Having a dedicated position or even entire units devoted to frontline workforce development is critical to prioritizing and scaling an effective workforce strategy. As a best practice, these positions or units typically reside in HR and report to the talent development or organizational development and learning functions. Increasingly healthcare systems are aligning workforce development with community health and/or benefits as well. Stand-alone units are more feasible in large healthcare systems, but even a dedicated staff member can set you on the path to success.
An employee or unit dedicated to frontline development carves out time and resources for staff to develop and implement a targeted strategy. With increased capacity, staff can hone in on ways to build and grow workforce development infrastructure, seek innovation, and deliver direct services to employees. It may take multiple staff members to get the job done, but below are some of the activities dedicated units can accomplish.
- Identify workforce needs of the healthcare system, including shortages, hard-to-fill positions, and high-turnover areas.
- Assess employee needs and skills gaps and design programs to close those gaps.
- Oversee implementation and evaluation of new or existing programs, align goals to business needs, and adapt programs to changing labor demands.
- Offer an array of workforce development and career pathway services to employees, students, and community residents.
- Advise leaders on changes to processes or policies that better support employees in their career development.
- Create and strengthen external partnerships to ensure candidates are prepared to meet the needs of the specific healthcare system, prioritize recruitment of underrepresented populations, or collaborate to meet a specific mission.
- Create relationships with schools to spark students’ interest in healthcare careers; create linkages and opportunities for students to successfully shadow and prepare for high-demand jobs.
- Build bridges between internal departments to create a culture of learning and advancement that supports employees’ personal and professional growth.
- Create relationships with incumbents and aid them in their career development and advancement, including coaching, skills development, and exploring career pathways.
CareerSTAT Members Implementing This Practice
Rush University Medical Center
Staten Island Performing Provider System
Trinity Health Michigan Region (Mercy Health and Saint Joesph Mercy Health)
The Christ Hospital Health Network
Baylor Scott & White Health System
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Related Best Practices
Senior Leadership Support and Sponsorship
ORGANIZATIONAL | Senior leaders, including chief department officers, vice presidents, and facility administrators serve a critical role in garnering support for frontline workforce development.Read More
Leverage Partner Expertise and Resources
ORGANIZATIONAL | When selecting partners, develop an assessment process to determine which organizations have the capacity, expertise, and ability to deliver quality service.Read More
Basic Skill Development
PROGRAMMATIC | Entry-level employees don’t always have the reading, math, technology, or English language skills to excel in their current position or advance their career.Read More
Workforce Planning and Analytics
ORGANIZATIONAL | Making the business case for frontline workforce investments requires both quantitative data and qualitative storytelling.Read More
Alignment with Organizational Priorities
ORGANIZATIONAL | When frontline workforce development truly succeeds, it is because it is “part of the way we do business” rather than stand-alone or one-off programs.Read More
Secure Seed Funding and Develop Co-Investment Strategies
ORGANIZATIONAL | Seed capital from public or private grants can bring employers and other stakeholders together to kickstart workforce development efforts.Read More