Using Technology to Help Address The Public Health Workforce Deficit

With the World Health Organisation recognising that we have a global health workforce shortage, countries around the world are looking to strengthen their health workforce.

We see this across both public and private sectors here in Australia with action taken such as NSW Health Professionals Workforce Plan, Health Ministers have agreed to the development of an Indigenous-led National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Medical Workforce Plan (which not only improves the health workforce but creates a workforce diversity representative of Australian society) and private health organisations creating new employee engagement schemes to retain talent.

To put a number to all of this, modelling of Australian’s Health Workforce shows a deficit by 2025 of 109,500 nurses and 2,700 doctors.

Health care workforce challenges

All of us who operate in the human resources eco-system of the health sector know there is no silver bullet. The challenges are broad and varied;

  1. The health workforce is aging, reducing the working hours undertaken by healthcare professionals
  2. The geographic spread of the health workforce does not reflect the distribution of the population, nor the level of healthcare need
  3. Workforce shortages exist across many professions, particularly in outer metropolitan, regional and remote areas and in disadvantaged populations
  4. Distributed locations often leads to decentralised recruitment
  5. Shift based roles add a level of recruiting complexity

These are just the main ones I observe, there are nuanced additions depending on the role of the healthcare provider.

Is the answer staring us in the face?

But we can take a large step forward, and it comes (in the maybe unexpected?)  form of the Recruiting Software you go with. The exact software that your talent acquisition team are utilising every day. Your HR management software is only as good as the data in it, and a lot of valuable time can be wasted when your HR team is manually inputting people data into your HR system when they could be focused on more productive activities.

Having up to date information on the skills, experience, salary expectations, workforce preferences and the willingness to relocate of your past, current and future workforce can unlock valuable insights to drive your HR, people, and culture strategies.

A Live Talent Community is an easy way to bring your talent data to life, outperforming traditional HR recruitment software by creating pools of talent profiles that are qualified, interested and available for future opportunities with your company.

Older HR recruitment software collects minimal data on a candidate during application, the resume used for the application isn’t digital, cannot be updated or searched in future, and loses its usefulness almost immediately. With a Live Talent Community, candidates create a digital profile when they join.

They own and update their profile ongoing as they gain new skills or change their workforce preferences. This means long after the hire has been made, you have an employee’s digital record in the cloud, that maintains freshness of information without your HR team having to keep it up to date.

Your Live Talent Community can be used as powerful HR tracking software, managing your internal workforce across teams, divisions, and locations. You can integrate your Talent Community with your other HRIS software, to send live data to your on-boarding, payroll, and learning and development systems, and avoid duplicating effort.

With candidate experience paramount in a competitive talent market, communicating with great talent through your HRM software is as intuitive as conversing with colleagues over email, video, SMS, and chat, through your mobile or desktop, with all communication and activities automatically logged into the platform, so your team doesn’t need to do it twice. When your HR team changes over time, you have a perfect record to pick up and continue the conversations with talent without missing a beat.

What to prioritise?

The Government of Western Australia went on this exact journey, and you can see their recent press release here. As did Alfred Health, you can view the video made of their story here. So when health care HR leaders are thinking through all parts of their HCM, from recruiting, on-boarding, employee performance, learning & development to time management, payroll and rem & reward. It is worth remembering that you want to build it right from the front end, and ensue you have the right people, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time.

One of the great mysteries of the workplace is that few people understand that recruitment is the most important decision that they will ever make.  It is the most important decision because people drive everything that happens in any workplace.

The better the choice of those people, the more likely it is that the workplace will be productive, effective, happy and a good place to be.  The worse the recruitment outcome, the more likely a workplace will fail to deliver on its objectives, have budget blowouts, or become an awful place to work, with numerous problems, difficult relationships and poor communication.

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