Healthcare is predicted to be the largest growth driving industry in the U.S. economy through 2024.1 At the same time, the hyper-competitive healthcare labor market is facing unprecedented shortages both today and in the foreseeable future. The challenge of finding and keeping talent is compounded by an aging population, seasoned physicians entering into retirement and a historically low unemployment rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the nursing labor shortage alone will reach 1.13 million by 2024.2 When healthcare systems are unable to effectively staff their teams, their metrics decline: patient care, hospital quality and patient satisfaction take a dive, compromising the bottom line and leading to employee burnout.

There is a solution, however, and it’s a big departure from the traditional strategy of managing healthcare talent. When the goals are to reduce turnover, drive down recruitment costs, build a solid talent pipeline and meet current and future demands, employers need to reestablish their talent management efforts as a central function. When employers prioritize the employee experience and address their needs through tailored benefits specific to the healthcare workforce, they’re establishing a unique talent brand and culture that rewards hard work and dedication. The key is understanding which benefits are important to different types of healthcare employees and how to implement them effectively.

Below are the top reasons employers should adopt a proactive healthcare talent management strategy:

1 – Losing healthcare talent is expensive

In healthcare, declining retention hits the bottom line hard. At one major medical center, the cost of annual turnover amounted to more than 5% of its entire annual operating budget.3 When these figures add up to millions of dollars, it can be the difference between being in the black or in the red. Often, retaining top talent hinges on benefits the benefits they receive.. The focus should always be on the needs of the talent base and how the employer can deliver benefit solutions that really matter.

2 – End the burnout cycle

Chronic stress has ripple effects on physical health and employee retention. It can cause poor sleep quality, fatigue, and even serious conditions like high blood pressure, heart attacks and increased suicide rates. With chronically stressed employees 2.6 times more likely to look for a new job, turnover puts pressure on remaining staff, causing even more burnout.  A proactive approach like offering valuable benefits that support well-being and work-life balance can reduce the likelihood of a burnout cycle that burdens remaining staff.

3 – Compensation and benefits are stronger together

Healthcare organizations often feel pressured to jumpstart recruiting efforts by offering sign-on bonuses, but this is a short-sighted strategy that routinely fails. After a year or two at one healthcare system, an employee can easily be poached by another employer offering a sign-on bonus – and so the pattern continues. In addition, offering bonuses to only new hires can cause tension among current employees who don’t receive incentives to keep pace with their demanding day-to-day responsibilities.

Today’s job candidates and employees see compensation and benefits as two halves of a total package. That means upfront compensation doesn’t always win. If a job candidate has multiple prospective employers to choose from and excellent health insurance is their top priority, getting premium healthcare coverage will outrank a one-time sign-on or retention bonus. Offering competitive coverage annually shows more appreciation and loyalty and does more for employee retention than any single sign-on bonus could. 

4 – Thrive during a generational shift

More and more baby boomers are retiring every day, and that downward force on healthcare is both driving demand and shortening talent supply. Nearly a third of practicing physicians are currently of retirement age,4 and as  this generation of talent retires, it’s more important than ever that employers attract replacements for critical roles. Across all generations there’s a need for strong healthcare benefits, but each generation has different ideas about what matters most. A plan for recent graduates might be designed to provide greater wellness and mental health coverage, whereas another plan for mid-career health professionals with families, might provide greater support in dental benefits, like orthodontia coverage. Getting the right mix of benefits in place can have a huge impact in times of change.

Customized Benefit Solutions for Talent in the Healthcare Industry

To address these healthcare industry-specific issues, ArmadaCare has launched a suite of supplemental expense reimbursed insurance plans to strategically boost benefits where they’re most needed. HealthPro Ultimate, HealthPro Advanced and HealthPro Launch, are plans that can be tailored to the benefit needs of specific healthcare professionals and the unique pressures they face. Find out more about these new plans here.