I issued a challenge in a recent blog. Find and harvest the low hanging fruit. I offered to help with my next several posts and even promised results to make your CFO smile.
Here is the first plum ripening on the branch. Right Size Your Core Staff.
I know what you’re thinking. This tidbit is hardly the formula for cold fusion, right? Most of you are saying, “we did that years ago.” OK. But have the needs of your organization changed? Are conditions different in 2012? Or even worse – was your old thinking just plain wrong?
The most frequently quoted Workforce Planning goal we’ve heard is 85%. You’re in great shape if 85% of your organization’s inpatient care is delivered by full- and part-time employees working within their FTE. Right?
I’m here to dispute that thinking. Working with dozens of health organizations over the last twelve months – and using workforce analytics – we’ve found no evidence that the 85% core staff number is an appropriate or financially responsible Resource Management model. In fact we’ve found no number that fits every organization. As an example, those with highly volatile patient census will never get financially well by adding more core staff. Of course this situation calls for a highly flexible, well-designed and managed form of internal contingency staff.
As you consider your patient trends, take a hard look at how these additional factors play into your Right Size. With a complete analytic picture, you will stop pouring employee benefit dollars out the window and pick that big ripe plum. Find your right number and work toward it. Don’t forget to consider such things as:
- Demographic make-up of your current work-force
- Expected time off trends
- Unexpected time off trends
- Patient census and acuity spikes
- Over-staffed indicators
– Core staff floating
– Skill mix variances
Fair warning as you consider when to pick this fruit – if you leave this plum on the tree too long it can fall to the ground in the form of poor employee morale and turnover.