What Skills Are Healthcare Employees Missing?
Healthcare staffing has been a rollercoaster for hiring managers and healthcare systems alike over the last year, with some hospitals and non-emergent care providers hemorrhaging jobs at the start of the pandemic. In June, the need for frontline healthcare workers once again spiked, with providers adding new roles and open positions to recover from the over 100,000 jobs previously lost. One thing remains constant, however: the need for continued in-depth training for new and current employees. As the world continues to navigate the pandemic while preparing to provide millions of vaccinations across the country, skilled frontline healthcare workers are more vital than ever. To ensure your staff is ready and able to handle the high demand of new patients, reliance on telehealth, and the first waves of vaccinations, you first need a clear picture of what skills your employees are missing.
Start with a skills gap analysis. This process will help you spot opportunities for upskilling and development. Look for the answers to these four questions:
- What skills do employees need to do their jobs?
- What competencies do you anticipate employees will need in the future?
- Do your employees have everything identified by the first two questions?
- How can you fill the gaps?
Identify the skills – or lack thereof – your employees currently possess
- Talk to management - Managers have a first-hand understanding of what it takes to do the job and what skills their employees may need to improve. Interview them one-on-one or provide a fill in the blank style survey.
- Survey employees - Go straight to the people who do the job and ask them what skills they feel are most essential. You may be surprised by their answers.
- Review business objectives - Look at the overall goals for your business or a specific department. What skills do employees need to help reach these goals?
After assessing what skills are needed, prioritize them by determining which are essential to success in the role immediately versus those that can be developed over time.
Inventory existing skillsets in employees
Both education and experience can help employees build essential skills, but a certificate or a decade of experience doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the employee built the specific skills you need them to have. Don’t assume, but rather take steps to inventory what skills workers possess and what they’re currently lacking. The following can provide useful data that can be leveraged when discussing training initiatives with leadership.
- Administer a skills test - The most straightforward way to assess skills is with a practical test. Make sure the test is focused on only essential skills and you have a clear scoring system in place. An outside consultant might be useful here.
- Review performance results - Look at how employee performance measures up to expectations. You can often draw conclusions about missing skills based on where employees are not meeting performance goals.
- Ask employees - Many employees know where their weaknesses are. Ask them outright what skills they feel they could improve or where they would like to see more training.
- Project future needs - As your business evolves into the future, its skills needs may change. Take into account the skills employees will need to do their job in the next few years, to make sure that your skills gap analysis remains accurate into the near future.
Create a strategy to identify and address skills gaps in current and incumbent employees
Through career pathway programs and certificates, you can prepare new employees to successfully tackle job tasks in a shorter period of time, ensuring your team is ready to handle an influx of patients. With programs that can be completed in as little as six months online, you can provide training and upskilling that form the foundation of a strong, successful healthcare team.
From training for newly in-demand roles like contacting tracing to providing certification preparation for pharmacy technicians, the Healthcare Careers Institute can help. Contact a training expert today to get started.