Dedicated Workforce Staff or Units Organizational


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.

Relationship building

  • 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.