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Redefining the Workforce to Embrace the “New Normal”

by The Leadership Development Group

Significant societal issues including the pandemic, social injustices, and economic turmoil have forced every organization, its leaders, and its workforce to dive headfirst into a “new normal.” The health ecosystem, in particular, has been hit hard, having to reinvent the very nature of work to support their employees, patients, and communities with compassion — amid limited resources — through one of the most critical periods in our lifetimes. What are organizations doing to build their workforces’ capabilities to embrace the “new normal?”

Building the capabilities of employees to thrive in the “new normal” requires rethinking education and training for everyone. Redefining the workforce is key to navigating through the new demands and expectations thrust upon us. In this article, we’re highlighting the various ways business leaders can develop their workforces to remain steadfast for today and for years to come.

Rapid Reskilling is Fundamental to Redefining the Workforce

Reskilling staff is the first step to enhancing productivity and building workforce resiliency. Rapid reskilling is the process of learning new skills so that employees are better prepared and equipped to take on new challenges and responsibilities. This is especially useful when organizations are facing workforce shortages.

The Great Resignation is a contributing factor for the need to quickly reskill current staff. Talent shortages require organizations to focus on internal promotions that necessitate reskilling and upskilling of current employees to fill specific roles and prevent attrition. These on-the-job learning experiences call for leadership development solutions such as executive coaching, group coaching, and team development. Through the process of reskilling, the workforce as a whole becomes resilient and the organization benefits as well by: 

  • Retaining key leaders who have been reskilled
  • Offering succession opportunities
  • Preparing for any unexpected resignations

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion — Starting at the Top

The summer of 2020 was a pivotal point in our society highlighting systemic inequities and a much-needed focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I). Civil movements brought racial and societal injustices to the forefront. C-suite executives began to take into account their role in combating injustices by implementing ED&I strategies in their workforce. Redefining the workforce to represent the customers the organization serves is essential to ensure that the needs of all populations are equitably served and represented. 

Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce begins at the top. We have learned that achieving ED&I requires organizations to build a workforce that includes diverse populations across many characteristics such as:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Skill sets and abilities

When Employees Suffer, Customers Will Too

Burnout among employees is at an all-time high. As we look to the future, there needs to be a focus on workforce well-being. Redefining the workforce not only benefits the employees and the organization, it also positively impacts customer engagement and satisfaction. Think about a scenario where most of an organization’s employees are feeling burnt out and overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion. The impact of burn-out on performance is massive — hindering the ability of employees to perform at their best.

Overworked and overwhelmed employees are likely to make mistakes that could jeopardize the health and/or safety of their patients and customers. That’s why it’s critical to invest in employee health and wellness. According to the American Hospital Association’s Health Care Talent Scan, “One-third of physicians who reported depression said they were more easily exasperated with patients, nearly one quarter were less careful when taking patient notes, and 15% blamed burnout for errors they would not have made otherwise.”

The effects of poor employee well-being are clear — when employees suffer, customers do too. Strategies to building and redefining a healthier workforce include leaders implementing and offering:

  • Employee wellness programs
  • Enhanced health benefits
  • Increased support of the use of PTO
  • Mental health support

Normalize Seeking Help 

Undoubtedly, leaders in the health ecosystem have either experienced or witnessed someone needing help but were unsure how or afraid to ask for it. Often, physicians and other healthcare workers feel as though they would be harshly criticized and receive little help if they went to their leadership claiming they had feelings of anxiety and were suffering from burnout. This is a heartbreaking truth felt by many health ecosystem leaders and employees. In fact, 61% of physicians and others across the healthcare ecosystem report experiencing feelings of burnout. So, what can leaders do about it?

In addition to providing mental health benefits that boost employee wellness and retention, it’s critical to create an open and compassionate company culture that normalizes seeking help. A crucial part of redefining the workforce is to encourage open and honest communication between employees and management. When there is a lack of trust and security, teams will become divided into ununified silos that:

  • Hinder interpersonal communication
  • Harm individual well-being
  • Lead to higher turnover rates

Focus on Team Development to Enhance Business Outcomes

Lastly, redefining the workforce requires leaders to focus on enhancing team development to improve business performance and outcomes. As a matter of fact, 88% of employees report that healthy company culture is critical to their team effectiveness and the organization’s success. Poor company culture leads to inefficient communication, unsatisfied employees, high turnover, and poor team effectiveness. 

Optimizing team performance is essential to driving positive business results. Leaders need to prioritize strengthening their team dynamics to improve the overall success of the organization to:

  • Amplify collaboration and communication
  • Develop a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities
  • Enhance organizational resilience
  • Upskill and reskill to increase employee engagement and retention

Final Thoughts

Navigating through this “new normal” as a leader within the health ecosystem is no easy feat. Ultimately, without the right skills and knowledge, it’s incredibly difficult to manage and support employees during these challenging times. Leadership development solutions can help you redefine your workforce for future success by:

  • Strengthening your team’s effectiveness
  • Implementing ED&I solutions
  • Advocating for increased employee health benefits
  • Creating a company culture that supports healthy communication

TLD Group is prepared to get you and your organization on the right path to success. Get in touch with us to discover how we can help you on your journey to build the workforce of the future.

Topics: Leadership Development, Healthcare Ecosystem, Leadership, Leadership Resources, Diversity and Inclusion, Executive Coaching, Physician Leadership