7 of Today's Common HR Challenges & How to Handle Them
Humans are complex beings, which makes human resource management a job that comes with many challenges, from finding the right employees, achieving compliance, dealing with weak leaders, to delivering hard news.
Over the years, healthcare has evolved from a doctor-patient to provider-consumer relationship. With the patient holding all the power, all types of practices — from small, private practices to hospitals — need to put their best foot forward to ensure patient satisfaction.
The team is the critical component that determines the success of a healthcare practice; for example, phrases such as ‘competent staff,’ ‘trained workforce,’ and ‘the best healthcare workforce’ work to market a practice effectively.
Below are some of the most common HR challenges you will encounter and how to handle them.
#1 Recruiting the Right Talent
Employment in all healthcare occupations is projected to grow 14% from 2018 to 2028 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is reportedly much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 1.9 million new jobs.
The millennial workforce is now taking over the medical profession, and it’s driven by benefits and advancement opportunities, making recruitment more difficult. Practice owners need to rethink the recruiting system to attract qualified candidates. You can prepare by stockpiling resumes through your career sites and website, engaging with past applicants, and utilizing employee referrals.
#2 Retaining Talented Employees
Competition for talented healthcare professionals is fierce, with competing organizations coming up with incentives and attractive packages to poach talent. According to the 2018 MGMA DataDive Practice Operations, turnover rates for front office staff are the highest at 20%, with clinical support and business operations falling into line directly behind at 15% and 9% respectively. Notably, employee turnover is expensive and negatively affects the organization's growth. Onboarding is a highly effective solution to prevent turnover as it integrates a new employee into the organization. Once onboarding is complete, relevant training and development opportunities also help to retain talented employees. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, dentistry was experiencing full employment. Their impressive retention rates may be in part due to effective onboarding practices.
#3 Dealing with Difficult Employees
The healthcare industry is susceptible and under heavy scrutiny due to the nature of its work. Your healthcare professionals directly affect the patient's health leaving no room for errors or difficult employees. However, before choosing to let go of a problematic employee, there are ways to engage them that might help.
For example, challenge them by stretching their talents,, or work with them to create a list of goals with specific steps to meet these goals. If all these fail, it may be time to let them go; however, document everything to make a disciplinary action or termination case. Documentation also helps to identify red flags that may apply to future hires.
#4 Achieving Complete Compliance
The healthcare industry is heavily regulated due to the nature of its work. With advancing technology in equipment, treatment, and medication, the laws and regulations are continually changing. This increases the risks of fines and legal liability for violations you did not know you were even making.
With proper planning, practice owners can keep up with the laws and regulations. An HR software or consultancy can help make sure you fully understand the amended legislation and can advise you on how to clearly communicate the rules to your employees.
#5 Having Difficult Conversations
One of the most common HR challenges is having to deliver bad news and the consequences that come with it to employees. This ranges anywhere from discussing poor performance, informing someone that they did not get the promotion, or dealing with day-to-day conflict, etc.
While it may be tempting to sugarcoat the information, the best way involves delivering the news in person, communicating the sequential steps, offering transparency, and being empathetic while keeping the conversation on track, instead of staggering the information.
#6 Creating an Inclusive Workforce
Diversity impacts everything from work relationships to governing laws. Practice owners need to create a diverse and inclusive workforce that involves multiple generations and different ethnicities. However, diversity must be achieved and not perceived as a PR move. Different people think differently and bring different values to the organization.
A diverse-minded company's benefits include; more likely to meet financial goals, higher generation of revenue per employee, and more likely to be innovative. Practice owners can safely navigate these waters by:
• Making the recruitment process transparent
• Training team leaders on the importance of diversity and inclusivity
• Openly promoting a workplace culture where employees feel safe and included
• Emphasizing on hiring talent with different behavior types and unique views
#7 Developing Employees to Leaders
It is crucial that your organization starts to work on and develop its next generation of leaders, and this task falls squarely under a traditional HR umbrella. Without an HR department, there are still effective steps to take in order to make this a possible and practical way of running your practice.
For example, connecting your employees with mentors to discuss their goals, share ideas, receive encouragement and insight, and ask questions. Networking is also an effective way to train future leaders, and this allows them to gain positive exposure, navigate business opportunities, and develop valuable soft skills. Lastly, providing opportunities for growth through specialized training, fellowships, or offering connections to professional development opportunities.
The healthcare industry is plagued with a shortage of healthcare professionals, which places immense pressure on practice owners to attract new talent and find effective ways to retain them. Despite the common challenges, the practice owner is tasked to offer experience, necessary tools, and a healthy work environment that promotes safety and inclusivity. These are some of the factors that influence employee turnover, burn out, and retention.
We’re always looking to support private practices with information on how to best manage their staff. For more insights on retaining your employees and more when it comes to managing your staff, check out our blog, packed with insights and trends to support your day-to-day.