Can Human Resources Help Cure Our Healthcare Crisis?

The healthcare industry is certainly not immune to the ails of the waning workforce talent pool. The World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts a shortage of 12.9 million healthcare workers by 2035, up 79 percent from today’s 7.2 million gap. The good news is organizations that spend time on strategic HR development programs are finding the strain lessened. An exclusive healthcare data cut from the SAP-supported Oxford Economics “Workforce 2020” survey of over 2,700 executives from 27 countries worldwide, provides a window into the HR strategies of high-performers versus companies with below-average profit margins.

Understanding the new face of work

For the first time in history, healthcare organizations have five generations of employees in the workplace along with swelling ranks of contingent workers. They also face unprecedented challenges from continuing globalization and an aging workforce. High-performing healthcare companies are responding strategically; over 50 percent say workforce issues are already driving strategy at the board level. That percentage is only slightly lower for underperformers now but falls to 25 percent in three years.

Avoiding the leadership cliff

Leadership development is critical to the continued growth of healthcare companies. Having a lack of middle managers, and then middle managers moving to upper management, halts progress, camaraderie and productivity. Executives at high-revenue-growth companies are significantly more likely to say that senior positions tend to be filled from within the organization (50 percent vs. 42 percent of underperformers). Similarly, over 50 percent of high-performers say expansion plans are limited by access to the right leadership, compared to 31 percent of underperformers. However, many companies haven’t made the connection between talent strategy and employee engagement, regardless of performance levels. A paltry 17 percent of underperformers and just 29 percent of high-performers say long-term loyalty and retention is an important part of talent strategy.

Bridging the skills gap

It’s shocking how little companies are doing to fix the issues with talent. Nearly one-third of underperformers and 21 percent of high performers say that problems with talent and skills affect business performance. Yet neither group has a groundswell of well-defined processes and tools for developing talent (49 percent of high-performers and 37 percent of underperformers).

Instead of slashing budgets and head count; the more successful companies are instead doubling down on training, management, and talent. Developing your HR team to handle all of these issues will allow for brighter days in the healthcare industry.