By Tara Drosset
The career needs and preferences of today’s workforce are loud and clear: 96% of working professionals want more flexibility. In fact, they now expect flexibility about as much as they expect a 401(k). There can be no doubt that the gig economy has officially reached healthcare, and it’s forcing major recalibrations of what flexible career paths, workforce planning, and staffing strategies can be. But that doesn’t come without limitations.
“Flexibility is the new currency,” said Rob Crowe, founder and CEO of Matchwell. “This is true across industries of all types, but the pandemic has stressed our clinical workforce to the edge. We can’t afford to lose clinicians, and flexibility is key to retention. Most healthcare systems know they need to do more to attract and retain a flexible workforce, but they need the technology and recruiting support to manage this flexible workforce internally.”
That’s exactly what Crowe set out to solve by founding Matchwell, a North Carolina-based un-agency in 2017. Crowe saw the value in a marketplace platform that empowers healthcare organizations to directly access flexible W-2 healthcare professionals who, for one reason or another, aren’t looking for traditional full-time work.
Technology that Matchwell offers is readily available to help support and streamline efforts toward a flexible workforce movement. And by leaning into the natural agility of PRN/local shift work, more health organizations are learning they can revive retention strategies while also supporting talent with work that works for them.
Your local workforce is probably underutilized.
Many full- or part-time clinicians are seeking additional roles, like travel or per diem contracts, to augment their primary job. But it’s not feasible for everyone.
“Many don’t realize that only 1.4% of clinicians worked through agency prior to the pandemic… and while that number grew to roughly 4% during the pandemic, that still means 96% of the clinical workforce live and work locally. How do we provide more flexibility to this 96%?”
There’s an entire local workforce out there that most healthcare systems are underutilizing — clinicians home between travel assignments or searching for additional income, mothers looking for single-shift availability, or retirees returning to the workforce. How can organizations shift their staffing framework in a way that makes it easier to attract and engage this local talent? By moving to a more modular approach to flexible staffing:
1. Take it in-house.
- Build or expand your own internal staffing program or “agency” with clinicians on your payroll. Offer flexibility to existing employees as a retention tool or attract new clinicians seeking short-or long-term contract work or gig work. Then easily support and manage with an integrated tech platform, like Matchwell.
2. Access PRN/local.
- Tap into your community’s available workforce for clinicians who might be:
- Searching for flexible work arrangements
- Home between travel assignments
- On contract in your area
- Returning to the workforce
- With single-shift availability
- Scale your workforce up or down to meet fluctuations in the market. Place clinicians on-demand, short- or long-term, shift-by-shift, or as-needed, and deploy across departments or facilities to support your existing workforce.
3. Find an MSP.
- Finally, partner with a healthcare talent ecosystem, like Medical Solutions, that can provide managed services to fill the remainder of your open positions with contingent clinicians.
It’s now become table stakes to attract and retain employees.
In the same way the pandemic forced health organizations to self-audit and adapt to emerging pressures, it also began to hardwire flexibility into their strategic planning process.
“Matchwell attracts and retains a flexible workforce by making it easy for healthcare systems to engage all those clinicians seeking flexibility without feeling like they have to turn to a traditional staffing agency.”
A modular staffing model gives you more tangible control over your staff, schedule, and service gaps while embracing healthcare’s take on the gig economy. But it’s important to realize every health system is different, and building a flexible workforce is a long-term ambition that must meet both your staffing needs and the needs of your clinicians. It may be easiest to start with strategies that are an easy win and gain momentum from there, and technology is the key to making these major operational changes not just easier, but possible.
Matchwell, now part of the Medical Solutions healthcare talent ecosystem, is an agency alternative that matches clinicians with top healthcare facilities looking for local and per diem talent. Start a conversation today if you’re curious how Matchwell technology can help you jump-start a flexible workforce program.
Tara Drosset is a content specialist for Medical Solutions.