Recruiting in the healthcare field has been increasingly difficult for some time. Organizations have found it challenging to attract and hire sufficient levels of top talent due to competition for scarce talent and growing demand for services. Despite the fact that the healthcare industry has just become the largest employer in the United States, data show that the healthcare skills deficit is only becoming worse. The Association of American Medical Colleges anticipates that there will be fewer doctors than needed to care for an aging population by 2030. Furthermore, according to Mercer study, the nationwide labor shortage will result in an astounding 446,000 home health aides, 95,000 nursing assistants, and 99,000 medical and clinical laboratory tech job vacancies.
The demand for healthcare services is gradually increasing while the availability of healthcare talent dwindles, increasing the need for health systems and hospitals to hire additional doctors, nurses, technicians, admin and other healthcare workers. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, there will be a greater demand for health care. In addition to a general shortage in the pool of available talent, there are also some special hurdles that companies in medicine and patient care must overcome.
Why Is It So Hard to Hire Good Talent in Healthcare?
Hiring is surely challenging and stressful in any field. In the healthcare industry, however, there is an added layer to the recruitment issues. Employees in the healthcare profession have a direct impact on patient care and overall well-being, which adds to the strain.
- Healthcare Isn’t Always an Attractive Industry for Candidates – One challenge is that many qualified workers are deterred by the long hours and demanding nature of healthcare jobs.
- Top Talent is Grabbed Up Quickly – The scarcity of new candidates makes it difficult for companies to hire healthcare personnel, as they must appear appealing without paying the greatest salaries.
- Healthcare Jobs Require Special Skills & Qualifications – The position itself is another recruitment challenge in the healthcare industry. Many professions in healthcare are difficult to fill, ranging from nurse practitioner to rheumatologist. Indeed.com developed a list of the top ten most difficult healthcare roles to fill.
- It Takes Longer to Fill Positions in this Industry – Healthcare businesses, on average, take 48.3 days to fill a vacancy, with some vacancies lasting much longer. That’s more than 20.5 days longer than the average in other industries. This is partly due to the complexity of decision making in healthcare and long employment screenings, as well as the frequent need for lengthy training.
- HR Isn’t Leveraging All the Latest Tools for Talent Acquisition -Another challenge is that the industry is behind other industries in using technology to find and attract workers.
As a result of these challenges, healthcare organizations often end up hiring unqualified candidates. This can lead to increased costs, lower quality of care, and higher turnover rates.
Related articles: High-Tech Solutions to Provide Quality Care with Short Staff.
What Is the True Risk of Making the Wrong Hiring Decision?
A bad hire can cost a company up to 30% of that worker’s first-year earnings, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The cost of a bad hire includes the direct costs of recruiting and training a replacement, as well as the indirect costs of lost productivity, morale, and customer satisfaction. Hospitals and health systems cannot afford to make poor hiring decisions; the danger is too great.
- Risk Lowering the Quality of Patient Care – The #1 concern for healthcare providers is always patient safety and wellbeing. Hiring someone who is incompetent is a threat to quality patient care and can put lives at risk, whether that employee is directly involved with patients or not.
- Compliance Risk – Government regulations of the healthcare industry dictate who is and is not permitted to work in a patient care role. This encompasses medical licensing, criminal history, and past work experience. Violation of or non-compliance with these regulations is subject to heavy fines, costly litigation and, in some cases, the loss of federal financial support.
- Risk of Losing Accreditation – Healthcare organizations that don’t comply with federal and state background check regulations can also lose their accreditation and, as a consequence, their ability to continue providing medical services, from the Joint Commission.
- Risk of Damaged Reputation – When an employee is shown to be unqualified for their position or accused of malpractice, there can be a media backlash that harms its reputation as a reliable provider for patients. It just takes one employee’s bad behavior to change patients’ opinion of the entire health system.
- Risk of Damaging the Workplace Culture – Making a poor hire can sabotage teamwork, communication, and trust among coworkers. Hiring people who lack the essential skills and qualifications, for example, can place a strain on others who must pick up the slack and compensate for shortcomings. If a negative workplace culture takes hold, this will make it even more difficult to attract the best candidates in the future.
How to Avoid the Costs of Bad Hires
So, what’s the solution? HIPAA covered entities are left with few options. There are digital platforms which can help HR automate background screening and cloud-based tools to streamline the hiring process. Healthcare employers can also focus on supporting current staff and improving workplace culture with the hope of providing a more attractive offer for future job seekers.
Yet, in the short term, there isn’t a great solution for hiring and retaining better-qualified healthcare staff in-house. That’s why so many hospitals and networks are turning to third parties to keep operations efficient and continue providing high-quality care despite the labor shortage and dwindling pool of talent.
Related article: Discover the Benefits of Outsourcing for the Healthcare Industry.
For more information on how PatientCalls can help your practice operate more smoothly and decrease staffing costs, contact us today.