By Jeff Gorski
The complex demands of hospital staffing have led some to outsource administrative functions so they can focus on their core mission of providing the highest quality medical care in a cost-effective way. Whether on staff or hired on a contract basis, these employees are at the forefront of a new emphasis on patient satisfaction and improving the entire hospital experience. How can the Revenue Cycle Management (RCM), Health Information Management (HIM) and Release of Information (ROI) companies source the talent they need to fulfill their hospital contracts?
Healthcare accounted for 19.9 million jobs in 2018, which is predicted to grow to 23.3 million by 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the American Hospital Association, 5.2 million of those jobs are in one of the country’s 6,210 hospitals.
Hospitals are increasingly outsourcing a number of administrative positions or functions that don’t involve direct patient care:
- Insurance verification
- Patient-facing activities
- Patient education
If you’re a hospital or outsourcing provider, you may need a staffing partner with experience in sourcing, recruiting and retaining candidates with the skill sets you need.
Because most of the administrative positions deal with patients and their families, it’s important for job candidates to have exceptional people skills, empathy and a flair for customer service. They need to display sensitivity to the customer/patient experience. It’s also crucial for employees to be trustworthy and to have a keen understanding of compliance and privacy issues, especially if they’re dealing with health records or other patient data.
Healthcare organizations have a number of advantages that appeal to candidates who have experience in customer service. Hospitals especially are more well-known — they’re often the largest employer in the region. They are also often smaller than a call center, which will appeal to workers who don’t thrive in boisterous work spaces. Work hours are generally regular and fixed, and it’s a clean, professional environment. Most organizations are very stable, offering a steady and secure work experience.
What’s crucial in an era of record low unemployment is for employers to act quickly. A lengthy, cumbersome hiring process will cause candidates to drop off as they lose interest or accept competing offers.
Creating a positive employee experience begins even before onboarding. Studies show that candidates often feel uncertainty and fear between when they accept the offer and the start date. To avoid that, set clear expectations in compliance requirements and in preparation for their transition to the company, stay in communication.
After you’ve recruited top talent, it is important to focus on retaining your workforce. According to Aerotek’s Workplace Satisfaction Report relaying the findings of a 2019 worker survey, among the top factors influencing engagement were:
- Opportunities for growth advancement
- To have their ideas taken seriously
- To receive recognition for their work
- For their managers to care about their careers
What these factors demonstrate is that workers want to learn and grow, but they also want open lines of communication and feedback. Managers should incorporate feedback right from the start, building in frequent one-on-one time so that performance assessment becomes an ongoing process of improvement. In order for employees to grow, they need to know what they’re doing well and what needs to improve. And if there is a need to improve, that’s when the employer can address next steps such as ensuring that appropriate support and resources are available.
Committing to a continuous feedback process that includes a well-thought-out annual performance review is crucial. Employees who are satisfied with the performance feedback process are more engaged and committed to the organization, and more likely to be retained, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace study.
High employee engagement in the workplace is correlated with success in achieving business goals. The Gallup report found that companies with highly engaged employees experience 17% higher productivity, 20% higher sales, and 21% higher profitability, among many other positive metrics.
What’s crucial to maintaining engagement is to begin by developing meaningful employer-employee relationships. Employees want to learn and grow; they want to know they have advancement opportunities based on how well they perform current duties. Are they being valued, are they hitting goals, are they helping the company achieve success? Keeping them up to date on how they’re performing is key to ensuring employee engagement.
Jeff Gorski is Aerotek Director.