Retaining Healthcare Talent #1 Challenge

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Finding and retaining qualified personnel was the number one business challenge, according to the 2015 HireRight Health Care Spotlight. In fact, finding qualified job candidates (55 percent) and retaining good employees (51 percent) were cited by respondents of the Healthcare Spotlight as the most significant talent acquisition and talent management challenges for the healthcare sector. The need is exacerbated by the challenges of retaining talent in the competitive healthcare market. 

Other frequently cited challenges include making human resources (HR) processes more efficient (33 percent), improving the candidate experience (31 percent), and maximizing employee engagement (31 percent). All of these priorities reflect a general focus on the need to effectively hire and retain good employees. Almost half of respondents indicated that all of their growth would come from direct employees, while 36 percent suggested that some increases in staff would come from the non-employee extended workforce, including temporary workers and contractors. 

Economic Growth Driving Competition for Healthcare Talent 

In line with a general hiring upswing in all business sectors, 58 percent of healthcare organizations anticipate growing their workforces in the coming year, with nearly a quarter of those expecting hiring increases greater than six percent. The increase in hiring for healthcare, however, is not just inspired by general optimism, but by the needs of an aging population, increased healthcare spending, and a larger segment of the population receiving healthcare as a result of the Affordable Care Act. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an increase of nearly five million jobs from 2012 to 2022 in the healthcare sector. This would bring the total healthcare labor market to 22 million jobs, reflecting a 29 percent increase in employment in the sector (compared to an industry average of 11 percent overall) and an astonishing one-third of all new jobs created in the decade. The hiring requirements attributed to this explosive growth are critical and can be greatly impacted by a lack of available talent. 


"It's been years since healthcare organizations could easily find all the qualified personnel they require - and the problem is getting worse," said Rachel Trindade, vice president of marketing for HireRight in a written statement. "In this year's report, we see great emphasis on factors such as improving the candidate experience in the hiring process, enhancing the organization's brand and culture, offering tuition reimbursement, and accommodating flexible shift scheduling as ways of meeting the talent challenges. At the same time, healthcare organizations are using employment screening and drug and alcohol testing to be sure they hire candidates that complement and enhance their workforce."  

Healthcare Screening Practices 

Respondents to the Healthcare Spotlight indicated that employment background checks helped improve the quality of hire (54 percent), improved safety and security (48 percent), and improved regulatory compliance (49 percent), a critical factor for most healthcare organizations. Because more than 88 percent of respondents said they had found misrepresentations, lies or false information on resumes and/or job applications, it makes sense that a notable percentage of respondents (74 percent) said that screening uncovered issues that may not have been found otherwise. 

Healthcare organizations have significantly different screening requirements than companies in other industries. When asked what types of background checks are performed on new hires, healthcare respondents most often cited criminal searches (94 percent) and identity verification (78 percent). However, to a greater extent than other sectors, 78 percent of healthcare organizations screen previous employment and/or references (vs. 68 percent among other industries). Notably, healthcare organizations conduct professional license verifications at more than twice the rate of other industries (74 percent vs. 36 percent). 

The Healthcare Spotlight is based on surveys of human resources, talent management, security, safety, and executive management professionals, and is a subset of the 2015 HireRight Employee Background Screening Benchmark Survey. Download the 2015 Healthcare Spotlight here. 

About the Author
Carrie Cross is former director of the Association for Talent Development’s Government and Healthcare Communities of Practice.  Cross holds a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) from the George Washington University, and serves on the board and advisory committees for the Coalition for Effective Change, Public Employees Round Table, and Young Government Leaders. She has also worked in other arenas within the public sector for more than 10 years through LMI Government Consulting, The American Red Cross, and The United Way of America.
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