Do health care professionals have certain HR pain points that are more prevalent because of their industry? Although HR departments in all industries face many of the same workforce issues and struggles, some issues may be more common or a higher priority in a particular industry. This is especially true for health care employers, such as hospitals and other medical facilities.
Below are 10 of the top pain points HR professionals in the health care industry may face:
- Employer Vaccine Requirements
Hospitals and other health care facilities are more likely to require their employees to be vaccinated than most employers, which makes sense because of their interaction with patients and for various other health and safety reasons, such as the risk of spreading the flu.
However, this means health care employers must be ready to respond to vaccine exemption requests while ensuring compliance with related laws. It’s also a good idea to set up a program that effectively encourages employee vaccinations.
- Workplace Violence Prevention
Unfortunately, hospitals and other health care facilities have seen more than their share of workplace violence. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), incidents of serious workplace violence are four times more common in health care than in private industry. That’s why health care employers must continue to be vigilant in their workplace violence prevention strategies. This may involve:
- Implementing measures to address workplace violence;
- Reviewing workplace violence prevention policies;
- Making any necessary changes and improvements to such policies; and
- Training employees on how to handle incidents of workplace violence.
- Wage and Hour
Wage and hour compliance may cause health care employers a lot of headaches because of the number of employees in different positions typically found in their workforce. Such employers need to be especially careful to make sure they are properly classifying exempt and nonexempt employees to avoid liability for overtime pay and penalties, especially since their workforce typically doesn’t work normal 9-to-5 shifts. It’s also important to ensure managers understand employee classification and compliance issues.
- Sexual Harassment Prevention
Sexual harassment in the workplace has been a hot topic for HR since the launch of the #MeToo movement and is something that hospitals and other health care facilities cannot afford to overlook. They should focus on preventing instances of sexual harassment in the workplace by:
- Complying with state and local harassment prevention laws;
- Formulating an up-to-date sexual harassment policy;
- Providing employee training to their workforce; and
- Handling grievances in a proper manner.
- Background Checks
Background checks are often an important part of candidate screening for health care employers, who certainly want to avoid workplace violence incidents or other criminal conduct by thoroughly vetting job candidates with access to patients.
Many states and localities have placed limitations on when employers can ask applicants about their criminal history and when background checks may be conducted in the hiring process. However, most of these laws include exceptions for health care positions. Nonetheless, it’s important to make sure your background check policies are in compliance with all applicable laws.
- Employment Contracts
Health care employers may have more employment contracts with their workforce than the average employer due to the amount of highly specialized and skilled employees they employ (e.g., doctors, surgeons, etc.). Make sure your employment contracts and noncompete agreements follow all applicable federal and state laws on this subject.
- Workplace Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) requires an employer to provide its employees with working conditions that are free from any health or safety hazards that could cause death or serious injury.
Since health care facilities may expose employees to many more safety and health hazards than the average workplace, it’s vital for health care employers to promote a safe workplace and ensure they are in compliance with all applicable OSHA standards and directives.
- Legalization of Marijuana
Over the last several years, more and more states are legalizing medical and recreational marijuana. Health care employers need to make sure they:
- Develop or update their policies on drugs in a way that complies with state and federal laws; and
- Determine how and when to address marijuana use in employee drug testing.
- Drug Addiction
The opioid epidemic has been all over the headlines in recent years, and workplaces are not immune to this issue. Hospitals and other health care facilities may have to be especially attentive and sensitive to it because many of their employees have access to a variety of drugs. It’s important to know how to:
- Respond when an employee may be abusing drugs; and
- Ensure your response does not violate employee rights.
- Recruiting and Hiring
With the current jobseeker-friendly market, all employers are facing challenges when tasked with recruiting, hiring and retaining the best and the brightest employees. This may be especially true in the health care industry because of the reported shortage of health care workers in many areas.
With the rising competition for talent, health care employers must ensure they in the best position to attract and retain the workforce they want and need. This may involve developing strategies for:
- Using analytics in recruiting and talent management;
- Using social media in the recruiting process;
- Hiring the best candidates;
- Reducing Turnover;
- Fostering employee motivation; and
- Improving retention.