How to Mitigate the Impact of the Healthcare Staffing Shortage

Anna Aguilar
July 6, 2022

Hospitals and clinics are at their busiest right now. And it’s becoming abundantly clear, the traditional hiring process is outdated and to slow. The healthcare staffing shortage will continue to be an issue, unless employers and staffing agencies optimize hiring by, increasing employee retention, and improving efficiency wherever possible using automation.

Here are the best ways to mitigate the impact of staffing shortages in healthcare.

Implement New Hiring Strategies

Making adjustments to your hiring practices can pay off in a big way when it comes to lessening the impact of staffing shortages.

Making meaningful changes to the way you find, screen, and onboard your applicants can help mitigate loss and help you get ahead of the curve.

Sourcing Innovation

Organizations within the healthcare industry are competing with one another to hire large quantities of healthcare workers from the same small pool of candidates. Getting creative and finding fresh ways to reach potential applicants can give you the upper hand in filling roles. 

This could look like hosting recruiting events, creating a particular site and running paid advertisements just for potential employees, and reaching out to schools to gain access to new graduates (even if they’ve still got a few years left, it’s better to be future-minded). It could also be beneficial to offer incentives to your existing worker base, like an attractive referral bonus if they source an applicant that makes it through the hiring process.

Streamline Screening

Even though there may be a sense of urgency to fill roles as quickly as possible, it’s still important to ensure candidates moving through the interview funnel are going to stay for the job. It’s better to find long-term solutions than short-term hires that will ultimately leave you with more positions to fill.

Here are some typical processes that can be automated using Bilflo, a real-time automated back-office application:

  • Track Applicants
  • Payroll and Timecard Management
  • Accounting
  • Live Employees Performance Metrics
  • And more

You can do this all without changing the current way you are doing things. Bilflo is an intelligent central hub for all these processes, with seamless compatibility with your current setup. Learn how Bilflo does it.

Increase Retention

Perhaps the most critical aspect of reducing the impact of the staffing shortage is taking measures to hold onto the employees you already have (and keep the new ones you manage to recruit).

Offer Financial Incentives

Because of the low staff supply, workers are often spread thin and take on more duties in their assigned roles to bridge gaps and keep the wheels moving–without a pay increase to match this expansion in their responsibilities. They can often feel overworked, and as a result, they may look for opportunities that offer a better salary in a reduced role. A positive feedback loop occurs in many cases, causing healthcare staffing shortages nationwide. Consider raising wages on all levels to retain your healthcare workers and prevent them from seeking a hiring bonus with another company.

Reduce Burnout

Addressing the second largest concern, burnout is a little more complicated than just increasing pay. It often has to do with reducing the mental and physical workload so that staff doesn’t start to feel overwhelmed.

Implementing policies that protect staff members from abusive language and behavior can improve their mental health and make them feel that management cares, two significant factors in reducing employee burnout. Also, offering access to counseling and other mental health resources can increase worker satisfaction and prevent further staff losses.

Another harm reduction tactic specific to the healthcare industry is ensuring that your practice maintains safe staff-to-patient ratios. This does two things: guarantees current employees are given a manageable workload and reduces the risk of on-the-job mistakes and accidents.

Encourage Employee Feedback

If retention is the ultimate goal, getting input from the employees you’re seeking to hang on to will be beneficial. Creating a good open-door policy or implementing an anonymous suggestion system could offer the most insight into the changes needed to improve the retention rate. 

The trick here is that if you seek counsel from your employees, you must actively listen and make real, measurable, visible changes based on their suggestions. Telling them you value their input and then ignoring it when they become vulnerable enough to share their concerns with your organization will backfire. They could have more significant consequences than you would have faced without asking for opinions. If they offer tangible solutions to systemic flaws in your hospital or clinic, develop them into policy. Your healthcare workers are, after all, the most qualified people to make decisions that will shape the future of healthcare institutions.

Invest in Efficiency

Actively seeking out ways to increase efficiency wherever possible can help bridge gaps in staffing. Make no mistake; this is not advocating for taking shortcuts and leaving jobs half done–instead, it’s recommending a close investigation of processes and procedures that could be improved to make human involvement as minimal as possible.

This could look like upgrading software, investing in new technology, or shifting outdated policies to manage healthcare administration effectively.

The Bottom Line

Your approach to mitigating losses shouldn’t focus on any one of these suggestions in particular, rather they should be used in combination to form a comprehensive strategy to ensure staffing needs are met and maintained in the long term. There are many ways to retain your current workforce and supplement it through recruiting initiatives to beat the healthcare staffing shortage.

Focus on what’s important, managing current staff, and bringing on the right new hires. Stay ahead of the healthcare staffing shortage for good.

Try Bilflo, you can save time and labor while doing more to help your staff, ease the effects of current shortages, and recruit new staff. To learn more, schedule a demo with us today.