HRM in the health sector deals with management aspects such as planning, organizational performance, research on HR, human capital development, and management retention. Health human resources serve as one of the pillars of the healthcare sector. It includes nurses, physicians, dentist, opticians, community or social health workers, midwives as well as management and support staff. The management on support personnel may not deliver health care services directly but are critical to the functioning and effectiveness of the health care systems. Such staff includes health economists, medical secretaries, service managers, health records and information support among others. Healthcare organizations have to respond strategically to the changing conditions in the industry to remain competitive while offering goals and achieving organizational goals. Development in technology, changing preferences, competition from new or emerging care providers, changes in healthcare laws and regulations can have a momentous impact on healthcare organizations. To respond to such issues, healthcare entities have to set up change management programs to address them while motivating staff to improve performance.
Human resource management is a critical asset in the healthcare field because it provides expertise in employee relations or communicating with employees; compensations and benefits; recruitment and selection; facilitating training and development; and managing change. To that end, this paper explores the roles and functions of HRM in the healthcare field. Additionally, the role of HRM is an organization’s strategic plan is discussed.
The Role of Human Resource Management in the Healthcare Field
Human resource management refers to a system of strategies and activities that focus on the efficient management of employees at all levels of an entity to achieve organizational goals. Employees serve as an institutions' most vital asset. Therefore, for the healthcare field to be successful, organizations within the industry must ensure that employee productivity is the central goal. The extent of productivity varies based on the knowledge and skill level of the employees as well as their job satisfaction level within the organization. Some of the specific healthcare workplace issues, in which the role of the HRM is integrated, are to ensure that the HR audits are addressed include ethical, safety and legal issues in healthcare, job analysis and design, hiring, selection and retention, career opportunities, and employee motivation.
The role of HRM in healthcare entities is that of the partnership between management and the HR department irrespective of the type of the organization. HR departments have similar roles or responsibilities. However, the partnership between the management and the HR is a distinct in healthcare sector because most healthcare entities have a characteristic dual structure made of health services and clinical managers. HRM supervises the clinical and non-clinical staff having distinct training and responsibilities. For instance, clinical managers have specialized training or experience in a particular clinical area, and have more specific role than health service or generalist managers. For example, the director of health records is experienced in medical health records, and nurse managers have degrees in nursing. It is worth highlighting that the majority of the health service managers have degrees or masters in health services.
HRM fosters the relationship between the senior management and the HR department by treating HR staff as consultants in the internal environment because they can provide relevant recommendations about human resource relations. HRM also ensures that HR employees collaborate actively with the management, which involves inviting HR employees in strategy planning and formulation meetings. HRM also ensure that the human resource department provides extensive training and development opportunities to all the staff on a routine basis. Both the senior management and the HR department participate in the HR audits to evaluate the position of the healthcare entity. HRM continuously reviews incentive plans, strategic planning activities, turnover rates, and diversity rates to ensure that an entity is performing optimally.
Functions of Human Resource Management in the Healthcare Field
Human resource management functions are carried out by a human resource (HR) department. An HR department in the healthcare field performs several functions, namely recruitment and selection, determination of compensation and benefits, manpower planning, performance appraisal, training and development and labor management relations. The HR department recruits, promotes, retains or fires employees when necessary. HRM supports and advises the general manager responsible for the HR docket. This entails advising on the strategies for recruitment and deployment of staff. Strategic management skills such as communication skills, transformational leadership, and time management are required for various roles within the industry. The management addresses the time and financially related to aspects of the employee's work. HRM makes decision regarding the personnel welfare and progress. HR counseling entails sessions with the healthcare staff with family or marital crises, as well as with drug and alcohol related issues.
HRM ensures that employees are trained to perform optimally by utilizing their primary knowledge and skills. Through the HR department, test performance metrics is designed to monitor the skill level of the existing employees. Additionally, psychometric interviews are designed and administered during the hiring process. Manpower planning entails analysis, forecasting and identifying future needs. HR planning depends on technological changes, the projected traffic, the number of employees leaving an institution and the productivity level of the existing staff. HRM maintains active communication channels at all levels of a healthcare institution to improve the management of employees. Regular strategic meetings are planned and held to discuss HR and organizational issues or needs. The interaction between human resources and senior management opens channels for constructive dialogue. Regular meetings open a platform for airing grievances or suggestions between employees and administration. Through the meetings, HRM ensures that trust and confidence in the healthcare entity are built. To that end, HRM assures that quality control is sustained.
HRM includes the overall responsibility for hiring, selection, motivation, appraisal, compensation, staff training, and development as well as implementation of employment legislation. HRM monitors the progress, satisfaction and welfare of employees. Healthcare organizations conduct regular training and career development programs. Further, HR managers work closely with the other managers in order to develop necessary professional development. In addition, the HR department provides relevant continuing education opportunity for both clinical and non-clinical staff. Happy or motivated workforce leads to a health institution. The senior management and HR department conduct various employee welfare activities, including annual staff parties, and team building. HRM also ensures that organizational policy reviews are carried out to impact positively on employee’s motivation.
HRM also serves the function of determining compensation and benefits. Typically, the HR department works in hand with other functional areas of an entity including the administration and finance departments in conducting surveys and determining the salaries or benefits for various positions. Such decisions are arrived in consultation with the finance department and the senior management. Compensation and benefits are pivotal in employee motivations, thus, given priority by HR departments. In the healthcare settings, a variety of instances can arise requiring the staff to file claims. Examples include getting fired, layoff, injury and incidents of harassment. In addition, HRM specializes in various aspects of handling labor claims.
The Role of Human Resource Management in an Organization’s Strategic Plan
One of the roles of HRM highlighted above is the execution of strategy by helping the organization to improve its planning internally to the external environment. Healthcare organizations are striving to improve productivity, quality of service and to ensure that they can adapt to the changes that occur in their environment. The success of a healthcare institution’s strategic plan depends on its human resources, which is the primary differentiator in the knowledge-driven world. HRM plays a critical role in trying to achieve the distinctive advantage by being part of the strategy formulation, planning, and implementation processes. Human resource management plays a noteworthy role in the achievement of organizational plans by aiding policy and decision-making. The HRM team ensures that the strategic plan is delivered by hiring and appointing knowledgeable, skilled and experienced employees to ensure that organizational goals are achieved. In other words, human resource managers identify the talent available or needed for the success of their plans. An apt example is where a health institution forecast it demand and supply of talent when planning for the achievement of predefined goals or objectives. The success of a health care institution depends on strategic planning or the effectiveness of the HRM team.
The rapid transformations in the healthcare industry have forced health care organizations to respond to the turbulent and often threatening the environment. Considerable changes surface from various sources, including policy and legislative initiatives, technological advances, lifestyle changes, demographic shifts, elementary healthcare delivery changes. Dealing with the complex and rapid change requires strategic leadership and informed planning. Human resource management is essential to the healthcare sector. Strategic HRM plays a vital role in the efficiency of health care systems. Strategic management of human resources is significant in the hiring and retention of both clinical and non-clinical staff. Additionally, proper management of the human resources is important in the motivation of personnel, provision professional development opportunities and the ability of a health care entity to deliver quality service and improve the clinical outcomes of patients. HRM ensures organizational policies are implemented in a strategic manner. In fact, disciplinary action can be taken against staff members breaking institutional rules and regulations.
Thomas and Lazarova argued that HRM provides momentum and direction for change. Successful healthcare institutions have leaders who recognize the nature and impact of the external changes. Such leaders plan and develop strategies that account for the transformation as they manage the impetus of the institutions. These activities are jointly called strategic management. Leadership and effective planning are an illustration of strategic management in an entity. Strategic planning is vital in successful organizations operating in dynamic environments. Also, organizational transformation is an important part of success. As strategic leaders plan new courses of action or directions into the future, they subsequently create new challenges for their employees, new competitive advantages, and quality services for patients. Thus, it is important that healthcare planners understand the changes on both internal and external environments. In addition, health care managers should not only act in response to the transformations, but also strive to sustain their competitive advantages. HRM also focuses on the future of their institutions, creating new objectives for success and plan to initiate significant improvements.
Human resource management plays a critical in the overall management of the healthcare sector. HRM in the healthcare industry has several functions including personnel management, hiring, compensation and benefits management, professional development, training and performance appraisal, administration of employee meetings, counseling and labor mediation among others. HRM ensures that high-performing and productive workforce is developed by providing services to several organizational areas, namely recruitment and selection, employee motivation, healthcare career opportunities, job design and job analysis, strategic planning, employee terminations, distribution of benefits and compensation, and negotiation with labor unions.
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