Every year, business experts come together to predict business trends and prepare their organizations for success despite changes in their industry and world. As 2018 approaches, nurses and healthcare leaders alike must consider how new trends in human resources may impact the nursing industry. Here, key trends and projected impacts are highlighted.
#1 – Employees will look for non-traditional jobs
Millennials have taken the workforce by storm in the last several years. They will comprise as much as 50% of the labor pool by 2018 and also have different expectations about how and where they do their work. Because of this shift, more and more workers are seeking remote positions, the opportunity to telecommute when convenient, freelance gigs, consulting contracts, or part-time work in professional roles. This will have two major impacts on nursing:
- Fewer young people will choose nursing as a profession due to their understanding that remote work and work-life balance (similar to that offered to employees who don’t have to work weekends or holidays) aren’t feasible in the industry; and
- Hospitals and other healthcare facilities will have to be creative and innovative to find ways to give nurses the flexibility they desire while still providing quality care to their patients and residents.
Another aspect to consider is that travel nursing may satisfy the desire for flexible work hours. Many travel nurses work only the shifts they choose to work. While certain departments may appeal more or less to the millennial demographic a general decline in new recruitment will mean greater dependence on expensive agency nurses for many hospitals.
#2 – Employees want professional development
Like the rest of the workforce, nurses will want the opportunity to attend professional development courses focused on growing and applying soft skills, such as emotional intelligence and communication, in addition to their continuing education courses. Employers in the healthcare sect should take this trend seriously for a few important reasons. The primary reason is because investing in soft skills means investing in future leaders for the organization. Because nurses are trained from a clinical perspective, and less so in topics relating to leadership, many find themselves unequipped when they land leadership positions. Hospitals can take advantage of the current workforce’s hunger for knowledge, personal growth and development to grow their own leaders prior to promotion. When nursing leaders are well prepared and trained, the teams they lead are successful.
#3 – Compensation will catch back up to culture
All HR professionals can agree that the focus ten years ago was compensation. All employees sought positions based on compensation and their satisfaction on the same level. However, culture took a lead several years ago, and the vast majority of employees began making employment decisions based on the pride in their work, autonomy, meaningful work, and relationships within their teams. In 2017, the gap between compensation and culture began to close and in 2018 both culture and compensation will be expected to hold equal importance across the board.
This means that hospitals no longer have the luxury of focusing on one side nor the other. It will be more important to offer both highly competitive wages and a culture that not only invokes pride but also allows work-life balance for nurses. This will require an outside-the-box thinking that results in the transformation in the healthcare industry.
#4 – Nurse recruitment will be harder than it’s ever been
Nurse recruitment will be harder in 2018 than it’s ever been before for a number of reasons:
- Fewer new nurses will enter the workforce due to the demands of the occupation, their personal priorities and professional priorities
- More nurses will be needed due to the aging population, and the desire for “niche” personal care (i.e. in-home services, one-on-one care, etc.)
- Candidates will expect top-end salaries with perks and benefits that promote work-life balance, which can be hard to offer in the healthcare industry
- Nurses will have the luxury of choosing the position that most meets their needs, making it difficult to draft a competitive offer and secure hires
- Many nurses will accept direct patient care positions in the hopes of working their way up to an “office job”. This makes it harder to keep staff engaged on the floor for long periods of time
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities should go back to the drawing board to evaluate their benefits and compensation packages for nurses. Facilities should also evaluate the technology used to ensure they’re providing challenging and rewarding work to pull in the best talent.
Change equals growth and improvement
Considering the challenges healthcare facilities and nurses face, it is easy to become discouraged. However, the facilities that not only embrace a changing workforce but also take the opportunity to reinvent the way they do things, are those who will successfully navigate the change. Thus, they will come out on top. Keep in mind these great impacts of upcoming change:
- Nurses will demand technology that is not only efficient but promotes quality and patient safety
- Facilities will find ways to provide work-life balance for nurses. This improves the company culture, nurse engagement, and patient experiences
- Nurses will be more interested in investing time personally and professionally, allowing facilities to grow leaders well in advance of promotion
- Options for non-traditional work hours or relationships will improve work-life balance, company culture and could ease the burden on employers
Nurses and employers alike can grow together by being open and honest about ideas and expectations, open-minded, and committed to success.