Like other industries, health care organizations across the U.S. are grappling with workforce shortages stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and worker burnout. In addition, injuries from workplace violence, which health care workers experience at a rate five times higher than those in other industries, have exacerbated the challenge to recruit and retain skilled staff.

And the issue does not sit only with clinical staff. Health care administrative and facilities teams are also dealing with shortages and seeking strategies to overcome them.

Hospitals such as St. Luke’s Medical Center, Children’s Wisconsin and Cincinnati Children’s have found success in staff recruitment and retention by partnering with other organizations focused on creating career opportunities within their communities, while other facilities have plumbed their internal resources to attract new talent and foster career growth.

For instance, Baptist Health of Arkansas conducted a deep analysis of its staff spending after outsourcing many facilities-related roles for several years. In taking a critical eye to its resource allocations, the facilities department was able to successfully make the case for insourcing many previously outsourced roles.

The Mayo Clinic Health System, Northwest Wisconsin Region, also looked inward for the solution to shortage challenges within its environmental services (EVS) department. The health system created opportunities for career growth through training, pipelines to promotion and a more engaging onboarding process. These factors, combined with regular check-ins to adjust shifts and allow for flexibility, helped it not only navigate worker shortages but also earn the 2022 EVS Department of the Year Award from the Association for the Health Care Environment.

The topic of worker shortages and how to overcome them will take center stage at the American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) Annual Conference & Technical Exhibition in San Antonio, August 6-9, where Chad Beebe, AIA, CHFM, CFPS, CBO, FASHE, deputy executive director of ASHE, will moderate a panel discussion on Day 2 of the conference.

The general session, Health Care Workforce Shortage Solutions, will feature Jim Prister, president and CEO of RML Specialty Hospital, and Roxie Cannon Wells, chief physician executive and strategy officer at Novant Health New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

The health care leaders will discuss the key factors impacting the health care workforce, as well as the emerging legislative and technology solutions helping to tackle these obstacles at an institutional level. Attendees will gather insights on administrative and recruiting strategies for hiring and retaining top talent to help meet today’s health care needs. 

Register for the conference to attend this and other sessions that will address critical topics affecting the health care physical environment and patient care. Also, check out the resources and articles below to find tools and insights to help overcome workforce challenges.

Resources on workforce training, recruitment and retention

The “Succession Planning: Preparing for the Future of Your Facility and Your Career” monograph shows health care facility managers how to conduct succession planning for their departments and shows individuals in all positions how to develop a path for personal career development.

The “Younger workforce pushes progress on sustainability” article highlights data from the 2023 Hospital Construction Survey that show sustainability initiatives help to engage staff in their organization’s mission.

The “Steps to creating a facility-specific staffing plan” article explains how facilities can find the right balance between insourcing and outsourcing.

The “Resource for labor recruitment, training and continuity” article discusses integrating training into everyday operations to help form a work culture of excellence. 

The feature article, “Staff recruitment and retention,” offers advice and best practices on hiring and keeping technical personnel.  

Although an older article from 2019, “Solving the recruiting puzzle,” offers great insights on how facilities can get started with succession planning. The 2017 article, “Staying ahead of the staffing curve,” focuses on succession planning, as well.

The ASHE COVID-19 Response Tactics Sharing report details patient surge-related preparation and response strategies deployed by health care facilities across the U.S.

Research by Senada Hidic and Melissa Binotti Heim, and article by Jamie Morgan.