The healthcare industry is facing several talent challenges, but RPO can help.
By Debbie Bolla
Now more than ever, the healthcare industry is experiencing the age-old challenge of supply and demand when it comes to jobs and talent. Demand is up: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the healthcare industry is projected to add about five million new jobs by 2022. And the 2015 Healthcare Recruiting Trends Survey conducted by HealtheCareers Network finds that 73 percent of respondents expect that they will have the same or more job openings in 2015 than in 2014. But at the same time, supply is predicted to decrease rapidly, with an aging workforce population driving shortages of both physicians and nurses.
“Shortages of healthcare professionals exist throughout the healthcare industry,” says Dan White, president of workforce solutions at AMN Healthcare. “We are currently seeing high demand and limited supply among physicians, nurses, and allied healthcare professionals,
such as physical therapists.” And the supply is continuing to trend down. White points
to drivers of shortages:
• Education gap: a decreasing amount of new graduates to replace retirees
• Aging clinical workforce: driving up the amount of retirements and part-time work
And drivers of demand:
• The Affordable Care Act: providing healthcare insurance coverage to millions more people
• Aging of the population: increasing the amount of healthcare treatment since older people have more demanding needs
• An improving economy: increasing the amount of money people are afforded to spend on healthcare
But this isn’t necessarily all bad news. These drivers are causing shifts in how healthcare organizations find, leverage, and manage talent. “Most of the challenges healthcare faces today can be solved by defining the ‘right talent’ for your organization, and using that to guide all of your hiring decisions,” says Jill Schwieters, president of talent solutions provider Cielo Healthcare. “Understanding the best way to utilize your workforce in an efficient and effective way will be critical as the shortages deepen. To operate more efficiently and cost effectively, many organizations are shifting to a team-based model of multidisciplinary staff to coordinate the care of patients. In some cases, this shift has aided in improved communication and care delivery, enhancing the outcomes and satisfaction of patients and their families.”
Recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) is assisting in the changing talent models. And that’s a good thing: According to the 2015 Healthcare Recruiting Trends Survey, almost half of survey respondents agree that the most difficult part of their recruiting process is finding qualified candidates.
“RPO can be utilized for an enterprise multi-year program to elevate an entire team while improving internal processes and systems for talent development and acquisition,” explains White. The access to talent that an RPO can deliver is critical in the healthcare industry. “By working with talent acquisition experts, organizations gain greater access to
both active and passive talent,” says Schwieters. “Great talent comes from many, diverse places today and they want to interact with you in many different ways. An RPO partner will take a candidate-centric approach, providing a variety of avenues for candidates to experience an organization’s brand and to communicate in a way that works for the candidate.”
As the supply and demand of healthcare professionals continues to fluctuate, organizations will need to be better prepared for future staffing. RPO can play a role here, too. “There’s the utilization of RPO for long-range transformative initiatives that includes predictive analytics to accurate forecast future workforce needs and strategic partnerships with workforce experts to transform an entire system’s labor policies and procedures to optimize both core and contingent healthcare professionals,” says White.
And with any industry that is a facing a transformative stage, a need to lean on expert help is an avenue on the roadmap to success. “The surge in demand for healthcare professionals will continue, and healthcare enterprises may find that they really need expert partners to both find and manage the numbers, types and quality of healthcare professionals necessary to provide excellence in patient care. As the healthcare transformation continues, RPO and other workforce solutions could become indispensable,” says White.