Healthcare H.R. departments and hiring managers are facing clinical and non-clinical workforce challenges never seen in our lifetime: pandemic driven workforce adjustments, constant fluctuation in projected staff requirements, dramatic swings in hiring budget allocations and ongoing uncertainty of what the future holds.
In short, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new reality for healthcare organizations large and small, one that requires new approaches in workforce strategy and design.
- A Balancing Act
When dealing with a fluid, ever-changing work environment, balance and flexibility become critical components of a successful workforce strategy. An organization needs a flexible structure that combines staff continuity and the ability to deal with shifting priorities and budget realities.
Though there is no perfect formula to follow, an emerging trend uses a combination of contingent, interim and full-time staff to create a staffing program able to expand or contract based on changing operational needs while avoiding the fiscal, legal and employee morale issues facing more traditional staffing approaches.
- Core Coverage
Given today’s uncertainties of how the pandemic will continue to impact the United States and the healthcare industry, it is imperative that healthcare organizations identify those core positions within their clinical and non-clinical workforce, which need to be filled by full-time employees. These core positons provide the foundation for a staffing program. They create continuity of operations, retained knowledge of processes and standards, and a level of mentoring across the facility.
The percentage of workforce falling into this category will differ based on individual circumstances and needs. Just remember, if a core group is too large, it limits the ability to easily scale up or down in size. If a core group is too small, it jeopardizes operational consistency across a facility.
- Interim Gap Coverage
Once a hiring program’s foundation has been determined and a full-time core workforce identified, the next step is to identify the key open (or soon to be open) roles in the organization where Interim staff should be deployed.
Interim staff typically bring years of relevant experience to a role, providing much needed knowledge and leadership skill to a facility on an intermediate to long-term project basis. Typically used to cover open mid to upper-level management positions across clinical and non-clinical support departments, Interim employees bring stability and control to the organization while allowing facilities the time necessary to conduct a successful candidate search.
This structure also provides additional workforce flexibility to a facility during unpredictable times.
- Contingent Staff Support
Temporary staff provide your workforce structure the ability to scale as needed and react quickly to swings in census, shifting priorities and budget fluctuations. Though bill rates might be higher than base full-time hourly rates, you enjoy the ability to add or reduce staff as necessary, without dealing with the impact of furloughs, terminations, unemployment claims, severance packages, benefit participation issues, and other employment issues.
- A Balancing Act
In these uncertain times a hiring program needs to be fluid, able to expand or contract quickly in response to changing priorities and community needs. At the same time, it must provide the appropriate staff required to support the facility and deliver quality care to patients.
Ultimately, a program built on a combination of core, interim and contingent employees provides optimum workforce coverage with the flexibility to respond quickly to changing needs.
At GHR Search, we specialize in matching a wide range of healthcare professionals with highly-rated fulltime and interim positions. If you’d like more information on how we can help find the top healthcare talent you’re looking for, visit our website today!