The Healthcare sector is undergoing a constant change that has created numerous human resource challenges. These trends in the healthcare sector are discussed in this paper. As the healthcare sector moved towards a performance-based care model, certain human resource activities such as recruiting, retaining, and engaging have assumed greater importance. Workforce management has gained prominence, especially in areas related to compensation, leadership, and staff engagement.
The paper will first discuss the two trends observable in the healthcare sector that has affected human resource strategy. Then the paper will try to provide recommendations related to the changes in human resource strategies that are essential to cope with the trend in the sector.
Trends and Effect on HRM in the Healthcare Sector
The most prominent trend observable in the healthcare sector is the inroad of technologically advanced information system that aims to make healthcare less expensive and more performance-oriented. Information system advancement is important to the healthcare sector, to individuals, as well as to the government. Healthcare data are highly personal. Therefore, great care has to be taken on data security.
Implementation of an information system to healthcare is a complex process as there are important implications for learning and adaptation (Fichman, Kohli, & Krishnan, 2011). The staff in the healthcare sector must adapt to the changes in administrative, medicinal, and other changes that the information system will create in the sector. Institutes initially face difficulty in adapting to the new system that will be more complex. Thus, briefing the staff and training them to adjust to the new system is essential.
Another trend observable in the sector is the increased workforce engagement necessary to avoid unnecessary turnover, reduce dissatisfaction among staff, and increasing employee engagement (Bunton et al., 2012). There is a crucial requirement for engaging the staff in order to make them more committed to the institution and increase their job satisfaction (Laschinger, Wong, & Grau, 2012). The stress of healthcare job, often keeps the employees dissatisfied, especially nurses and medical practitioners (Albrecht & Andreetta, 2011). Human resources in the recent future will be responsible to boost staff engagement.
The third trend observable in the healthcare sector is the rise of physicians adopting leadership roles. In order to achieve a performance-based care model, medical practitioners should be allowed to become the administrative leaders of the organizations. Physicians have started assuming leadership roles (Stoller, 2013). Today, healthcare organizations prefer physicians in a leadership position (Stoller, 2013). Many physician-led hospitals are considered better in quality and service.
Given these three poignant trends in the healthcare industry, this paper will seek to understand how they may affect the human resource function, and try to recommend measures to avoid challenges.
Workforce turnover and dissatisfied employees are a perennial problem that human resources in the healthcare sector face. One risk that the healthcare sector in the US faces its aging workforce. As the population is growing older, an increasing number of elderly staff are found in workplaces (Stoller, 2013). Mostly there is the staff that has crossed their retirement age and continues to serve. US Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests an increase in the percentage of labor over 55 years of age from 18.1 percent in 2008 to 23.9 percent in 2018 (Lee et al., 2012).
As the general age of the population is increasing, there will be a greater need for the healthcare facility for the common people in the country. With the rise in the workforce’s age even in the healthcare sector, catering to the demands of the aging population will be increasingly difficult. As the health status of the aging healthcare workers in the US is unknown to the authorities, this may create difficulty in ascertaining the physical fitness of the staff to handle the work pressure at hospitals and medical facilities.
Further, as healthcare workers are open to a wide range of injuries and diseases, the physical fitness of the workers is an important issue, and hence, for the human resources in the healthcare sector, understanding and knowing the health status of all its workers will become vital. The physical demand that a medical job has will not suit elderly workforces who will have health issues of their own. Therefore, understanding the health status of the staff in the future will become very important for human resources.
The rising dissatisfaction of the nursing staff in the healthcare sector is a matter that will trouble the human resources even in the near and distant future. The paucity of nursing staff, rising dissatisfaction with work, and high turnover rate poses nursing as a particular problem to the human resources department in the healthcare sector. Further, dissatisfaction often leads to turnover, which is a great loss for the organization.
In the healthcare sector, once the organization hires a nurse who is trained to understand the processes followed within the hospital suddenly decide to quit, results in severe brain drain and loss of intellectual property. This is not just a monetary loss for the institution but also a brain drain as the nurse may have acquired a lot of knowledge, pertaining to the area she was handling. Therefore, staff satisfaction and retention are two important issues that the human resources in the health care sector must address.
The rise of the information system in the healthcare industry and the need to abreast the staff with the fundamentals of the new system increases the necessity of staff training. Human resources must concentrate on training of the healthcare staff in order to make them understand the utility of the information system.
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