Recruit and retain top talent in the post-pandemic world

This is the fifth article series As the healthcare industry begins to stand out from the challenges of the pandemic, we focus on process-based opportunities.As in Introduction to this series, Each of these articles will define a problem, consider the problem and its impact on healthcare, and then propose potential solutions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of how people work and created process and logistical challenges in how organizational leaders facilitate their work. In the last article on telemedicine, I wrote about the upsurge of using telemedicine to restore patients to online treatment. This is how we get the frontline healthcare providers to move forward again, but now we need to go back and reassess what we have left in the process of getting there. In that review process, we also need to consider more than just frontline medical staff.

In the context of healthcare provision in the age of coronavirus, we often talk about doctors, nurses, and other clinicians. We tend to pay less attention to white-collar workers—people in finance, information technology, and other operational fields—but in this turmoil, their workplace has undergone the biggest changes.

What will their future workplace and work philosophy look like, and how will we find suitable candidates for these important positions and engage them in a beneficial environment? The answers to these questions are critical to the future development of healthcare organizations. The first step in finding a solution is to examine the talent transformation in this major organizational change environment.


In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the United States, causing damage to almost every industry. High-contact industries such as hotels are basically closed. The health care industry has been hit particularly hard, as non-emergency preventive care and non-emergency surgery have been suspended for several months. Frontline medical staff have been slammed by COVID patients, while managers and white-collar workers in the healthcare field are largely forced to work remotely.

By the end of 2020, many workers will continue to work remotely, but most of these changes are considered temporary, especially at the end of the year when a promising vaccine is coming. People think things will return to “normal” eventually. It may not come soon in the end.

Impact on healthcare

Usually, when we look at a problem, the impact on health care is largely negative. I want to look at some of the bright sides of the workplace disruption “problem” caused by the pandemic, because it has produced some significant and transformative innovations in how we hire and develop talent.

Most of the impact on healthcare is about what happens when things stabilize, assuming they stabilize. I have seen many articles and review articles speculating on the future jobs of medical staff who are engaged in jobs that are conducive to remote work. Will they work remotely? Will everyone go back to the office? Will they work in mixed mode? These questions are often asked, as if what happened is beyond our control. It is not.


In most cases, the ideal benefit of implementing major organizational system/process changes is to significantly increase the productivity of the people who use the systems and processes and are affected by them. Therefore, it is ironic and often regrettable that how these people fit into the work process, and more importantly, how they think they fit into the work process is often overlooked in implementation planning.

After working on this new model for a year and a half, we are now beginning to obtain some data to help us move forward. In the latest PwC US Pulse Survey (August 2021), 32% of healthcare leaders strongly agreed that the number one factor driving their return to work plan is employee preference.

I believe this is the way it should be, not only from the perspective of corporate culture, but also because these employees have been living under this big experiment for the benefits and disadvantages of 18 months, so they have a lot of insights to share. What do they want this future to look like, what do they like, and what do they care about?

First, let’s consider the point of view of working remotely before the pandemic.In a survey of more than 1,200 workers in the United States before the outbreak of the pandemic, workers who work remotely, whether full-time or part-time, said they were happier, less stressed, felt more trusted by the organization, and Compared with people who work full-time in the office, they are less likely to leave for another job.

In the same survey, when it came to issues affecting recruitment, 71% of respondents agreed that being able to work remotely would make them more likely to choose one employer over another for their next job. 81% of people said that having a remote work option would enable them to better manage work-life conflicts, and the same percentage said it would make them more likely to recommend their organization to friends.

The aforementioned PwC August 2021 study surveyed more than 750 executives and 1,000 employees in the healthcare sector. When employees were asked which incentives were most attractive to them, scheduling flexibility topped the list, with 38% of respondents ranking it as the top three (tied with expanded benefits).

The fourth place in the 10 list is location flexibility. When executives were asked how their organization can stand out in the current and projected labor market, location flexibility and scheduling flexibility were rated #3 and #4, respectively, which are also very high.It’s interesting (I’ll say appropriately) that executives commented Company purpose and values, and company leadership and culture As the first two ways for them to distinguish themselves from potential employees and existing employees.

According to data from the Deloitte Health Solutions Center, before the pandemic began, only 9% of employees said their employers were introducing new ways of working. Today, 78% of respondents said their employers have either implemented a new way of working or are planning to do so.As The report author pointed out that Leaders are learning that virtual work “is not about copying face-to-face work online, but using new technology to rethink work, team, and culture.”

We are in turmoil, and there are signs that we must abandon some of the old ways of thinking about recruiting and retaining the right people. In the next article in this series, I will continue to delve into this topic, examining how the home healthcare sector can provide a model to create a thriving, location-independent workforce.

Sam Hannah Is an executive in residence at an American university. Previous positions include consulting practice leader, chief strategy and innovation officer, and digital strategist at global consulting companies such as PricewaterhouseCoopers and Deloitte. He holds a PhD in Translational Health Sciences from George Washington University and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson College.

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