The Australian healthcare industry is undergoing significant transformation. Increased demand and an ageing population, coupled with skilled staff shortages, mean that staffing strategies need to quickly pivot to face the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent while navigating emerging trends and technological advancements. It remains important to find the elusive balance between meeting the needs of the organisation and the candidate, while ensuring strategies are future-focused, and navigating industry regulations, systems and processes.
- The rise of remote work
The rise of telehealth, and its increase in quality and efficiency, has revolutionised healthcare delivery. While digital transformation is still ongoing, and organisations work to digitise processes, telehealth has also impacted staffing. Healthcare providers are increasingly leveraging telehealth technologies to expand reach and provide efficient, quality care remotely. So staffing strategies must adapt to incorporate telehealth provision and equip and support staff to provide these services.
Over the last few years, remote work opportunities have gained popularity, and while at face value, many of these opportunities cannot be afforded to frontline healthcare workers, organisations can tap into a broader talent pool by thinking outside the boundaries of traditional delivery of healthcare. Effective integration of telehealth and remote work into staffing strategies will be crucial in attracting and retaining staff across the healthcare industry.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation
AI and automated process technologies are transforming work across a range of industries, and are becoming increasingly useful to address workforce needs, including recruitment, planning and efficiencies. Intelligent algorithms can recognise workforce efficiency opportunities, and provide data and analysis on staff planning and rostering. Automation tools can be programmed to handle administrative tasks, allowing staff to focus on complex and meaningful tasks and responsibilities. The challenge will be in finding balance between embracing AI and automation while ensuring a human-centric approach to both staff and patients, by focusing on leveraging personal interactions, and supporting these with technology.
- Embracing the ‘gig economy’
The gig economy is characterised by short-term contracts, shifts around day jobs, and freelance work. In healthcare, this might look like locum roles, job sharing, and flexibility around building an FTE role around the schedules of multiple staff members. Re-thinking staffing schedules around these trends offer opportunities for both flexibility and cost-efficiency and may provide more success in filling staffing gaps, especially in specialised areas. Managing a ‘gig’ workforce requires a shift in thinking, with strategies required for effective engagement and scheduling.
Such strategies might include:
- Establishing clear expectations
- Ensuring clear lines of communication
- Implementing quality control measures
- Ensuring compliance
Once these strategies are in place, the increase in flexibility and agility for both workers and the organisation will be worth the effort.
- Investment in workforce development and retention
The well-documented medical professional shortage has created intense competition for quality talent. Investment must be made not only in recruitment strategies, but also in retention and employee experience, and building a strong employer brand and value proposition will be key to attracting and retaining the best medical staff. Workforce development programs may include career advancement opportunities and planning, mentorship, and support for continuous education. Think about what matters to employees, and work to ensure a positive working environment, competitive compensation, and benefits that employees really want, like things that exemplify a commitment to work-life balance.
- Navigating regulatory changes
The complex regulatory environment around Australian healthcare presents challenges to changing staffing strategies, and when regulations change, organisations need to be able to change with them. Staying informed is the first step, which the Wavelength Regulatory & Migration Services team is well equipped to support you with. When you understand legislation around workforce management, registrations, licencing requirements, and remuneration models, you can find ways to leverage legislative changes, while ensuring compliance and optimising staffing processes.
The current need for medical professionals across the whole Australian healthcare industry presents both challenges and opportunities. While some problems may only be solved through legislative change, there are a variety of strategies that we can help you implement to help you attract and retain the best medical talent. By adopting forward-thinking approaches and remaining agile in the face of change, healthcare organizations can build a skilled, engaged, and adaptable workforce, ultimately improving patient outcomes and delivering high-quality care in the evolving healthcare landscape.