Building a workforce- in regional towns
Globally skilled workforce is concentrated in bigger cities and towns. In smaller towns and cities people live mostly for lifestyle and familyreasons; need some ideas in terms of attracting and retaining skilled workforce.
Globally skilled workforce particularly in healthcare is more concentrated in bigger cities and towns, Australia is no different. In smaller towns and cities people live mostly for lifestyle and family reasons. This effects us as managers and leaders more than anyone in terms of attracting and retaining skilled workforce.
I have tried and applied all the rules in the book :-
1. Better working conditions – higher renumeration/allowances as allowed by the executive team.
2. Better equipment and working environment -we do have refresh cycles to modernise the equipment.
3. Teaching and training and encouraging locals to take up skills.
4. Extended scope – to expand skill set of existing employees.
Leadership and training programs are rolled by management to facilitate learning and growth but not getting the expected results got some answers as to why it is not working. Reference:- Why leadership training fails- and what to do about it. Michael beer et al. HBR.org oct 2016
Challenge still remains, we are still having shortage of much needed skilled staff, love to hear any and all suggestions.
Participant comments on Building a workforce- in regional towns
This one hits home, as we are more rural and it is difficult to attract and retain skilled staff. Lower paying medical assistant jobs don’t typically attract folks from out of area to move. We do have a local Junior College that we have developed a close relationship with that produces nurses and medical assistants. We allow them to do their clinical work with us and essentially are able to hire them before they finish training. We are finding that locally grown is the answer. We have considered going to local high schools to develop programs that would have them ready for medical assitant certification when they graduate high school. As for providers, we have national search firms looking, but find that our colleagues are great at getting people they’ve known from training to move our way. Of course, there is a finders fee for them.
Is it possible to ‘virtually’ connect the rural and urban environments? We have had some success with rotating staff in the organization so that the rural folks have the opportunity to spend time and develop relationships in the urban center, then keeping them connected via web conferences and multi disciplinary care conferences done remotely. This has increased the professional satisfaction of those in the rural areas , and also improved the care provided in the more remote locations.
I think one should think about it from two angless and and which one is more feasible and applicable; to attract skilled people to settle in remote areas and this is not easy; they want attractive salaries, best education for their kids in the form of good schools and universities, the quality of life and access to all the good things they see in bigger cities etc which ends up so difficult to achieve and may only provide temporary satisfaction. On the other hand one may focus on providing acutely needed services only in remote areas which will require less number of skilled staff and specialties, this however needs to be backed up by an efficient system of referrals and logistics to secure specialised and tertiary care availability in a timely manner. Duplication of specialised services especially when accompanied by unused capacity can be so costly in remote areas when compared to the cost of referrals and logistics given there is no compromise on patient care.