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Jul 6, 2023 — Carly Miller

Combatting the Skills Gap in Healthcare

The healthcare industry faces a significant challenge due to the shortage of skilled healthcare workers. This issue has been prevalent for years and is becoming increasingly challenging to address.

With an aging population and growing demand for quality care, a skilled healthcare workforce is essential. With this need comes an increased demand for effective hiring strategies that directly target the skills needed to succeed in healthcare.

To combat the healthcare skills gap, recruiters must adopt innovative strategies, including identifying and nurturing new talent, upskilling current employees, developing partnerships with educational institutions, and embracing technology.

In this blog, we explore each of these strategies in-depth and provide valuable insights on how you can overcome the skills gap in healthcare.

What is the Skills Gap in Healthcare?

A healthcare worker in scrubs holding a mask and a stethoscope

In healthcare, the skills gap refers to the disparity between the demands of the industry and the available talent pool to fulfill these demands. The healthcare industry requires a diverse range of specialized healthcare workers with expertise in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health.

However, there is a significant shortage of skilled healthcare professionals due to a tough labor market, an aging workforce, retiring baby boomers, and a lack of interest among younger generations in healthcare professions.

This shortage can lead to increased patient wait times, decreased quality of care, increased healthcare costs, and workforce burnout.

Additionally, this gap is expected to widen, making it necessary for healthcare recruiters to adopt innovative strategies to bridge the skills gap and ensure that quality care is accessible to all patients.

How to Strategically Address the Skill Gap

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It is essential to find strategic ways to address healthcare skill gaps and ensure that the healthcare industry can access a skilled workforce.

By adopting innovative strategies, recruiters can bridge the skills gap and ensure the longevity and health of the healthcare industry.

Identify and Nurture New Talent

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Finding and nurturing new talent is an essential strategy to address the skills gap in healthcare. Proactively identifying talented healthcare professionals who can help fill your open healthcare jobs is crucial.

Finding new talent and nurturing it is necessary, providing opportunities for career development and healthcare professional growth.

There are a few strategies that you can use to find and nurture new talent.

Targeted Recruitment Strategies

You can focus on attracting healthcare workers with specific skill sets and experience using targeted recruitment strategies. These strategies can include social media advertising and job boards. You can also implement referral programs that incentivize current employees to recruit other healthcare professionals in their network.

Active Sourcing

Active sourcing involves proactively contacting potential candidates who may not have applied for a position. Using this strategy, you can identify candidates who are interested in new opportunities and have the technical or soft skills to succeed in your job openings.

Career Fairs and Networking Events

Career fairs and networking events allow you to connect with job seekers personally. This strategy lets you showcase your organization, promote your positive work environment, and identify potential talent.

Effective Onboarding and Training Programs

Once a candidate is hired, it’s important to provide a strong onboarding program to ensure they feel welcome and supported. Additionally, providing opportunities for career development and growth through training and development programs can help retain talented employees.

Upskill Current Employees

A group of young healthcare workers smiling at the camera

In addition to finding and nurturing new talent, it’s equally essential to upskill current employees and identify their skills gaps to bridge the skills gap in healthcare.

By investing in the professional development of current employees, you can build a skilled workforce that can meet the demands of the healthcare industry. There are several strategies that you can use to upskill current employees.

Monitor Performance

Regular performance evaluations can help identify an employee’s strengths and areas for improvement. You can provide targeted development opportunities by identifying areas where employees need additional training or support.

Leadership Development

Providing leadership development and professional growth opportunities can help employees develop the soft skills they need to take on more responsibilities within the organization. This strategy helps retain talented employees and ensures that the organization has a pipeline of future leaders.

Continuing Education

Healthcare organizations can support their employees’ continuing education by providing tuition reimbursement or partnering with educational institutions to offer training programs. This strategy helps employees stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and improves the quality of care provided to patients.

Develop Meaningful Partnerships

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Developing meaningful partnerships is a critical strategy that can help bridge the skills gap in healthcare. Healthcare organizations can partner with educational institutions, private businesses, and other organizations to develop training programs, internships, and mentorship opportunities to help close the skills gap and improve patient outcomes.

By working together, these organizations can create a talent pipeline that ensures a steady stream of skilled professionals enters the healthcare industry. These partnerships can also provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills and stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends.

For example, healthcare organizations can partner with educational institutions to develop programs that provide students with the skills and experience they need to succeed in healthcare careers.

Similarly, private businesses can partner with healthcare organizations to provide mentorship and training opportunities for employees.

By developing meaningful partnerships, you can create a sustainable solution to the skills gap and ensure the continued success of the healthcare industry.

Embrace Technology

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Technology has revolutionized the way healthcare is delivered, and by adopting new technologies, healthcare recruiters can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and provide better patient care. Technology can also help bridge the skills gap by making training employees easier and ensuring they have the skills to perform their jobs effectively.

Get familiar with the following healthcare technologies to start revolutionizing your recruitment process.

Social Media

Social media has become an essential tool for healthcare recruitment and identifying skills. You can use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to connect with job seekers, build your employer brand, and connect with industry professionals.

Social media can also be used to promote job opportunities and reach a wider audience than traditional job postings. Additionally, social media platforms can be used to showcase the culture and values of an organization, giving potential candidates a sense of what it’s like to work there.

Healthcare organizations can also use social media to identify skills and trends in the industry. By monitoring conversations and tracking hashtags related to healthcare topics, organizations can gain insights into the latest developments and identify potential areas for growth.

You can also use social media to engage with industry thought leaders and experts, providing learning and professional development opportunities.

Applicant Tracking Systems

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) are an effective tool for identifying and recruiting qualified job seekers. These systems automate recruitment by filtering resumes, tracking candidate progress, and organizing candidate data.

ATSs can be programmed to search for specific skills and experience, making it easier to identify candidates who meet job posting requirements. This saves time and helps ensure you consider the most qualified candidates.

Additionally, ATSs allow you to manage the entire hiring process from one central location. This makes it easier to collaborate with hiring managers and track candidate progress.

Using ATSs, you can create a more efficient and effective recruitment process that strengthens the healthcare industry.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is an effective recruitment tool that can help healthcare organizations find qualified candidates efficiently.

AI-powered recruitment tools can analyze resumes, job postings, and social media data to identify potential candidates with the required skills and experience.

Additionally, AI can automate the application process, making it easier for job seekers to apply. AI-powered chatbots can also answer candidate questions, improving the candidate experience and reducing your workload.

AI can also reduce bias in the recruitment process, helping to ensure that all candidates are evaluated fairly based on their qualifications.

Find the Right Candidates

By utilizing the above strategies, healthcare recruiters can bridge the skills gap and build a skilled workforce. Healthcare recruiters must focus on implementing these solutions to find the right candidates for open positions.

By doing this, healthcare organizations will be able to meet the demands of an aging population and ensure that all patients have access to quality healthcare.

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