CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy
Beginning in November 2017, CareerSTAT brought together 11 healthcare organizations for the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy. This year-long learning experience helps healthcare organizations develop more diverse talent pipelines, better retain and advance their entry-level staff, and proactively fill critical healthcare positions. An initiative of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. The Academy supports CareerSTAT’s goal to accelerate the adoption of business practices that support frontline worker education, training, and advancement. Over the coming months, we are profiling each of the Academy participants and their progress. Read profiles of other CareerSTAT Academy Members here.
Providing Career Mobility Just Makes Good Sense
Baystate Health is a nonprofit, integrated healthcare system based in Springfield, Massachusetts. With a workforce of nearly 12,000, including over 2,000 frontline workers, Baystate Health is one of western Massachusetts’ strongest economic engines and an integral part of the region. Baystate prioritizes hiring from the local community and provides frontline workers with career mobility opportunities.
Career mobility refers to employees’ ability to move across grades and positions, ideally with an upward trajectory. When frontline workers have career mobility, employers benefit. Opportunities to advance encourage people to stay longer with the organization, increasing retention, engagement, and productivity. Given the aging population and staff shortages in much-needed healthcare positions, hiring from within builds a pipeline of a strong and motivated healthcare workforce.
To make this a reality, leaders at Baystate Health decided to revamp the strategic workforce development plan to better encourage career mobility and inclusive hiring practices for frontline workers. Institutional change requires all stakeholders to appreciate and understand that change is necessary. Leadership and staff interviews, talent landscape reviews, and research on future-based projections are all part of this process. With the results from internal feedback internal reviews, it is clear that internal career pathways are needed to create a healthy workforce. Baystate Health is demonstrating the value of providing opportunities for frontline workers to advance.
Baystate Health’s next step in creating a system that supports career mobility is to identify and remove any barriers that might keep frontline workers from seeking new opportunities. In healthcare specifically, studies show that employees want advancement opportunities, but often assume that they’ll fail to meet the strict prerequisites, including academic requirements and certifications. They are also unsure of potential career pathways. Even something as simple as transportation can present challenges to education and training opportunities and make advancement seem virtually impossible. By reviewing their standing policies and practices and removing employees’ most common and arduous barriers, like past experience and minimum education requirements, Baystate Health is opening up career opportunities to more frontline workers.
These efforts require additional personnel resources, and Baystate Health is building a more robust talent management team, adding a career advisor and a career mobility consultant. Frontline workers can now sit down and talk about available possibilities and how to get started.
By cultivating a workplace culture that values those who strive to climb, Baystate Health is showing that it values its people and is committed to the communities it serves.
Baystate Health is already measuring and seeing the success of its workforce programs. For instance, there has been a decrease in the time it takes to fill a frontline position. Frontline workers are embracing a registered apprenticeship program; currently, the program has an 88% retention rate.
Baystate Health is in the process of implementing the new three-year workforce strategic plan. A significant advantage to participation in the CareerSTAT Healthcare Workforce Development Academy is the peer-learning assistance it offers. The lessons they learned from other Academy participants helped Baystate Health to anticipate challenges and provided a framework for crafting new policies.
As they look to realize their goals, Baystate Health is examining other policies that may need updating, things like drug screens, background checks, and internal transfer policies. By taking these steps, they are institutionalizing career mobility while also reducing barriers to inclusive hiring.
CareerSTAT is a network of nearly 300 healthcare professionals who are committed to advancing healthcare’s frontline workers. Learn more at https://nationalfund.org/new-academy-helping-healthcare-organizations-invest-in-frontline-workers/