A Guide to Staff Management in Healthcare: 3 Top Tips

Healthcare staff face the camera
Min Yee
July 15, 2022
1 min read
Healthcare staff face the camera

In healthcare, the most crucial resource is none other than your human capital. Talent Sourcing and acquisition, as well as retaining skilled employees, can be a challenge. Hence it’s up to exquisite staffing management to retain these talents.

Hence, this article is a guide to staff management, its ins and outs, and 3 top tips for staff management in healthcare and your organisation. So let’s get into it.

Why is staff management crucial in healthcare?

Staff management, also known as human resources management, optimises staffing resources in your organisation. If done correctly, staff management can be the key solution to the predominant challenge in healthcare – the staffing deficit.

The goal of staff management in healthcare is to ensure your organisation can compete in the future. Organisations can hire and retain the correct talent pool to support and carry out the organisational goals and mission.

The foundation of a thriving healthcare organisation lies in the talent pool with relevant skills and employee engagement & productivity. Thus, it’s essential to place the correct staff with the appropriate skills in the right department.

Staff management is essential to remain in compliance with the ever-changing regulations and policies. It ensures the whole hiring process revolves around HR practices such as hiring, performance management and learning & development.

Challenges of staff management in healthcare

Talent acquisition

Talent acquisition of staff has always been the rudimentary aspect of staffing challenges in healthcare. It’s been mentioned in several articles the severity of staffing shortage in healthcare. But, I’m going to say it yet again.

The deficit of staff in healthcare is severe to the extent of being recognised by WHO (World Health Organisation). Australian’s Health Workforce predicts that by 2025, there’ll be a shortage of 112,200 healthcare professionals, including nurses and doctors.

These numbers are just an estimate prediction before facing the pandemic. However, with a sudden turn of events, the pandemic will negatively affect the numbers even more so significantly, and the deficit of staff in healthcare will be even more prominent.

Therefore, staff management in healthcare is extremely important in an organisation’s talent acquisition.

Employee burnout and retention

As everyone is aware, working in healthcare can take a toll on a staff’s physical, emotional, and mental health. Not to mention, the shortage of staff only worsens the burnout and stress employees face.

Employees facing burnout are more likely to be highly disengaged in the organisation. They are more likely to miss work without a legitimate reason and possess a negative attitude towards the patients, leading to negative interactions.

Employees with burnout harm not only themselves but also the patients and the quality of service provided. They bring a myriad of problems for the organisation and HR department, as they’re more inclined to resign.

Hence, organisations need to check on employees’ well being regularly to retain your employees and provide the best quality service your healthcare facility can offer.

Training & development of staffin healthcare
Training & development of staff in healthcare

Training & development

In addition to the deficit staffing and employee burnout in healthcare, training & development poses another critical challenge for staff management in healthcare.

The healthcare industry is one where the skill sets, certificates and licences are significant, and staff require constant training and development. Hence, they are required to keep track of their certificates and licences deadlines for compliance.

The lag in keeping the skills updated is a primary threat and will cause potential danger to healthcare patients. Nowadays, employees are also looking forward to upgrading their skillsets and accessing career advancement opportunities.

Moreover, healthcare organisations can integrate age technology to adapt to a digital-ready world. Healthcare management technology can replace much mundane, repetitive work, and it can have a powerhouse database to sync all the patients’ and employees’ records.

Their thirst for growth, coupled with industries shifting towards digitalisation in this 21st technology advanced career, is vital for organisations to provide employee engagement through training.

3 tips to optimise staff management in healthcare

I’ve laid out the fundamentals, the importance, and the challenges faced by staff management in healthcare. Now it’s time to share 3 tips to optimise staff management in your organisation.

Tip #1: Utilise employee engagement tools

Of course, the first tip to staff management in healthcare is to counter the most evident issue facing human resources management – the staffing deficit. What organisations can do, firstly, is to utilise employee engagement tools.

Unlike healthcare tools to streamline your system and processes, employee engagement tools allow for two-way communication between the management and employees. Furthermore, keeping open communication channels is also excellent staff management.

Upward communication is a vital process for employees to directly communicate with the management about any issues, concerns, ideas and feedback regarding their workflow. This is an excellent opportunity to keep dissatisfied employees engaged and for them to continue excelling in their job.

When employees raise concerns, it’s instrumental for them to be heard, and it connects the employee to the organisation’s goals and mission. This causes employee engagement to increase and potentially retain your talents.

One good employee engagement tool is using a questionnaire to garner valuable employee feedback. Questionnaires are not 100% foolproof, and there are certain things to consider with an employee questionnaire, such as getting feedback on the working environment.

Allow healthcare staff to select their rostered shifts
Allow healthcare staff to select their rostered shifts

Tip #2: Assess and leverage suitable working hour models – rostering

The healthcare industry isn’t like other industries, where the standard 9 – 5 office hours, with occasional overtime work. Instead, the healthcare industry is very much volatile and unpredictable. This is why staff management in healthcare is very much emphasised.

You can’t predict when a massive accident or surge in viral cases will happen, requiring a high demand for healthcare workers. Yet, you can’t have staff walking around idling because there aren’t many patients needing help.

The solution is to adopt fluctuating shifts and different working hour models, also known as rostering. Healthcare organisations can also consider engaging part-time healthcare workers to lighten the load during peak demand.

Since Australia has a larger part-time staff population, engaging their services to aid in redundant administrative tasks allows for better staff allocation.

Full-time healthcare professionals can make use of the valuable time to complete other more productive tasks. In addition, delegating workers to the roster enables more flexibility and control in workforce planning.

For example, there could be a morning shift where full-time healthcare workers work fewer hours on weekdays than weekends. However, the total hours of morning shift work will be slightly more than those working night shift, as generally, the down periods in a healthcare facility is in the evening.

Tip #3 Maximise employee efficiency

While we can’t increase headcount at a whim, what we can do in the meantime is to maximise employees’ efficiency. This is what staff management in healthcare essentially is.

It’s the organisation’s role to constantly ensure all staff are in the correct position and function. For example, someone might be suited for a job position ten years back, but that doesn’t mean the same person will be equally suited for the same role.

Performance management plays a role here, promoting the deserving employees or shifting and even letting go of highly disengaged employees. Unfortunately, more often than not, highly disengaged employees do not perform up to expectations as well.

Employers have to be tactile when handling such situations, and communication plays a significant role in conveying the information. More specifically, they have to master specific soft skills such as communication, getting straight to the point without leading the employee, and being tactful not to hurt their morale.

Don’t always look at these situations in a bad light, though. Employees who are not suited in that position, team or organisation doesn’t necessarily mean they’re redundant elsewhere. On the contrary, they could thrive even better in other circumstances and benefit everyone in the long run.

Thus, delegating suitable tasks for each employee and allocating them to appropriate job functions and organisations will maximise employee efficiency. It’s an achievement for staff management in healthcare, and organisations should take ownership of this.

In conclusion

Staff management in healthcare organisations is instrumental to the quality of service provided to the patients, the employees’ productivity and engagement and most indefinitely, the organisations’ performance and goals.

It’s not as challenging as it sounds, albeit the challenges faced – talent acquisition, employee burnout & retention, and training & development of staff.

All it takes is a few handy tips to effectively master staff management in healthcare in your organisation. Here’s a recap of the 3 tips provided:

  • Utilise employee engagement tools, such as questionnaires. This keeps communication channels open, allows for two-way communication, and increases employee engagement.
  • Assess and leverage suitable working hour models, also known as rostering. The healthcare industry can leverage on effective rostering, due to the industry’s job scope.
  • Lastly, maximising employee efficiency since staff numbers can’t be increased overnight, organisations should make do with what they have. Employers should carry out this process with tact and, when done pertinently, can be beneficial for everyone.

Hopefully, the above guide will be sufficient for you to effectively manage the staff in your organisation to meet business goals.

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