December 14, 2018
As many of us head into final phases of planning for 2019, it’s time to bring the team to the table that’s responsible for juggling workforce management challenges.
Defining the problem
Front-line caregivers make—or break—our healthcare system. The last thing we need is to place employees in less-than-perfect roles, not offer a great scheduling and staffing system, and rely on our gut instincts to take care of our hiring needs. But we can use technology to help us with our workforce management needs so our caregivers can focus on what they do best—take care of patients. I’m going to blog about what I advise for workforce planning as we head into a new year.
1. Think outside the box
Recruiting a skilled workforce can be a challenge, and hiring managers may need to look beyond traditional tactics to identify and recruit employees with high potential. Consider outsourcing less strategic jobs or set up employees as contractors. You could even seek returning veterans or recent retirees to fill temporary gaps.
2. Align short-term and long-term planning
Discerning between issues requiring stop-gap solutions and others requiring more complex, lasting solutions points to a need for strategic insights, data, and predictive analytics. Modern workforce planning tools, integrated to business intelligence tools, help formulate strategies based on data.
3. Demand precision
Modern IT capabilities with business intelligence, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) play an important role in foreseeing future needs. The tech-savvy healthcare organization can develop a granular view of projected labor capacity requirements and go beyond projecting generalized hunches about evolving skillsets. BI tools help managers address complex issues, such as the tradeoff between training existing workers or hiring new recruits.
4. Deploy modern technology and data analytics
Many organizations try to stretch the lifespan of technology and cobble together disparate point solutions to postpone investment, but outdated technology falls short on capabilities and forces professionals to make do with static spreadsheets, pseudo-accurate projections, and late nights of number-crunching and manual report creation.
Modern workforce planning solutions and advanced analytics help turn data into strategy. The HR team can anticipate needed skills, compare new skills to current skillsets, and formulate solutions. Artificial intelligence, using data science and algorithms, applies objective considerations to managing talent, identifies learning opportunities, and tracks training, education, and soft skills.
Everyone in healthcare needs to consider workforce planning as part of an overall strategy toward achieving their organization’s mission. If you’re relying on legacy, patched solutions, you probably don’t have the functionality needed to take on today’s planning needs and keep pace with change. Turning to AI and predictive analytics will play a crucial role in recruiting and retaining the workforce of the future. The right workforce provides optimal patient care while being fiscally responsible.
-Danielle K. Miller PhD (c ), MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM | Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications, Infor