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Hospital staffing shortages face new competition from Amazon, Apple and other disruptors

Becoming the employer of choice means facing the challenge of creating an exceptional employee experience.

Mallory Hackett, Associate Editor

The healthcare industry, long challenged by a shortage of physicians, nurses and other well-qualified staff, is facing even more of a dire need to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A new challenge are disruptors that are looking at the same pool of talent. Companies that formerly represented no competition to healthcare organizations, such as Amazon, Uber and Apple, are now well integrated into the industry, and they're targeting both future and current employees.

"This is why it's imperative for organizations to create a culture and employee experience that negates expensive and time-consuming tasks that push your company out of the market," said Chas Fields, a human capital management strategic advisor at Kronos in the HIMSS20 Digital session, "HCM for the modern workforce: Becoming the employer of choice."

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To prevent employee turnover and improve their commitment to the workplace, organizations must curate an exceptional employee experience, Fields said.

To do this, four challenges need to be addressed: the talent shortage, competition among workplaces, creating a culture that matters and disruptors to the industry.

Talent shortages are especially prevalent among nurses and physicians. In fact, 40% of registered nurses are over the age of 50, meaning they will soon retire. Many physicians are also close to retirement age, which adds to the shortage among workers.

When trying to overcome this hurdle, Fields offers three tips.

First, employers need to look in the right pool of candidates for open positions. That typically means searching for people who were either born, raised or educated in the area of the position.

Next, organizations can establish relationships with schools in their community. This gives them the opportunity to create volunteer, shadowing and mentorship programs that can lead to possible candidates in the future.

Finally, it's important to optimize the talent the organization already has. This can be done through flexible scheduling and by providing incentives.

The next obstacle is that candidates have many options when looking for a job.

"Never before has a potential employee had access to so much information about the organizations that are vying for their skills," Fields said.

Candidates have online access to everything from salary information, to the company's reputation, to insights into the office environment.

Fields recommends targeting potential employees online. Seventy-seven percent of people have a smartphone, and many are looking for employment with it.

Creating a positive work environment is the next step in making employees want to stay.

"You need to provide a clear and inspiring vision for the employee. He or she must feel valued in their contribution and heard through their participation in the operation of the organization," Fields said.

Employers looking to improve the commitment of their staff need to look at their current processes and ways to improve them.

"It's imperative that you look at each of these elements and determine, 'What are my employees experiencing?'" Fields said. "Success is defined [as], are they having a positive experience and are you creating a place that they desire to work?"

Twitter: @HackettMallory
Email the writer: mhackett@himss.org

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