The workforce strategy imperative: How to ensure your largest expense is also your greatest asset

In the wake of the pandemic, healthcare leaders were compelled to implement innovative and resilient solutions to support their teams in caring for patients. While these quick fixes served their purpose during the crisis, they weren’t designed for the long term. With the conclusion of the public health emergency, healthcare executives must now focus on rebuilding their workforces strategically, emphasizing both organizational flexibility and cost containment.

To better understand the types of holistic workforce solutions health systems are implementing, Becker’s Hospital Review recently spoke with three leaders from AMN Healthcare — Meredith Lapointe, Chief Business Officer; Pat McCall, Chief Growth Officer; and Will Morse, Corporate Vice President of Solution Design & Implementation.

The Current Landscape of the Healthcare Workforce

The healthcare workforce is grappling with unprecedented staffing shortages, fierce competition for talent, high turnover rates, and escalating costs. A healthy workforce is pivotal for delivering high-quality, sustainable care. It encompasses wellprepared and confident professionals, appropriate staffing levels, flexibility, and adequate training.

But the aftermath of the pandemic paints a bleak picture about the current health of the healthcare workforce:

  • Around 30% of nurses are considering leaving their careers.
  • Nurse career satisfaction plummeted from 80-85% to 71% in 2023.
  • Over 90% of nurses acknowledge severe or moderate shortages in their areas.

(Source: 2023 AMN Healthcare Survey of Registered Nurses: The Pandemic’s Consequences)

A Holistic, Strategic Approach to Talent

In the past, healthcare organizations managed talent in silos, exacerbating the challenges of talent planning, acquisition, and deployment. A more effective approach involves adopting a holistic, multi-dimensional perspective on workforce management.

This approach entails evaluating required skills across the enterprise, anticipating when, where, and how these skills will be needed, and then efficiently managing talent scheduling to ensure that people with the right skills are available in the right numbers, at the right locations, as needed. Rather than isolated management, adopting an enterprise-level strategy and focusing on a holistic talent ecosystem increases flexibility by managing talent at scale across the entire organization.

Strategic Staffing Partnerships

To navigate the challenges in talent management, collaborating with the right strategic staffing partner is invaluable. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to effective workforce management. Ideal workforce management technology and staffing partners understand an organization’s position, challenges, capabilities, and talent management maturity. They extend the organization’s talent acquisition function by offering expertise, additional capacity, diverse staffing models, and access to broader talent pools, including contingent workers.

One effective solution is creating a staffing office leveraging technology that connects core labor in addition to flexible pools such as float pools/internal resource pools, travelers, and per diem deployment. These solutions enable flexibility to meet demand, as well as create advancement and internal opportunities that can improve retention and best practice sharing.

The Role of Innovative Technologies

Innovation is underway to address key workforce challenges, particularly in labor forecasting, recruitment, retention, and enterprise-level business intelligence that provides executives with data to drive key talent decisions.

Technology innovation revolves around three primary aspects of workforce management:

1. Talent Planning: Robust analytics that use patient demand data are able to precisely forecast staffing needs. This includes core staff, internal agency pools, and external flexible staffing. Forecasting and optimization technology platforms that enable data driven staffing decisions are now essential and are crucial to proactively scheduling resources, delivering better labor cost management, and improving employee alignment and satisfaction.

2. Talent Acquisition: Technology that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) can now rapidly identify and match qualified candidates for specific jobs, based on the role’s requirements and the candidate’s skills and experience. This significantly accelerates the hiring process, effectively engages qualified candidates, and allows health systems to tap into “gig-worker” candidate pools.

Candidate engagement platforms, like the AMN Healthcare Passport application, also expedite credentialing and virtual onboarding, and enable seamless integration. Through virtual “credential wallets,” clinicians and other healthcare workers can upload their credentials, which are automatically integrated into a health system’s platforms. This speeds up the time for new employees to hit the ground running and removes a common pain point for healthcare systems.

3. Talent Deployment: Technology is optimizing workforce deployment in areas such as staffing agency vendor management, telehealth, language services, internal agencies, and float pool management. These deployment technology tools help automatically align staff skills and levels with requirements and allow workers and health systems alike to have more flexibility in how to deploy talent to assure quality patient care.

Last, but not least, integration is vital for these technology solutions, not just within the workforce domain but also across HR, timekeeping, and financial systems to assure that workforce processes and data governance are reliable and valid.

Empowering Talent Solutions

AMN Healthcare is a comprehensive solutions provider, offering everything from traditional nurse staffing to specialty physician recruitment and language services. This empowers health systems with an integrated approach that bridges the total talent planning, acquisition, and deployment processes into a singular workforce technology ecosystem.

This suite leverages AI to forecast staffing needs, identify qualified candidates, automate onboarding, facilitate talent deployment, and provide real-time and dynamic business intelligence that informs and enables data-driven labor management decisions for healthcare leaders. Further, health systems that implement AMN Healthcare’s comprehensive solutions create a complete talent ecosystem that becomes a highly effective conduit for improving the permanent and temporary candidate/employee experience and provides an effective vehicle for health systems to promote their employer brand and culture.

Positive outcomes have emerged from organizations adopting this strategic, holistic approach to workforce management. AMN Healthcare’s clients who have partnered with us across RPO and staffing solutions have seen open position fulfilment rates significantly increase and have been successful in boosting their internal flexibility and talent pools. Strategic planning effort collaboration has also enabled health systems to optimize the amount of contingent labor to meet their growth needs and supplement resources in the most cost-effective way. Such cases exemplify the possibilities unlocked by the integration of strategic talent management and innovative talent-focused technology solutions.

A Future Envisioned

In the next few years, hybridized talent acquisition approaches combining core staff with flexible contingent staffing will become expected from and adopted by healthcare systems. Additionally, technology-enabled services and workforce analytics will gain prominence, enhancing efficiency, speed, and sustainability. These developments are poised to alleviate current staffing challenges and bolster organizations’ future readiness.


The healthcare workforce challenges that arose during the pandemic and have since been exacerbated have made it imperative for healthcare leaders to reimagine workforce management strategies that balance quality care, talent acquisition and retention, and cost efficiency.

By embracing holistic, strategic approaches and integrating innovative technologies — like those from AMN Healthcare — healthcare organizations can transform their largest expense into their greatest asset, ensuring sustained excellence in patient care and organizational resilience.

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