All Aboard for Training to Align Allied Health Skills

The seas of allied health staffing seem turbulent. 

A large population of workers has reached age 65, prompting a retirement ramp-up. At the same time, fewer students are studying allied health professions, hindering the ability to replenish a shrinking workforce. The use of new technologies, like artificial intelligence, presents another layer of challenge for new and existing workers as digital tools are incorporated into education and workflows.  All this comes at a time when the the Great Resignation continues impacting staffing shortages. 

To overcome hiring hurdles and attract or retain allied health talent, today’s employers must redefine what it means to support worker needs.

Turn to Training to Temper Shifting Tides

When seasoned workers leave a position, their accumulated skills and knowledge tend to evaporate in their wake. Without a way to impart their experience on existing employees picking up the reins, productivity and efficiency suffer. There’s also a risk of creating a more stressful work environment. 

In hiring workers new to the allied health field, similar challenges exist. Professionals just out of school have learned the technical ropes of a specific role, but may lack the additional skills needed to truly excel in the position.

Consider this: “More than 65% of employers report that newly certified allied health workers entering the workforce are prepared to perform their job duties, but they still need to develop some specific skills.” This includes improvements in:

  • Clinical skills (52%)
  • Patent communication (50%)
  • Critical thinking (48%)
  • Professionalism (48%)
  • Time management (42%)

Both existing workers and those new to allied health fields would benefit from additional training and skills development to enhance their versatility, improve job satisfaction and support ongoing success. 

Training is especially helpful in ensuring employees are able to develop the soft skills not always taught as part of allied health curriculum, but essential to the job. 

To advance education, more than half of employers of allied health professionals rely on continuing education requirements to develop skills. But is this enough? Continuing education does focus on vital technical skills, but may not always concentrate on soft skills. It’s good to consider additional training options to round out ongoing learning.

One route is coaching. Nearly one-third of employers employ mentorship and coaching to help employees improve performance. This helps new employees better learn the nuances of their role, and helps seasoned workers learn new skills that could translate to their current position or help them pivot to new career paths. 

Another route is creating unique training programs. Micro-sized programs could allow workers to gain new in-demand skills without committing a lot of time. Larger, more formal programs offered once hiring is complete could help diversify allied health professionals’ skills to make it easier for future career path pivots.

With ongoing worker shortages and accelerated worker retirement, any steps you can take as an employer to retain and upskill workers, like offering training and ongoing education, will help fill staffing gaps now and in the future.  

Checklist: Tips to Keep You Afloat During the Hiring Process

It feels like there’s a constant rotation of vacant roles. As an employer looking to fill open allied health positions, consider these tips to increase your chance of success when vetting potential candidates:

  • Expand your job description: Include soft skills or tangential skills. List training and continuing education opportunities to show you’re willing to help applicants grow into a role.
  • Get creative: Extend your search to fields that may not seem 1:1 related to the role you’re trying to fill. If a candidate has a good % of the required skills, the rest can be taught on the job. 
  • Focus inward: Cast your hiring net toward internal employees first. The ideal candidate could be right under your nose, and all it would take is a bit of training to help them make the transition. 
  • Reconsider requirements: Training can offset a lack of experience. Lowering required years of education or required number of technology proficiencies will expand your applicant pool. 

To learn more about the current trends impacting allied health hiring, download our guide.

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