As the health industry continues to face staffing shortages of healthcare professionals, it is crucial that organizations plan for the future. While it remains necessary to solve for the immediate crisis at hand, the shortfall of healthcare professionals will only continue to increase if healthcare organizations do not think ahead and plan long term.
Upskilling the current workforce is a tactic that leaders can implement across their organizations to help fill skill gaps and staffing shortages due to COVID and prevent additional gaps in quality of care. Read below to gather a better understanding of what upskilling entails, the benefit it provides and how to develop an upskilling action plan.
What is upskilling?
Upskilling refers to the process of teaching an employee a new skill or building upon existing skillsets to enhance their potential to step into new or elevated roles and responsibilities. This tactic can help professionals adapt to changing job requirements or evolving industry trends within their current role, in addition to providing opportunities for career advancement through additional training, education and professional development.
Benefits of upskilling in a healthcare organization
Upskilling can provide many benefits to healthcare organizations, especially as it relates to their recruitment and retention efforts. For employees, upskilling offers an opportunity for personal and professional growth, can lead to increased job satisfaction and engagement, and could improve career advancement prospects. For hospitals and labs, upskilling helps identify and fill skills gaps, improve employee retention, enhance productivity, and advance work quality – all while reducing the cost of recruiting and hiring new talent.
Developing an upskilling action plan
There are several key steps an organization can take to assess and develop a successful action plan to begin implementing upskilling in their organization.
Determine skills and knowledge required to bridge the gaps effectively: Use existing tools to gather insight into requirements for the role, including existing job descriptions, previous performance evaluations and competency models that define desired skills, behaviors, and knowledge necessary for success. The findings can help organizations create and implement effective and targeted trainings and development programs to drive results.
Assess current employee skills and knowledge to build a firm foundation: Employers can gain a comprehensive understanding of their employees’ current skillset and insight by conducting skill inventories, reviewing recent performance evaluations, implementing skills assessments or tests tailored to key competencies, observing employees in their daily work and providing constructive feedback, benchmarking against industry standards, and conducting competency-based interviews.
Identify skill gaps to ensure longevity and strength of role: Being able to outline skill gaps is a critical component of conducting a skill gap analysis and ultimately overcoming the gap. Organizations can do this through defining the desired skills needed for the role, assessing the current skills to determine specific areas that fall short, and analyzing the gap to create attainable solutions for success.
Prioritize skill gaps to effectively allocate resources and implement targeted skill development strategies: Ensure the skill gaps align to the overall organizational goals to drive skills that will directly contribute to desired outcomes. Organizations can also evaluate the impact each skill gap has on job performance and productively to determine the urgency and significance of the gap, consider the frequency and relevance of the skill requirements, plan for the realistic allotment of cost and resources to invest in, and incorporate employee input to inform those directly impacted by the skill gap.
Develop a plan to address and overcome skill gaps: Based on the findings from the research and information gathered in the above steps, the creation of a skill development plan should be owned by both the employee and their manager. Consider implementing the use of virtual assessment tools, personalized coaching sessions, and/or trainings to enhance needed knowledge. Utilizing a comprehensive approach and offering ongoing support can help empower healthcare professionals to actively engage in their own upskilling journey, in addition to fostering a culture of continuous learning and professional growth.
All these steps work together to ensure that employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their roles and contribute to the overall success of the organization, paving the way for a stronger and more resilient healthcare workforce.
A solution for staffing and upskilling your workforce
With prevalent staffing shortages across the nation, it can be difficult to find healthcare workers and continue building their skills. Conexus MedStaff places international nurses and medical labortaory scientists at healthcare facilities throughout the United States, and we provide an award-winning growth program, Conexus Academy, free to our healthcare professionals so they can excel in their roles. This program is a solution for our clients who may not have the resources to upskill their workforce and for our healthcare professionals who desire to continue growing in their careers.
If you are looking for a workforce solutions partner for your healthcare organization, click here to learn more about Conexus MedStaff.