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Key Healthcare Talent Management Objectives and Challenges


Fri Feb 27 2015

Key Healthcare Talent Management Objectives and Challenges

Healthcare talent management professionals must continually address three strategic goals: reducing costs, improving patient satisfaction, and improving patient safety. 

Reduce Costs 


Tight budgets and increased workloads are the norm for healthcare professionals. When it comes to cutting costs, most organizations are pursuing HR initiatives related to more efficient processes and employee retention. According to a 2014 survey by HealthcareSource®, the leading provider of talent management solutions for the healthcare industry, 74 percent of respondents plan to streamline HR processes. Meanwhile, 69 percent are planning to implement initiatives that improve employee retention to help reduce costs. 

“Turnover is costly for organizations. When a person leaves, it costs the organization one to two times an employee’s first year’s salary. One of the reasons retention is such a chronic problem in healthcare is because the work can be highly stressful and skills utilized are often easily transferred from one organization to another. It’s beneficial to use behavioral-based assessments during the hiring process because this can help you identify and select those who are more likely to stay,” said Dr. Frederick Morgeson, Eli Broad Professor of Management for Michigan State University and Scientific Advisor for HealthcareSource. 

Improve Patient Satisfaction 

Improving employee satisfaction and improving organizational culture are top priorities related to patient satisfaction. Top initiatives uncovered by the survey include:

  • improve employee satisfaction; 79 percent

  • foster a culture of employee accountability; 68 percent

  • create a service-oriented culture; 67 percent. 

“Senior leaders must make accountability and service excellence a strategic priority. Implementing goals focused on these elements can help, particularly if they are supported and reinforced from the top of the organization. Without these things, organizations will have a hard time changing their culture,” said Morgeson. 


Improve Patient Safety 

To improve patient safety, healthcare organizations are focused on driving behavioral change among employees. To encourage behaviors, organizations are investing in employee education and professional development. Specifically, respondents to the survey are focusing on: 

  • employee education and development; 69 percent

  • improving employee satisfaction; 59 percent

  • hiring for cultural fit; 54 percent. 

“People go into healthcare careers because they want to make things better—that’s what drives employee engagement. The key is to ensure employee education stays focused on the outcome, not just the process,” said Donna Wright, MS, RN, a consultant for Creative Health Care Management. 

Bottom Line 

Achieving these goals may prove difficult, however. For instance, survey respondents reported that they are challenged with having to deal with competing initiatives (67 percent), as well as having to manage initiatives with insufficient budgets (49 percent). “HR needs to be in the right meetings at the right time when budgets are put together. They must be a part of those conversations, rather than someone handing HR a budget and saying ‘make this work’,” said Ursula Pawlowski, MSHR, HR concierge and membership specialist for The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (ASHHRA). 


According to 49 percent of survey respondents, another major issue is inadequate technology. Healthcare HR professionals recognize that technologies can help as they try to meet their organizational goals, while simultaneously streamlining important processes and reducing costs. For instance, performance management technologies (30 percent) and e-learning content (25 percent) were identified as clear opportunities technology enhancements for helping achieve strategic talent initiatives.  

“HR and education see each other through a glass wall, but their activities often aren’t integrated. Technology is a way for these functional areas to connect, identify the organization’s true needs, and evaluate the return on investment of different activities. Too often systems are siloed—we need one integrated systems and processes,” said Wright. 

Despite the fact that the healthcare industry is subject to continual change due to the evolution of regulations and policies, care delivery and payment models, and the rising demand for health services—based on the past five years of data, it can be assumed that healthcare talent management professionals will always be expected to do more with less. Year over year, results have shown that the main objectives are to deliver their services as efficiently and as cost effectively as possible. This translates into the ever-increasing interest in the adoption of technology solutions to ease the burden of manual work by automating processes. 

When talent management teams succeed in recruiting and retaining the right employees, healthcare organizations are in stronger position to deliver high quality care—translating into high levels of patient safety, satisfaction and overall organizational excellence. 

Visit the HealthcareSource website for a full report of the survey results and insights.

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