Retrain to Retain Hospital and Health System Employees

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Losing a job is one of the most stressful events in life. In fact, it often ranks among the highest stressors on lists of life-altering events such as a death in the family, divorce, and serious illness. To date, millions of people have lost their jobs due to the global pandemic, COVID-19.

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The unemployment numbers have broken records, with no signs of slowing down. With major shifts in workplace culture, working from home, and essential worker demands, 2020 has changed employment in significant ways. Yet, for those who might be dealing with a recent job loss, or for companies that are pivoting their workforce to keep their employees working, it is also a time of significant opportunity to help in our nation’s economic recovery. 

How Can Employers Help?

Within the last year, there has been a seismic shift in how people and companies approach work—from remote work to staff reductions and redeployment due to the global pandemic to upskilling to meet changing needs. While every industry across the globe has been affected, some industries are seeing major declines, with no timeline for return, but others are seeing massive opportunities to help the recovery. This is especially true in health care.

In today’s challenging employment environment, the ability to get back to work quickly by retraining and reskilling is essential for many healthcare workers. Employers face the parallel task of meeting current needs while keeping their doors open.

For some employers, this has unfortunately meant furloughing or redeploying employees. Yet, some employers are looking at the current environment and are taking advantage of online learning to retrain staff through professional development courses that meet new, critical healthcare needs. 

The Demand for Skilled Workers in Health Care

In health care, while some areas are seeing reduced demand, other areas are growing. The industry is seeing a decline in elective procedures and specialties to create additional room and resources to manage the influx of critical care patients.

By offering employees the opportunity to retrain and reskill, hospitals and healthcare facilities are able to retain their top talent and reskill them to meet current and future needs while helping the economic recovery.

For years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that healthcare careers have been among the fastest-growing in the U.S. economy. Even in today’s current global environment, it is projected that the healthcare industry will recover more quickly than other sectors.

This presents a unique challenge for healthcare employers that will need to retain staff for the future but might not have enough immediate work for them at present. That is why it is important to identify and offer training that meets urgent industry needs. 

The Importance of Reskilling Healthcare Workers

Hospitals and health systems can work to offer courses that help their employees pivot their career focus. There are programs that have been recently launched to meet in-demand roles, like programs focusing on contact tracing and infection control.

These courses allow learners to complete coursework quickly and 100% online. By offering these types of professional development opportunities to employees, healthcare companies can retain staff and focus on what’s important, improving each patient’s experience. 

Global industry analyst Josh Bersin recently observed that “people are the only appreciating asset you have in a business.” He notes that there is power in creating candidates from existing employee pools instead of hiring externally. 

In order for this to work, organizations must be willing to hire people with the potential to grow and be willing to train them and help reskill or upskill. This not only fosters internal innovation but also makes good business sense.

Bersin notes that it can be six times less expensive to reskill than to hire externally. Because people are one of the leading appreciating assets in any field, it’s important to invest in them and help them upskill throughout their careers. 

Misty Frost serves as the CEO of Carrus, an organization dedicated to building learning experiences that allow individuals to enter and grow their careers in health care. Frost has extensive global experience as a senior executive. Over her 25-year career, she has served in senior leadership roles at innovative companies such as Instructure and Datamark.

In addition, she has worked in a variety of client advocacy roles for global brands, including Intel, Nortel Networks, Hyatt Hotels, and Disney. Frost is also an active member of Women Tech Council and Utah Wonder Women, a group dedicated to developing women’s executive leadership.

Connect with Frost on Twitter at, @mistydfrost.

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