3 Ways to Solve Staffing Issues

There is a no "one-size-fits-all" solution when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

By Eric Waller

Healthcare facilities managers do not have to look far to find another headline highlighting the nationwide worker shortage. Whether the cause of the shortage is the Great Resignation across all industries, baby boomers choosing to retire, or specific pain points in high-stress positions, this problem keeps many leaders in hospitals and other healthcare facilities up at night. 

But they are leaders for a reason and have tools at their disposal to help alleviate some of this ongoing staffing pinch, including being transparent with their workforce, expanding their search for talent and getting creative with curbing burnout. But the most important thing to keep in mind when considering ways to attract and retain talent is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. 

Succession planning 

Every organization should have a succession plan in place because people will leave the company at some point, whether to retire, to pursue another opportunity or for any reason in between. It is a manager’s responsibility to prepare for who will carry on staff members’ responsibilities when that time inevitably comes. Not only will this approach create a smoother transition. It will also keep the whole team on track toward a common goal or mission within the organization. 

Once a succession plan is in place, managers need to be transparent with staff and have an honest discussion about the succession pipeline to maintain the organization’s core values, vision and direction — where a manager would like to see the organization head months, years and decades from now. At the same time, managers also need to be prepared to accept that some members of the workforce do not want to step into leadership roles. In these cases, the responsibility falls on managers to expand their search to new and unique spaces. 

An outside look 

Today’s staffing shortages are not exclusive to trade or lower-skilled jobs. Managers in all types of facilities are also finding it more difficult to replace certain leadership positions within a company because many of the people who held those positions retired or moved on. With this information in mind, managers need to consider looking outside of their sectors to recruit talent to fill these essential roles. 

Expanding the search parameters not only has the potential to identify someone for the job. It also creates an opportunity to bring in a fresh perspective. These individuals might have different ideas about ways to work through a process or a problem the company has been trying to overcome and can provide new insights to move a company’s goals forward. 

Dealing with burnout 

While staff work diligently to further an organization’s mission, it is inevitable that staff will experience burnout at some point. What differs among employees is the way they combat it. 

Burnout is a popular buzzword in headlines and news articles that provide a swath of blanketed advice and tips to curb it, but the reality is that everyone deals with this problem differently. As a result, it is so important for leadership to talk with their staff about what they need to help them address those common burnout symptoms. 

For some, the remedy might be unplugging from work and taking a few days off. For others, it could be taking 30 minutes to an hour for themselves during their workday to pray, meditate or exercise. 

Talking with staff to identify the methods that work best for them and encouraging them to use those tools to combat burnout can help workers stay engaged and invigorated to help the organization achieve its goals. 

The nationwide worker shortage is hitting hospitals and other healthcare facilities at all levels, and it is forcing managers to examine creative approaches to mitigate it. Whether those approaches include expanding the search for new talent, communicating with staff about succession planning or learning the way each person deals with burnout, managers must be open to innovative ideas about ways to attract, retain and grow their talent during as they deal with a much different status quo than ever. 

Eric Waller is vice president of field support services at Medxcel, where he is responsible for the oversight and operational performance of these support divisions. He participates on the executive team to achieve growth initiatives, strategy and other functions. Waller is a seasoned facilities management, construction and emergency services leader with more than 20 years’ experience in the industry. 

April 22, 2022

Topic Area: Maintenance and Operations

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