Balancing transformation and urgency: HR, Finance, and the future of the remote workforce

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September 16, 2020By Erica Doherty

I was recently part of a grand round event hosted by The Health Management Academy (The Academy), along with a panel of seasoned healthcare executives. During the discussion, we shared a stunning statistic on the state of remote work in the healthcare industry. Almost half – 46 percent – of health systems have measured the productivity of their remote workforce, and all of them have found it to be more productive than in-office work.

That same Academy survey found that remote staffing is a model that’s here to stay. Respondents say they are considering deploying MORE nonclinical workers to work remotely. That has spurred CHROs and CFOs to think very differently about the workplace of the future.

We talked about how workforce transformation has taken on a whole new meaning, rapidly, during COVID-19. Our new, virtual workforce will have impacts across the organization, from the cost of labor to capital and technology investments. We all agreed, we are embarking on an era of challenges to some of the fundamental ways we have approached the way we manage people.

While many in the industry were initially able to rapidly and successfully deploy their remote workforce, concerns around safety remain. For HR leaders, accommodating and building policies for workers when many children remain at home is a big challenge. Flexibility is key, but what boundaries can be put in place to ensure continued productivity?

My colleague, Anthony Hare, also joined The Academy’s CFO grand round, and it should be no surprise that CFOs share the same safety concerns. He shared with me that during the discussion, they spoke of their role, and how they are also looking at existing and future technology investments, recognizing that remote workers may need a different set of skills to truly manage clinical and business operations off-site. Cloud access, mobile applications, talent management, and workforce engagement are top-of-mind for today’s leaders.

All of this will require a global shift in organizational culture, which until now, has been built on in-person work models. How do teams stay connected to each other, while also maintaining a work-life balance? For managers, what tools and resources are we providing to help them to encourage their workers to contribute to the conversation around workplace innovation and strategy? The concept of trust is a big variable in this new, virtual world. Disengagement is a risk.

Individual leaders across functions can and will look at which pandemic protocols can be made permanent. At the same time, we can examine which strategies support equality and inclusion such as supplying reimbursement and childcare options, while developing concrete metrics for measuring productivity.

Supporting managers, leaders, clinicians, non-clinical staff has never required a more nuanced balance. At Infor, we work with leaders to find the technology tools to support transformation and are honored and excited to be part of the dynamic conversations around the people and processes that will carry our industry into the future.

To learn more, read our practical guide to creating a remote workforce strategy>

Erica Doherty, SHRM-SCP is the Industry & Solution Strategy Director for Infor Healthcare Human Capital Management

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