that their workforce remains healthy and productive.

5. Providing Adequate Training and Development

Providing adequate training and development is essential to any successful healthcare system. It ensures that employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their roles effectively while providing them with opportunities to advance their careers. It is essential in the healthcare industry, where nurses may want to become nurse practitioners, doctors, or managers.

HR experts in healthcare must collaborate with practitioners to ensure employees have access to the proper training and development opportunities. Investing in a learning and development management system can reduce costs associated with hiring and training new employees/replacements and improve employee engagement and job happiness. It can ultimately lead to more excellent capability within the workforce and better retention rates for employers.

Also read: Next Generation Women Leaders in the World – 2024

6. Soaring Turnover Rates

The rise in turnover rates and fall in retention are significant challenges for the healthcare industry. With the growing shortage of healthcare employees, organizations need help to retain their existing employees and attract new ones. It has led to an increase in employee turnover, resulting in a decrease in productivity and efficiency.

HR departments must take proactive steps to address this issue. They need to create an environment conducive to employee satisfaction and engagement. It can be done by introducing policies that ensure fair treatment of all employees, providing competitive salaries and benefits, offering flexible working hours, and encouraging open communication between managers and employees.

Additionally, HR teams should develop effective training programs to help employees upskill and reskill and contribute to the organization’s growth. In doing so, organizations can reduce employee turnover while increasing retention.

Conclusion

Healthcare HR departments face many challenges, from managing a diverse workforce to staying updated with changing regulations and compliance requirements. To overcome these challenges, organizations should focus on creating an inclusive and equitable environment that respects the unique needs of each employee, introducing policies that ensure fair treatment of all employees, providing competitive salaries and benefits, offering flexible working hours, investing, and implementing effective training programs. By taking these steps, healthcare organizations can ensure that their HR departments are well-equipped to handle any challenge they may face.

Talent ManagementFrequently Asked Questions 

Q1. What are the top healthcare HR challenges? 

The top healthcare HR challenges include recruiting and retaining qualified employees, managing a diverse workforce, staying up-to-date with changing regulations and compliance requirements, managing employee benefits and compensation packages, addressing employee burnout, and implementing effective training programs.

Q2. How can HR recruit and retain qualified employees? 

Recruiting and retaining qualified employees is a significant challenge for healthcare organizations. To address this issue, HR departments should focus on creating an attractive and competitive compensation package, offering flexible working hours, and providing employees with opportunities for career development. Additionally, organizations should invest in a learning and development management system to reduce costs associated with hiring and training new employees/replacements.

Q3. How can HR manage a diverse workforce? 

Managing a diverse workforce is essential for healthcare organizations. To do this, HR departments should focus on creating an inclusive and diverse environment that respects the unique needs of each employee. It can be done by introducing policies that ensure fair treatment of all employees, providing training and development opportunities, and encouraging open communication between managers and employees.

Q4. How can HR stay up to date with changing regulations and compliance requirements? 

Staying up-to-date with changing regulations and compliance requirements is a significant challenge for healthcare organizations. To address this issue, HR departments should regularly monitor industry changes and update their policies accordingly. Organizations should invest in training programs to help employees understand the latest regulations and compliance requirements.

Q5. How can HR manage employee benefits and compensation packages? 

Managing employee benefits and compensation packages is a significant challenge for healthcare organizations. To address this issue, HR departments should create an attractive and competitive package that meets the organization’s and its employees’ needs. It can be done by introducing policies that ensure fair treatment of all employees, providing competitive salaries and benefits, offering flexible working hours, and providing employees with opportunities for career development.

Q6. How can HR address employee burnout? 

Employee burnout is a significant challenge for healthcare organizations. To address this issue, HR departments should create an environment that promotes work-life balance and encourages employees to take regular breaks. Additionally, organizations should invest in training programs to help employees develop their skills and knowledge to manage their workload better.

Q7. How can HR implement effective training programs?

Implementing effective training programs is essential for healthcare organizations. To do this, HR departments should focus on creating a comprehensive training program that meets the organization’s and its employees’ needs. It can be done by introducing policies that ensure fair treatment of all employees, providing training and development opportunities, and encouraging open communication between managers and employees. Additionally, organizations should invest in a learning and development management system to reduce costs associated with hiring and training new employees/replacements.


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Author
Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2023.

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