The third week of March – for 2021, the 15th through the 19th – is designated Health Care Human Resources Week. The week takes time to recognize HR professionals’ role in the continuum of care for the nation. Healthcare HR staff members provide needed support for the industry, assuring needs are met for patients, facilities and individual healthcare providers. Without Healthcare HR, the wheels of healing would grind to a halt.
Healthcare Human Resources Week offers HR professionals an opportunity to showcase their critical role in an institution. Many facilities celebrate the integral services they provide with appreciation initiatives, signage, and more. For healthcare recruiters, benefits administrators, trainers, payroll and generalist professionals, the week translates into an opportunity to emphasize how the work they perform supports the entire facility – not just recruitment and compliance functions.
Healthcare facilities are only as strong as the staff that mans them and the services they can provide. Healthcare HR professionals can be the most valuable resource an institution holds. Their role assures staffing levels are met and the workforce has the tools they need to succeed. Institutions that see hiring droughts know the impact short- or under-staffed departments experience. HR must be an effective strategic partner to keep the facility moving forward – maintaining the headcount necessary and the services required to keep staff supported.
Addressing the scope and variety of need
Whatever the need, from food service workers to nationally recognized physicians, HR professionals are front line in acquiring and retaining staff. From the most entry-level facility maintenance to the most specialized disciplines in the medical profession, Healthcare HR workers are well versed and ready to fill an enormous range of positions. Some specialize in recruiting only physicians; others cover all openings, but all Healthcare HR professionals are comfortable working a food service job fair in the morning, a nursing school recruitment event in the afternoon, and a physician’s meet-and-greet for dinner.
When health and market conditions put the pressure on institutions, Healthcare HR professionals are problem solvers. They search for travel nurses and doctors, temporary services, and more, to fill immediate need. Internally, they look for opportunities for training and upskilling workers. They recommend and administer tuition reimbursement, in-house and external classes and training, and career/succession planning to keep staffing levels on point for today and for the future.
Helping the healers
Healthcare HR professionals are available to help the healers when they’re in need. Having someone who understands, who maintains confidentiality, and who can offer services, recommendations and solutions can be crucial, particularly when people and facilities are overwhelmed and under stress. Healthcare HR professionals don’t take a simply reactive role; they leverage engagement and satisfaction surveys to seek out areas that need improvement and act on the information received.
Whether it’s assistance with scheduling, benefits, leaves of absence, payroll or more difficult issues, Healthcare HR professionals are solution driven. If there’s a problem they can solve, they’ll address it; if not, they’ll find someone who can. When healthcare employees are looking for answers, they turn to HR. When they’re ready to grow, HR can offer career advice and assistance. When they need time away, HR is ready to help. Whatever the issue, there’s a Healthcare HR professional ready and able to help.
What’s on the horizon?
Today’s Healthcare HR professional is beginning to leverage tech and data to streamline services in department and for the facility. Just as providers are looking to enhance medical services with technology, so is the HR Department. Sourcing or acquiring talent requires a better candidate experience, and Healthcare HR professionals are upping their game with tech. Recruiters are looking to reduce time-to-hire, leveraging available and up-and-coming software and SaaS to streamline.
Within the institution, HR professionals are analyzing internal data to look for areas for improvement, risk-for-flight staff members, and ways to better serve. As the human/tech interface continues to enhance services and capabilities, Healthcare HR professionals’ role will move further from rote tasks to hands-on, talent-centric responsibilities.
Too often the talent in HR is taken for granted: their behind-the-scenes role keeps people and things running smoothly on a day-to-day basis. When an institution faces a staffing or personnel challenge, it’s easier to appreciate their contributions. They’re ready to move quickly, resolve problems, and return to work. During Healthcare HR Week and all through the year, it’s important to recognize this strategic partner in an institution’s current and future promise.