Here’s why you can’t put a price on HR outsourcing in the healthcare industry

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Smiling young female doctor standing in a hospital corridor with a diverse group of medical staff standing behind her

By Jacqueline Trujillo, G&A Partners

Healthcare is the heartbeat of the economy. The men and women who share their time, knowledge, and skills to care for their patients every day, and the people who support their efforts, are the heroes who keep the lifeblood pumping through their communities. But what happens when the job gets too stressful, the caregivers get sick, or critical team members leave the organization? At the end of the day, these heroes are human, too, and they need resources to do their jobs well, just like everyone else. 

Healthcare organizations with in-house HR functions may find that it helps to have additional support available to meet the changing needs of their employees. Outsourcing all or some of this back-office function, along with payroll, benefits, and risk and safety services, can save crucial time and energy on important administration efforts, enabling business owners and managers to focus instead on running a successful, responsive business. A professional employer organization (PEO) can be an affordable resource to consider.

A PEO can save you time, money, and legal headaches

While considered an essential industry long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19, the pandemic has taken its toll on every healthcare employee who has risked their lives to assist and to save others. As a result, some healthcare organizations have suffered staffing shortages much more significant than before the pandemic. If that weren’t enough of a crisis, keeping up with the ever-evolving laws has certainly caused many administrators and healthcare business owners a late night or two of worry.

When organizations outsource their HR and payroll to a PEO, employers are able to relax a little more, secure in the knowledge that their PEO will alert them to new compliance mandates and will help them navigate sticky personnel issues, pay discrepancies, overtime disputes, and more. The peace of mind that comes from hiring a team of experts cannot be overstated. Especially when that team of HR experts can help manage licensing rules and regulations in any state or for multiple states—a particular headache for most in-house healthcare HR staffs.

Time is money and can also mean the difference between life and death in this particular industry. Finding a partner that enables the organization to leverage the PEOs expertise to relieve administrative burdens and reduce liability—especially during these challenging times when it’s a struggle just to stay afloat—may be worth investigating. At a minimum, hiring a PEO will free up more time for employees to provide essential healthcare to clients.

You’re going to need help attracting and retaining employees

Skilled talent can be hard to come by and hard to retain in the healthcare industry, especially during a pandemic when burnout is common among essential workers and exposure and stress can really take a toll on their energy level, should they contract COVID-19. 

Even before the pandemic hit, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that that there will be a glut of healthcare jobs in the U.S. in the coming years—a growth of 15% between 2019 and 2029. Nursing jobs are particularly at risk. With patients’ needs increasing and many nurses retiring (51% of registered nurses are an average age of 50 or older according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing), the BLS estimated that more than 200,000 more nurses will be needed in the U.S. every year to meet the demand and replace retirees.

But when hiring managers also happen to be nurses or doctors in demanding clinical roles, who has time to hire all these nurses or any other essential staff members? This is when outsourcing HR functions to a PEO can truly save an organization.

A PEO can provide the recruiting assistance needed to support critical and increasing needs of a wide range of healthcare positions. Find a PEO partner that offers applicant tracking systems or dedicated recruiters to help fill vacant roles. 

The buying power a PEO has in the benefits marketplace is another boon for its clients. Managing employee benefits for multiple organizations allows a PEO to pass along significant insurance savings to its clients and their worksite employees. Employees can choose from a number of medical-insurance plans at lower rates along with a number of ancillary benefits that typically include dental, vision, and life insurance, as well as telehealth and mental health offerings. 

With this help from a PEO, small and mid-sized healthcare organizations can offer more attractive benefits packages that will not only aid them in retaining their existing employees but help them compete for new talent as well.

A PEO will address skills gaps, improve company culture, and take care of essential workers

Perhaps the best way to attract fresh talent to an organization is to take good care of the talent already on staff. Happy employees can be some of their organizations’ best marketers and recruiters, so building a nurturing business culture is essential. 

To do that, rely on HR experts to survey employees and discern their needs, then take the steps needed to implement incremental changes and maintain them so that the new measures can have a lasting, positive impact.

Trying to do more with too few employees in the healthcare industry can quickly lead to employee burnout. If employees fall behind in this industry, there can be a domino effect that employers definitely want to avoid if they hope to retain their valuable talent.

A PEO can provide assistance in designing and launching programs aimed at talent management and retention, such as:

  • Employee referral programs
  • Reimbursement for healthcare-specific certifications
  • Training that focusses on “upskilling,” particularly for new and emerging technologies that can help employees learn important digital skills to improve their productivity
  • Performance goal setting and evaluations
  • Succession planning
  • Bonuses and recognition programs for tireless nursing and care-giving staff
  • New policies and/or benefits to allow additional time off or increasing paid time off
  • Enabling paid time-off accruals to be carried into the next year to compensate for employees’ dedication and their inability to use their current benefits due to the unprecedented circumstances 

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), businesses that outsource some or all of their HR services to a PEO or HR outsourcing firm can reduce their administrative costs by approximately $450 per employee. When tallying up the pros and cons of partnering with a PEO, keep that tangible benefit in mind with all of the other tangible and intangible benefits discussed here. 

As services go, having the ability to hire HR experts who can look after your essential employees and even provide you with the means to attract new talent to this highly competitive industry can truly be priceless.

Jacqueline Trujillo is a client success manager for G&A Partners, a leading professional employer organization (PEO) that has been helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses for more than 25 years. She currently serves several clients in the healthcare industry from her office in Arizona.

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