Over the past five years, the health care industry has seen substantial legislative reform. With unprecedented effect on revenues, hospitals have been making an effort to alleviate the pressure on their largest expense: employees. Thirty-eight hospitals and health systems announced or implemented workforce reductions affecting more than 100 employees last year, and 2015 may not be much more encouraging.

However, as health care layoffs continue to pop up around the nation, an important trend has been clearly recognized: a talent shortage still exists in this industry.

A growing talent shortage

More than one million new nurses will be needed in the U.S. by 2022 to replace an aging workforce that’s set to retire soon. With this kind of mass exit looming, nurses are in high demand despite the widespread labor cuts.

Primary physicians make up another highly coveted employee population due to the greater health care needs of our aging Boomer generation. Nearly 70 percent of hospital executives are concerned about the primary physician shortage–and rightfully so. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts that the U.S. will face a shortage of up to 90,000 physicians by the year 2025.[1]

The pressing need for specific new talent is complicated by cost-cutting layoffs, and many health care organizations are left to asking themselves, “How can we keep layoffs from hurting our ability to attract, hire, and retain the right talent in the future?”

Outplacement matters

In an ever-changing work environment like health care, an outplacement offering can be the best approach. Around 74% of HR professionals cite a company’s reputation as critical for successful recruiting. Layoffs can have a tremendous impact on company reputation, so how these labor cuts are handled today may affect your ability to hire tomorrow.

Reassuring employees that they’ll be receiving help through a career transition, if the time comes, can go a long way toward reducing the uncertainty that arises due to workforce reductions. Employees that exit–as well as those that remain–are less likely to criticize or damage a hospital’s reputation if they feel they’re being treated with respect and courtesy during a layoff.

Transition assistance like outplacement or redeployment programs should be top of mind for any hospital recruiter given the recent trend in cost-cutting layoffs and talent shortages. A proactive approach to managing workforce reductions can be critical to securing the best talent moving forward. (Keep in mind that more than 80 percent of health care employers provide transition assistance. If you aren’t offering this to potential employees, they will look for it somewhere else).

Handling layoffs well will affect your ability to hire in the future, so be proactive today to ensure the wellbeing of your hospital or health care system tomorrow.

Make sure to check out this infographic to learn more about the role of outplacement in the health care field.

[1] Association of American Medical Colleges, “Physician Supply and Demand Through 2025: Key Findings,” 2015. https://www.aamc.org/download/426260/data/physiciansupplyanddemandthrough2025keyfindings.pdf

26 July 2015

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