Back in April 2022 I authored an article entitled "Life Amid COVID: How Managing Staff Has Changed". It discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic along with what we were beginning to understand as the ‘Great Resignation (1)’ which was coined by Anthony Klotz a professor at the UCL School of Management. The ‘Great Resignation’ which began in early 2021 continued until April 2023. COVID-19 resulted in many medical staff offices moving to be fully remote for the first time. All at once COVID-19 changed how we worked and how managers had to manage their staff. What we didn’t realize at the time though was that the subsequent great resignation would leave many medical staff offices with unfilled openings. With the data collected over the past year and a half we can now start to see where organizations are headed.
Our 2023 Annual Report on Medical Staff Credentialing found that 62.8% of the 444 respondents to the survey had to recruit staff in the last 12 months with the two biggest recruitment challenges being candidates with the skill set for the position (75.1%) and finding experienced candidates (74%). Yes, the number of applicants is up, sometimes dramatically, however the pool of qualified candidates is limited. To a certain extent this isn’t terribly surprising. During the early days of COVID-19 we saw many medical staff offices furloughing staff, some of which never returned. In 2021, 23.3% of survey participants of our annual survey on medical staff credentialing reported credentialing staff had been furloughed or permanently laid off. However, in our 2022 survey, only 43.3% of participants reported that their organization had added this furloughed or laid off staff back (3). Throughout 2021 and into 2022 we also saw employees pivoting to other roles or other fields all together. Even now, healthcare workers continue to resign, however, not at the rate we saw during the ‘Great Resignation’ when 4.5 million resignations were recorded in November 2021 at the highest level in governmental records dating back to 20004 . It’s fair to say that many of these resignations came from front line staff, however as anyone who works in credentialing or enrollment can tell you, our offices were not immune to this phenomenon.
As we head into 2024, where do we stand in terms of the employment landscape and how has managing staff changed? Throughout 2022 and into 2023 we saw many organizations, including in healthcare, asking employees to return to the office (RTO), at least a few days a week, if not fully. On the other hand, some organizations blazed ahead with a fully remote workforce. They no longer have offices and are looking to a new, fully virtual future. When we think about Medical Staff operations or credentialing there isn’t necessarily a clear-cut answer on the best approach. Not only is each organization different, but the processes they are performing can also vary widely. This often comes across when I talk to my colleagues about what their organization is doing as they search for a path forward. Managers are looking to balance the needs of their organizations while considering what is needed to retain staff and recruit new employees.
WFH Research conducts a monthly Survey of Working Arrangements and Attitudes and has found that in 2023 the percentage of paid full days worked from home appears to have stabilized.
These results indicate that most organizations have determined whether they are going to be office based, hybrid or remote. In our 2023 Annual Report on Medical Staff Credentialing, we did not include any questions asking respondents what their current work model is. However, we plan to ask this question in 2024 so we can better understand where healthcare organizations are landing. This information may help provider further insights for leaders who are still undecided or interested in seeing what other organizations within the industry are doing. Keep an eye out for our 2024 survey which should be hitting your inbox in early 2024!
As organizations look to better manage their staff in this new work environment, they should look to implement some of the following, if they have not already:
While these are just a few suggestions, hopefully they will further discussions within your organization not only amongst leadership, but your employees as well. These can also be good considerations even if your organization requires employees to be onsite. Having this data may help give your organization an edge when it comes to recruiting or filling open positions in what has become an increasingly competitive market for experienced talent.
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