HCA 459: Senior Project
Instructor: Vicki Sowle
Submitted: September 27, 2010
Sixty-nine percent of health care organizations report having moderate to substantial difficulty retaining employees with critical skills, compared with 43% of organizations across all industries, according to a reports by Watson Wyatt Worldwide and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration reports. Jamie Hale of Watson Wyatt said the high-stress condition in hospitals explains why some workers want to leave. Chronic shortages of nurses and physical therapists needed at hospitals and clinics heighten employee retention problems. Health care workers almost always have job opportunities abroad. For example, a pharmacist could work at a retailer instead of a hospital and a nurse could work for a health insurer. In addition, the report -- which is based on survey responses from 110 health organizations -- finds that 42% of health care organizations offer comprehensive reward strategies, such as retirement plans and vacations, compared with 70% of other industries (Hale, 2010). This paper will be used to better understand the challenges involved in recruiting and retaining qualified employees to replace the large number of employees who recently retired or are reaching retirement age in the coming years. The healthcare industry and the public have an interest in ensuring that trained, qualified employees are available to work.
Over the past year, the shortage of healthcare workers has received increased attention. In fact, HHS recently launched a campaign to encourage school children to consider careers in nursing and the health professions. As baby boomers retire, they will far outnumber those in the workforce. Retired baby boomers will require more healthcare services, and healthcare organizations will need to be staffed adequately to provide those services.
More important, perhaps, than demographics, is the shift in work ethic. For example, although government predictors have suggested that baby boomers would work longer than their parents, surveys conducted by the AARP over the past five years suggest that the majority of workers in their SOs plan to retire from full-time work as early as possible, but want to work part-time until they are physically unable to do so. This more confident and mobile workforce is willing to leave jobs that do not meet its needs. And most workers are confident that they have the skills needed to succeed in the new world of work. Among the youngest workers, a group that healthcare organizations will have to woo in record numbers, this shift in values and expectations is particularly dramatic.
These statistics indicate that healthcare employers need to meet the expectations of the workforce. Five major shifts have occurred in workers' expectations. Employees today want to achieve balanced lives, partnership with their employers, experience personal and professional growth, feel they are making a worthwhile contribution in their job, and enjoy a sense of community at work.
At a time when fewer U.S. workers are covered with an employer-supplied group health plan -- fewer than 60 percent last year, compared with 64 percent in 2000 -- a counter-trend is emerging, at least among large employers (Hale, 2010). The combination of large employee retirements, an aging workforce, relatively few new hires, and a significant increase in business has recently resulted in a number of challenges to the industry. The Healthcare industry is currently in the midst of an economic renaissance, and government projections indicate that demand will continue to grow. The U.S. government projections indicate that the demand will continue to grow. Competitive salary and benefits,
flexible schedule options, and tuition assistance are three basics in employee retention. Especially for millennial employees,...