The Talent Gap in Healthcare: Who’s Responsible for Closing It?

Aug 25, 2023

Healthcare workers

My latest organizational assessment of a leading healthcare organization highlighted a pressing dilemma in talent management dynamics, a challenge that’s evident across various industries, not just in healthcare. While their talent management strategy excelled at nurturing certain high-potential roles, including medical providers, nurses, researchers, and other licensed medical professionals; a sizable segment of their workforce felt marginalized and undervalued. This not only affects engagement and morale but also brings up ethical concerns. If the essence of an organization is its people, then sidelining a significant portion prompts the question: Whose responsibility is it to ensure growth — the employer’s, the employees’, or a combined effort of both?

The Perception Dilemma
Perceptions hold great influence. This healthcare organization, perhaps unintentionally, gave off an impression where many felt sidelined. Specifically, those advancing their education outside of healthcare felt a palpable gap in recognition. This feeling stems from a talent strategy that lacks a holistic approach to development. The outcome? An organization rich in talent and knowledge but plagued by diminished morale.

Navigating Leadership Development
A pronounced gap in mid-tier management underlines a deeper issue. While formulating programs is commendable, their pertinence is paramount. The absence of internal initiatives for roles like medical assistants and lab technicians, though crucial, reflects a broader ethos: Should employers pave the path for growth, or must individuals carve their own trajectory?

Conversely, modern organizational mindsets advocate for a shared responsibility model. Here, employers crucially provide platforms, resources, and opportunities, recognizing that a motivated and adaptive workforce augments productivity, fosters innovation, and uplifts organizational wellbeing.

The Traditional vs. Modern Perspective
Traditional hierarchies often believe that personal and professional growth is an individual’s responsibility. Supporters argue that taking initiative builds resilience, adaptability, and a proactive workforce. Those aiming for career advancement are expected to take the lead, grab opportunities, and drive their own progress.

Conversely, modern organizational mindsets advocate for a shared responsibility model. Here, employers offer tools, resources, and opportunities, understanding that a driven and adaptable workforce boosts productivity, encourages innovation, and enhances the organization’s health.

Ethical Dimensions: The Unspoken Challenge
Beyond tangible factors like morale and growth lies a profound ethical aspect. When talent management strategies even inadvertently hint at exclusivity, they mirror inherent biases. In a time that values diversity and inclusivity, it’s crucial to balance personal goals with company objectives.

Recommendations: Charting a Progressive Path
Amidst this discourse, several inclusive strategies stand out:

Consistent Dialogues: Organizations must foster regular interactions, outside of performance conversations, to gauge and support, employees’ growth aspirations. Yes, even if developing an employee result in their eventual departure, consider it an investment into the greater good of the workforce.
Fostering a Growth Mindset: From the C-Suite down, promoting development is essential. When leadership openly seeks growth and development, it naturally fosters a culture endorsing professional advancement. It underscores the pivotal nature of leading by example, eliminating sentiments like “it must be nice” when people are taking the time to prioritize development in their work schedule.
Empowerment through Resources: For employees on a self-directed growth journey, organizations can still offer pivotal tools and resources, highlighting their commitment to every individual’s growth.
Holistic Leadership Development: Identifying leadership potential across tiers ensures that growth isn’t confined to the upper echelons. However, employees must also proactively display their potential and advocate for opportunities.

In conclusion, talent management is a vital puzzle. When motivated employees and supportive companies unite, they create strong teams. Prioritizing growth and inclusivity helps retain and engage the best talent. This approach not only boosts the company’s internal strength but also sets them up as industry leaders. Investing in people and a supportive environment is the key to long-term success.

Author Details:
Chanda Adams Matthews, MAOL, SHRM-SCP
Founder, Principal Consultant
CMatt Consulting Firm, Management and HR Consulting Firm
Website: www.cmattconsulting.com
Social Media: @cmattconsulting
Email: info@cmattconsulting.com
Phone: 618-980-6712

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