Empowering Your Staff with Training & Technology Amid a Changing Workforce in Healthcare

Actionable Ideas with Tips from Experts in the Field

Change is nothing new in the healthcare landscape, from changes in patient care to changes in healthcare environments. What supports all this external change is your internal workforce – but they’re going through immense change, too.


Research shows that:

  • 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older by 20301
  • 50% of facilities personnel are set to retire in the next 10 years2
  • 80% of Americans agree there is a skills gap3
  • Five generations are in the workplace for the first time in history

Add to that demands of adapting to new technology, and it can be challenging to see how your staff can get your organization from where you are today to where you need to be tomorrow.

Yet with all this change comes a unique opportunity for you to empower your staff by investing in training and technology that ultimately makes an impact on the future of your organization.

What should you be concerned most about?

From the workforce changes mentioned above, is there one that most keeps you up at night?
In a recent poll of healthcare operations professionals, we asked what was most concerning between:

  • Looming wave of retiring baby boomers
  • Training current employees in order to maintain required technical skills
  • Getting everyone of different ages and skill levels to work together
  • Finding and implementing new technology
  • Recruiting and retaining top employees

The most popular answer (40%) was all of the above, with recruiting and retaining top talent following closely behind (at 33%). Whatever challenges are at the top of your list, there are specific training and technology techniques you can harness to overcome them.

Equipping your diverse workforce

Here’s what we know about today’s workforce in healthcare:

  • There is competition for hiring in healthcare
  • There is a lack of specifically skilled workers in the market
  • Many workers are retiring out or staying to work into their retirement years

The challenge is equipping your current workforce to keep up, while also attracting new skilled workers – and accessible training and easy-to-use technology are key.

Make training a win-win for your team

Getting your workforce to where it needs to be to meet today’s and tomorrow’s demands is critical, but it may be more achievable than you think.
Kenneth Bower, Sr. Director of Facilities for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, talks about how important it is to have a set training program for new and current employees.

“Having a good training program in place, giving them clear expectations, allowing them to have a great understanding of how they get from point A to point B in a facility is a big thing to motivate them,” Kenneth says.

Mentoring

Mentoring, whether it’s on specific skills or technology use, is a great way to empower your workers and grow their skills. Pair older workers with younger ones or those of different skill levels on projects to let everyone be the teacher and student at one point or another.

At Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Kenneth says they have seen success with their two-way mentorship program that pairs older team members with younger ones to exchange skills and knowledge.

Partnering with Local Colleges

Gary Milewski, Corporate Manager for Plant Engineering Compliance for Novant Health, talks about how they are partnering with a local community college to develop a training program for technicians and others. He says this type of program helps them compete with jobs in the commercial market.

“We’ve been working with the local community college to develop a program that would allow internet access for training to develop an associate’s program in healthcare engineering that would bring a different skill set to those individuals who have been working in a commercial market and moving into healthcare,” Gary says.

Other creative training ideas for your team may include:

  • Partnering with local trade schools
  • Seeing if your organization or insurance provider offers free or inexpensive training
  • Seeking out free online training (like tutorials on YouTube)

Harness data and technology to make work more trackable and productive

Not only does technology play a part in making training more accessible, but it can also connect to your team doing work and documenting it faster.

“The industry itself hasn’t kept up with all of our needs, so we’re forced to think of taking older ways of doing things and digitizing them,” Kenneth says.

Documentation

Documentation looks a lot different than it did in the past. As healthcare organizations make the transition from paper to digital documentation with tools like computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), accountability is improving. And along with that, connected technology helps organizations provide better work environments and a higher quality of service.

Systems like a CMMS can hold much more actionable information than binders or file cabinets to help organize your operations work, as well as capture historical knowledge from long-time employees.

“We develop zones, and in our CMMS, we’re able to upload task lists and checklists. The documentation becomes much more manageable, and you can see where you haven’t been,” Kenneth says.

Gary says this documentation also creates data that can open the lines of communication with key leaders.

“The digital skills have changed the relationship between the facility manager and senior leadership to where they’re able to provide a new set of data points to make their case if they need to replace equipment,” Gary says. “The relationship is changing so leadership can see what those issues are.”

Mobile Work

When you equip your team with a digital and mobile way to do their work more efficiently, they also get to add digital skills to their skill sets. From using an iPad to logging work and tracking assets on a smartphone, you can train your team that as they adapt, they’ll start seeing the benefits in efficiency and tracking.

“We’re working more toward using iPads to where the technician is able to load up during the day, have blueprints of the organization and map out the preventive maintenance task that they might be doing for that day,” Gary says.

The best way to get buy-in with new technology is to empower champions on your team to help promote the change and train others.

Future-proofing your team starts now

With new technology and advancements in health and patient care, the future is here. And that future doesn’t have to be based in fear.

Take this time of change as an opportunity to find simple ways to invest in your staff to stay agile, as they improve their skills and see the benefit technology offers for better, more meaningful work.

Sources
1 https://www.vox.com/2019/3/18/18270916/labor-shortage-workers-us
2 http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/455204/pdf/CFM-as-an-Inevitable-Trend.pdf
3 https://research.udemy.com/research_report/2017-skills-gap-report/

 

 

 

 

• 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 or older by 20301
• 50% of facilities personnel are set to retire in the next 10 years2
• 80% of Americans agree there is a skills gap3
• Five generations are in the workplace for the first time in history

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