More than half of healthcare workers don’t feel optimistic about the future
According to a recent Vivian Health study, 53% of healthcare workers surveyed don’t feel optimistic about the future of healthcare in the U.S. and 27% say they are unsure whether the future holds any promise for their careers. In the same survey, 43% of respondents said they are considering leaving the healthcare profession in 2021, compared to 80% who just one year before said they’d likely continue working in the healthcare field post-COVID-19.
Numbers like these are popping up on surveys across the country and the world as healthcare professionals begin to leave their posts and start their careers over from scratch in different industries. What that means for healthcare employers is that finding licensed professionals to fill vacant roles is about to get even more competitive than it already was.
Employers should start planning their recruitment strategy without further delay and make it a priority to incentivize their existing employees so that they are more inclined to stay, forgoing any plans to change careers or move to competing employers.
Job hunters are setting the rules
Despite government loan and grant programs that encouraged employers to rehire the employees they’d been forced to lay off or furlough at the start of the global pandemic, and despite the expiration of unemployment bonus stipends, the employment market hasn’t evolved as expected.
Many employers believed their HR teams would be inundated with over-qualified candidates so eager for work that they would be willing to settle for more modest salaries than they’d received pre-pandemic. But what has happened instead is that people have learned how to survive on less. They’ve become savvy at outsourcing their services as contractors for hire. Some have re-evaluated their career ambitions and decided to change course.
For an already beleaguered healthcare industry suffering from staffing shortages, layoffs, and high turnover rates, the pandemic exacerbated recruiting issues, making it much more difficult to find and hire qualified healthcare workers. These days, qualified candidates can name their price and probably get what they ask for, too.
Finding the right fit
Finding sufficient numbers of qualified, licensed healthcare employees in the reams of resumes these days can feel a little bit like hunting for needles in a haystack. But there are recruiting strategies employers can use to narrow their search and quickly win the right talent for their open positions, such as:
Keep employees happy so they will stay
It’s important to understand that in today’s market, employers must be flexible and accommodating to win talent and retain existing employees. The healthcare business can take a heavy toll on its workers, and the pandemic has made it even more challenging.
Employees are stretched thin and feel overworked, under paid, and under-appreciated according to the polls cited here. The Vivian report showed that 83% of respondents felt their mental health was impacted after working in the healthcare field during COVID-19 over the past year, with 36% feeling “significantly impacted.” An April 2021 Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that roughly three in 10 healthcare workers have weighed leaving their profession. About six in 10 claimed that stress from the pandemic has harmed their mental health.
In this industry in particular, benefits that focus on mental health and wellness should be standard. Providing schedule flexibility and offering ancillary mental-health benefits such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) with counseling services can make all the difference to employees without costing a fortune. Consider an investment in your employees and their health an investment in the future health of your organization.
Eleesha Martin is the Manager of Recruitment Process Outsourcing for G&A Partners, a leading professional employer organization (PEO) that has been helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses for more than 25 years.