Technology is key catalyst behind the ongoing skills transformation in multiple industries, including health care. As more and more digital solutions are rolled out to enhance customer experience, there is a need to strengthen employee experience through digital solutions so that they can empathize and engage more strongly with customers.
This also puts onus on leaders to transcend organizational boundaries and look outward, without limiting themselves to the pressures of the industry, of shareholders, and the organization.
Use of analytics and automation to solve the system’s inefficiencies is creating demand for new talent
The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly data reliant. Business operations cannot be conducted in silos but in alignment with analytics. A 2017 study from BCC Research Global showed that the healthcare analytics spending is predicted to grow by nearly 16% annually through 2022.
Similarly, with overall cost reduction and efficiency becoming an area of priority for all healthcare leaders, automation of manual tasks and use of artificial intelligence can be a vital part of the overall strategy. While retail, banking, and other industries were quick to adopt automation, healthcare has lagged behind. Fact is that automation can never replace doctors and nurses, however can be combined with their work processes to make a wide array of care delivery processes a lot more efficient, leading to improved productivity.
It is thus essential for organizations to invest in these new age technologies not just through hiring but also through up-skilling. For example, for both AI and robotics, specialization in mathematics and expertise in data analytics are imperative. Thus, data scientists and mathematicians who know how to code can help meet the demand.
Innovation and experimentation is essential to upskill or reskill the new-age workforce
The new-age workforce comprises mostly of millennials who are low on patience to spend long learning hours in a classroom setup. Under such circumstances, new ideas such as gamification, social media, among other new age learning tools help keep them engaged. This is most relevant for the healthcare sector. Imagine a relatively young servicing team, in their 20’s working on addressing the needs and expectations of clients in their 80’s. This creates a need to bridge the generational and perceptual gaps.
Recently a training material that combines real life experience with gamification is being used successfully to help new recruits better understand their client’s healthcare needs. As part of their training the first half of the curriculum enables the recruits’ to spend a day with seniors and experience a typical day in the life of an 80-85 year old. Since seeing is believing, the employees are able to experience empathy firsthand, which helps them to be more compassionate in their engagement with seniors.
The second half of the curriculum involves a game, where the employees are required to answer mock calls and perform tasks in the virtual space, thereby earning credits. While on the face of it, this is a “game” but it has actually benefitted the organization in multiple ways. It has helped in sensitizing the staff, improved their servicing skills, cut down training time and most importantly inculcated empathy. Besides other business benefits, this exercise has also shown remarkable improvement in consumer experience, and engagement levels.
Living amidst change the leadership framework also needs to evolve
Leadership, in this age, needs to move beyond the confines of managerial approach and start fostering a sustainable work culture and a workplace that drives it. Leaders have to seek innovative ways to inspire team members towards a common health care vision and simultaneously highlight new domain skills to master the demands of the market.
They also need to keep investing in developing and empowering mid-level managers, who in turn are then pushed to deliver better and innovate in this constantly evolving work environment. This should be integrated into the culture of an organization right from infrastructure to training, and all of this translating into right behaviors, which are integral to the growth of an enterprise.
The road ahead
It is no longer just about adapting to digital technologies, we now live in an age of digital disruption. It has changed the traditional healthcare landscape, eliminating the need for middlemen in the relationship between business and consumers. The use of technology for up-skilling the workforce is essential. Learning agility needs to be there to ensure a mix of training models that align across generations of employees. Specifically in the healthcare domain which works on a “people first approach,” trainings need to instill a high degree of intellectual humility, empathy, and malleability.
Leaders need to seek out and adopt best practices from the industry. Business excellence models should also be pursued to focus thought and action in a systematic way to boost performance.