Whether in healthcare or any given industry, it's a sign of the times that many employers find themselves caught between two equally forceful dynamics as they look ahead to the future of their workforce.

Author: William Ziebell

Exhilaration about the promise of greater innovation, improved productivity and organizational growth is tempered by uncertainty about evolving workforce threats, diverse employee needs and affordably competitive benefits and compensation. Nevertheless, employers must embrace this duality to prepare for a more integrated, connected and fast-paced future — and the way forward is to establish a holistic total compensation framework that’s structured for the changing drivers of healthcare employee engagement. 

This sturdier, yet more flexible framework is built around the larger goal, vision and perhaps even the aspiration of a destination workplace. It not only recognizes employees as their organization’s most important asset, but also addresses the complexity of managing them well. First and foremost, there’s a need to center on the full spectrum of organizational wellbeing by strategically investing in employees’ health, talent, financial security and career growth. And developing benefit and human resource (HR) programs at the right cost structure to support a multigenerational workforce. 

Surrounding the core elements of wellbeing is the important realization that society is experiencing a transformation in technology, communication and compliance. Indeed, this is a period that requires elevated human capital risk management that’s more diligent and focused than ever before. 

Benefit and HR solutions must protect healthcare organizations and employees and avoid costly penalties by complying with regulations and relevant laws. While firmly grounded in business realities, these solutions must also be inventive. They need to fully realize the opportunities and efficiencies of technology and harness the power of employee communications. 

This alignment creates a shift in the energy of the work environment that inspires better work. An increase in employee engagement and productivity supports destination-employer performance, and is the catalyst for growth and profitability. 

Cultivating a Destination-Workplace Identity in Healthcare

While the first steps in building a destination workplace are often the hardest, the return value is likely to offset this effort. The process begins with an inventory of key resources — both human and total compensation. Employers gain strategic insights by assessing their wellbeing value proposition, current and projected healthcare costs, workforce development plans, employee engagement metrics and employee risk factors. They should also consider how to make compensation more competitive and equitable, and look into the benefit preferences of future workforces. Once findings are analyzed and implications are understood, employers can formulate a talent strategy that addresses the career-stage needs of a multigenerational workforce. Determining the relative value of jobs should be part of the plan, including pay equity, salary grade and salary ranges. 

Destination employers double down on the potential value by also forming a long-range philosophy focused on total wellbeing and engagement. As they pursue that philosophy, they reinforce a healthy workplace culture that leads to better work — improving outcomes for individuals and the enterprise as a whole.

Examples of Marketplace Environmental Changes and Implications


Navigating Environmental Changes

External political, economic and social trends inevitably pose human capital risk challenges that require organizations to continually adapt. Among the key environmental changes pressing healthcare employers to respond proactively are the transformation of the global business marketplace, the shifting nature of work, the evolution of the workforce and emerging human capital risks. These changes are partly driven by artificial intelligence, big data and rapid advances in technology. 

Translating opportunities more swiftly and navigating related issues more deftly often calls for enhanced organizational focus, policies or programs. Acting on this commitment helps strengthen the employer’s reputation, and promotes the best possible outcomes of a holistic approach to employee wellbeing as part of a destination-workplace strategy. 

Forging a Reliable Path Forward

The sooner employers set out on the right path to attracting and retaining the best talent — in a stubbornly complex marketplace — the longer they’ll reap the rewards of sustaining a dynamic workforce. Top-performing destination workplaces frequently rely on data to guide their decisions. Objective insights point the way to better management of current resources while also promoting proactive planning for evolving business and employee needs. 

It’s easy to imagine a future where determining total compensation for all employees looks more like the selection of executive benefits today. Moving beyond a menu of standard options, diverse and individualized benefit needs and preferences would shape employer-employee dialogue and guide mutual decisions. 

HR information technology and communication advances that enable this mass customization could also be put to better use — enhancing value by creating stronger, more meaningful connections at a human level. 

The promise of tomorrow, combined with the progress of today, is driving destination employers to reimagine their total compensation framework and adopt a more holistic approach to wellbeing — one that inspires and supports better work. From this realignment, a new workplace covenant and culture are emerging. They define a distinct talent management reputation that attracts and engages the right employees in roles that lead to meaningful careers. What’s more, when cultural connectivity prevails — and embodies mutual respect, aligned incentives and balanced rewards for employees — employers can mitigate their human capital risk and fortify a sustainable future. 

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