How to Offer Employee Flexibility in Healthcare

The healthcare industry is known for its demanding nature, where dedicated professionals work tirelessly to ensure the well-being of patients. However, it’s crucial to recognize that healthcare employees also need a healthy work-life balance and flexibility to maintain their own well-being and better care for patients. This is a win for you too because employees who are happy with their work-life balance tend to stick around longer.

Offering employee flexibility not only improves retention, but it also helps you recruit more quality talent. In fact, a recent Hireology study found that 49% of healthcare job seekers would take the lower paying option in exchange for better flexibility — as long as the offers were both in an acceptable pay range. 

At a time when healthcare facilities are still navigating pandemic-induced talent shortages, anything you can do to retain your existing team and win over job seekers who have the upper hand in the job market can make all the difference. Here are five tips for offering more flexibility for your employees within the healthcare sector:

5 ways to offer employee flexibility at your healthcare facility

1. Embrace job sharing

Job sharing is a concept where two employees share the responsibilities of a full-time role. In the healthcare industry, this could be particularly effective for positions that require continuous coverage, such as nursing. By splitting shifts or days, employees can maintain their commitment to patient care while also striking the work/life balance they want. Job sharing also gives employees a bit more freedom to choose when they work. As long as the full-time role is covered, both employees can enjoy more flexibility.

2. Offer remote work for non-medical staff

While medical professionals need to be on-site for patient care, many roles within a healthcare organization do not require a physical presence. Administrative, HR, IT, and finance roles, for instance, can often be performed remotely. Allowing non-medical staff to work from home not only provides them with a better work-life balance but can also increase productivity as they work in a comfortable and familiar environment.

3. Give employees a say in their schedules

Empowering your team to have some control over their schedules is another way to offer flexibility. You can do this with shift bidding or scheduling tools that let employees choose shifts based on their preferences and availability.This not only enhances morale but it also gives your team the ability to balance work and life in a way that works for them. 

4. Build an on-call talent pool

Flexibility can be tricky in healthcare simply because patients cannot go unattended. But a well-staffed on-call talent pool can solve for this. An on-call talent pool is a community of employees who can opt to be on standby for situations where you suddenly might be short staffed. This then adds some wiggle room for your regular employees who might suddenly need a day off, need to leave early, or come in late. In these cases you can fall back on someone in your pool to cover those hours. 

Of course it’s important that this pool is large enough to accommodate regular requests for flexibility and time off. That’s where your recruiting strategy comes into play. You should always be actively looking for skilled workers who might be interested in picking up shifts occasionally but aren’t committed to full-time work. 

5. Offer more paid time off (PTO)

The healthcare industry is already known for offering generous amounts of PTO, but one way to stand out among your competitors is by offering even more. In an industry where most roles cannot be performed remotely, the ability to take time off for life events — no matter how small — gives your employees more control over their work-life balance. 

For example, while an office worker may be able to attend their child’s important school function simply by leaving early or completing their work outside of regular hours, medical professionals don’t have the degree of flexibility. But added PTO allows for them to plan for these types of events while still maintaining their full-time career. Additionally, consider introducing policies that allow for shorter notice periods when requesting PTO for urgent situations. 

It’s no secret that job seekers today value flexibility. And it’s easy for healthcare employers to assume that flexibility isn’t an option given the nature of the work. But there are ways to rethink how you approach scheduling and staffing to accommodate added flexibility into your jobs. Implementing just one or two of these tactics now can make a big difference in your recruiting, hiring, and retention strategies long-term. 



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