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Winning hearts and minds as a healthcare employer

You probably don’t need research figures to recognise the scale of the healthcare skills shortage in 2022. With the Health Care and Social Assistance industry projected to make the largest contribution to Australian employment growth in the coming years, your practice will want to be one step ahead.1 Healthcare design and fit-out company Evoke Projects explores how you can become an ‘employer of choice’ to attract and retain the best skills.

What is an employer of choice?

In healthcare, an employer of choice is a practice that wins the hearts and minds of staff. Healthcare is a vocational industry and people enter it to make a difference and be rewarded by job satisfaction. An employer of choice ensures that staff feel appreciated and listened to. They earn a fair wage, work reasonable shifts and do not feel burnt out.

Healthcare practice tips to becoming an employer of choice

Allocate Software writes that workplace culture (97%) and work-life balance (94%) are the top two priorities when Australia’s younger healthcare professionals choose a place to work.2

In the USA, multinational healthcare services company Cardinal Health, Asia Pacific was voted as HRD (Human Resources Director) employer of choice for the second consecutive year in 2021.3 They rated highly for career management, empowerment, and organisational change. What are some of the secrets to their success?

  • Mentoring talent for growth
  • Monthly one-on-one sessions to discuss well-being, performance, and career development
  • Ensure staff feel supported and heard
  • Creating an interactive and open communication environment in the company
  • Supportive and accessible leadership
  • Development of comprehensive strategies to address issues raised in employee surveys
  • Internal social media platforms to keep employees connected
  • Ensure staff have the resources to be happy and healthy

These align well with Nancy Fonseca’s 11 recommendations to become an employer of choice.4 Nancy Fonseca is an authority on workplace culture at Great Place to Work®️.

  1. Career growth
  2. Meaningful work
  3. Appreciation and recognition
  4. Work-life balance
  5. Strong leaders
  6. Fairness
  7. Access to information
  8. Empowerment
  9. Strong reputation
  10. Community involvement
  11. Fun

Technology makes for a great place to work

Modern technology has so much to offer healthcare practices. Digital records free up staff time while providing more efficiency. Technology that improves the patient experience, such as telehealth, electronic prescriptions and mobile check-in also improves the staff experience because patients are more satisfied. Healthcare staff have to deal with complaints about mistakes and inefficiencies which can be stressful.

Lean healthcare design

The healthcare interior design affects workflow throughout the practice. Efficient movement between treatment rooms and administrative areas is important. ‘Lean’ workplace methodologies aim to minimise waste in processes and procedures, which makes for a more efficient and happier workplace.

An example of a Lean healthcare fit-out design winning hearts and minds is Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates – Atrius Health in Boston, USA. Patients can access different medical needs in one building. The medical fit-out is standardised with every treatment room having the same design. This means clinicians know where to find everything and re-stocking supplies is efficient. A second door in the examination room enables clinicians to quickly access administrative staff. This healthcare design and fit-out has a smaller footprint, reduced waiting and appointment times and better workflow.

Involving staff in finding opportunities for improvement will make them feel valued and appreciated. Ask staff for ideas about reducing waiting times, more efficient patient flow through the practice, not stocking unnecessary medications and supplies, and removing repetition in form filling or data entry.

Biophilic healthcare design and fit-out

Healthcare staff will appreciate the opportunity to connect better with nature. This can be achieved through biophilic healthcare design.

  1. If you have an outside area, consider a communal herb garden for staff.
  2. Improve air quality with a new air filtration system when you undertake a new medical fit-out.
  3. Natural plants absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and evoke an emotional response because we associate them with being outside and enjoying leisure time.
  4. Hang artwork with pictures of animals, coastal scenery and rainforests throughout the healthcare fit-out.
  5. Increase the opportunity for views and natural daylight exposure in your next healthcare or medical fit-out.
  6. Natural textures make such a difference to healthcare interior design, including wood-effect flooring and faux stone tiles.
  7. Elements that remind people of nature, such as natural patterns and shapes, are biophilic. You could include a leaf pattern or cloud shapes in your wall coverings.
  8. A study showed that 67% of respondents felt happy when walking into bright interiors, while calming colours are better for quiet or social areas.5
  9. Recuperation and relaxation make us feel close to nature. Provide breakout spaces within the healthcare interior design so that clinicians can have some downtime during the workday.

For healthcare design and fit-out ideas that will win hearts and minds, please call Evoke Projects on 1300 720 692.

1. https://www.nationalskillscommission.gov.au/insights/health-care-and-social-assistance-industry-analysis
2. https://www.allocatesoftware.com.au/what-are-the-younger-healthcare-professionals-concerns-and-how-to-meet-their-needs/
3. https://www.hcamag.com/asia/specialisation/employee-engagement/how-to-be-an-employer-of-choice-in-a-hybrid-workplace/314133
4. https://www.greatplacetowork.ca/en/articles/11-characteristics-of-an-employer-of-choice
5. https://www.buildings.com/news/industry-news/articleid/21800/title/biophilia-study-employee-health-wellness

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