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Healthcare Worker Burnout: The Challenges of Recruiting and Retaining Talent in 2022

It's hardly a surprise that the healthcare industry took a serious hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. When the majority of other employees had an opportunity to work from home, healthcare professionals were on the front line.  

While the pandemic seems to be waning slowly, healthcare worker burnout is still showing its ugly face, making recruitment and retention harder than ever.

As the world enters 2022, healthcare recruiters need to adjust their tactics to improve retention and avoid costly turnover.

Healthcare Worker Burnout: What We Know

Before the pandemic hit, healthcare worker burnout rates fluctuated from 30% to 50%. In the past two years, they surged to 40% - 70%. Many nurses are retiring early while younger specialists are leaving the profession.

A survey recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that among 500 healthcare workers, the majority experienced serious psychiatric symptoms, including depression (74%) and anxiety (75%).   

Both doctors and nurses face significant levels of stress. While some decide to retire or switch professions, others are looking for other job opportunities within the industry. Retaining healthcare workers is becoming a serious challenge, and so is hiring.

In the past, economic recessions didn't affect the healthcare sector. However, the COVID-19 pandemic initiated a series of layoffs. The employment levels in the industry didn't recover until the middle of 2021. Some sectors like nursing homes and community care facilities are still experiencing a decrease in employment.

At the beginning of 2022:

  • The number of job openings is 51.9% higher than before the pandemic.
  • The number of quits is 35% higher than before the pandemic.
  • Average weekly wages are up by 10.8% from the pre-pandemic levels.

Healthcare worker burnout makes full economic recovery of the healthcare sector problematic. The hiring volatility makes it expensive to recruit quality talent, forcing healthcare recruiters to reconsider their approach.

Challenges of Recruiting Healthcare Talent in 2022

In 2022, the challenges of recruiting talent are becoming more and more acute. To stay on top of their game, healthcare recruiters need to adjust their tactics quickly. 

Talent Shortage for Healthcare Workers

Pandemic aside, in the next 10 years, the U.S. healthcare industry is likely to face a significant talent shortage. The rapidly increasing population will need millions of physicians, nurses, technicians, and home health aides, turning recruitment into a serious challenge.

While 2025 is still three years away, it's imperative to pay close attention to the recruitment problems before they become much harder to solve.

Healthcare worker burnout is contributing to the talent shortage dramatically. While many doctors are quitting, others can't provide high-quality services, making sourcing top talent highly problematic.

Extended Recruitment Cycle in Healthcare

Complex hiring methods that prevail in the healthcare sector make the recruitment cycle excruciatingly long. It can take several months to fill one position. Meanwhile, the rest of the healthcare facility staff is struggling with extra work. This leads to low satisfaction rates and burnout.

Today, 33% of recruiters spend over 20 hours a week sourcing candidates. While careful screening, reference checking, and in-depth interviewing are important for the quality of hire, they can hold healthcare providers back.

During the Great Resignation, in the time it takes to hire one candidate, you could lose two workers.  

Issues Finding High Quality Healthcare Workers with Quality Talent

While thousands of healthcare workers are looking for new employment opportunities, it's still a challenge to find quality talent. Healthcare worker burnout is taking out highly-qualified employees.

Additionally, the issues with sourcing quality talent stem from the slowly waning Baby Boomer workforce. By 2029, the youngest Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65. This means that thousands are leaving the market every month.

High Turnover Rates in Healthcare

In the race to hire quickly, healthcare recruiters don't always pay sufficient attention to quality and suitability. As a result, they make poor hiring decisions and contribute to high turnover rates.

For example, the cost of turnover for a bedside RN can be as high as $51,700, costing hospitals up to $6.5 million per year. Replacing a physician could cost  up to a million dollars.

While many healthcare recruiters blame the Great Resignation for the high turnover rates, it's hardly the only culprit.  Between 2016 and 2021, the average hospital turned over a shocking 90.8% of its workforce.

Even though there seems to be a light at the end of the turnover Tsunami's tunnel, the healthcare industry is likely to continue suffering from high turnover rates well into 2022.

Overall, healthcare industry players need to prepare for a talent shortage due to burnout, the Baby Boomer phaseout and changing worker needs. By adjusting the approach to recruitment quickly, it's possible to gain a competitive edge.

doctor working at desk

Challenges of Retaining Healthcare EmployeesTalent in 2022

With hiring and recruitment challenges dominating the HR playing field, retention in the healthcare industry is becoming highly important. The retention challenges to expect in 2022 include:

Poor Employee Retention Programs in Healthcare Facilities

Amidst the pandemic, healthcare organizations are spending less time focusing on retention programs for their workers. According to a recent survey, 86% of physicians report that their organization doesn't have a retention program.

With new positions opening up all over the country, healthcare workers are exploring new employment opportunities. The demand for top talent is high enough to let them be choosers rather than beggars.

Without a proper retention program, healthcare organizations are losing millions of dollars to turnover.  

COVID-19 Pandemic and Healthcare Talent Acquisition

If the pandemic continues at the same rate, retaining healthcare workers is likely to become harder. Burnout will remain an issue, taking many professionals out of the industry and lowering the number of top talent.

Healthcare worker burnout is a serious problem that needs a timely reaction from healthcare organizations. Otherwise, other retention tactics may not work.

Need for Flexibility in Healthcare Jobs

During the pandemic, flexibility became the new HR word of the year. The majority of industries are adjusting to working from home, choosing convenient work hours, focusing on work-life balance, and more.

In the healthcare sector, flexible working hours may seem like nonsense. However, burned-out healthcare workers want flexible work options anyway.  Healthcare organizations have to think creatively to give flexibility a chance.

Key Healthcare Talent Acquisition Solutions to Adopt in 2022

While all the above healthcare hiring challenges may seem overwhelming, they have solutions. By adjusting your recruitment and retention processes, you can source and secure top talent to gain a significant competitive edge.

Use Technology to Streamline the Healthcare Hiring Process

The time-consuming hiring and recruitment process are forcing you to lose more candidates than you can recruit. From checking references to filling the talent pipeline, you can turn to technology for help.

For example, you no longer have to spend long hours and thousands of dollars on manual reference checks. AI-powered solutions like Crosschq's 360 allow you to gather candidate reports within 24 hours and prevent fake reference issues.

You can go further to use tools like Crosschq Recruit to help you make smart hiring decisions, gain access to a wide talent pool, and enhance your candidate search significantly.

HR technology allows you to turn from quantity to quality. In the healthcare industry, it could mean the difference between a quick quit and a long partnership. With the talent shortage becoming a serious problem, securing top talent now is vital to the future of all healthcare organizations.

Keep Healthcare Employee Needs on the Agenda

When it comes to top talent in the healthcare industry, you need it more than it needs you. Workers who are on the verge of burnout can't provide high-quality services, putting patients and organizations at risk.

To battle the healthcare worker burnout issue and improve your recruitment and retention efforts, it's imperative to put the needs of healthcare workers first. This includes:

  • Paying attention: Find out what your staff wants and act upon it. Make it easy to share their opinions, worries, doubts, and more. You can use a tool like Crosschq Analytics to create pulse surveys. These surveys provide vital information about your team. The data will identify who are the Superstars, as well as who’s at risk for early churn.  
  • Preventing burnout: The key to keeping your talent happy is preventing and mitigating burnout. Make worker wellness a part of your culture, acknowledge achievements, and provide mental health support when needed.
  • Practicing flexibility: Offer flexibility options like working from home via telehealth technology or taking time off work when possible.
  • Improving communication: Good communication can reduce frustration and improve employee morale. Work on maintaining transparent communication with your staff.

Consider formalizing your retention program. Many healthcare organizations focus on one-time retention efforts, losing more than they are gaining. By writing down and formalizing your retention strategy, you are likely to achieve better results.

Meet Healthcare Recruitment and Retention Challenges with Crosschq

While healthcare worker burnout and talent shortage look unavoidable in 2022, it's possible to take them in stride. By implementing proper recruitment and retention practices and taking advantage of the available technologies, you can stay on top of your game regardless of the forecasts.

At Crosschq, we've developed comprehensive HR solutions, 360, Recruit, and Analytics, to help healthcare organizations recruit and retain top talent and meet all 2022 challenges head-on.

Contact us to schedule a demo today.

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Debra Carney

by Debra Carney

Director of Marketing

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