As of Jan 7, the new sub-strain of omicron XBB.1.5 accounts for more than a quarter of all Covid-19 infections in the country. This strain, even though far more contagious, is less deadly. Experts say that those who didn’t catch earlier strains will catch this one and there will be many reinfections as it’s five times more infectious than Omicron, which was five times more infectious than the original strain. The math is easy. That and the tripledemic (RSV, Flu, and Covid) combined have created a new challenge for the healthcare system in the U.S. You may take relief in the fact that our Healthcare industry is now well equipped to handle the increased number of hospitalizations and caseloads, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they have been facing immense drain and labor shortages for close to two years now. Unsurprisingly, there has been a 26% turnaround in the industry since the start of the pandemic due to burnout, stress, and an aging population.
Even so, the data from the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that Healthcare will be the fastest growing industry – 13% over the period from 2021 – 2031- leading to the creation of close to 2 million jobs over the next decade. Moreover, the data highlights the nursing shortage – the nation would need 203,000 new registered nurses every year through 2026 to fill the gap created by a retiring population. The gaps however are in many realms including doctors, clinicians, pharmacists, lower-wage healthcare workers, medical assistants, home health aides, etc. The ongoing challenges and labor shortages in the industry have led Healthcare HR and CHROs to approach their problems in the most innovative ways and become growth hackers. When monetary incentives, counseling support, and flexible schedules didn’t prove to be enough, they found a solution in education benefits – the key to recruiting, retaining, and engaging a high-performing workforce.
Healthcare is a major industry for Edcor – the nation’s most loved education benefits administrator – with over 40% of Clients coming from the healthcare services, hospitals, and pharmaceutical space. Our Clients know that the key solution to the lack of talent is upskilling and reskilling, and education benefits help companies achieve that goal with the added advantage of being a great recruitment and retention tool. The nursing shortage has been exacerbated by the pandemic; however, it is in no way a new problem. Our Clients have been early adopters of the solutions that the rest of the industry is now leaning toward. Nonetheless, Edcor saw a surge in the number of new healthcare clients in the year 2022 for Tuition Assistance, and many existing clients expanded their offerings to include Student Loan Assistance and Scholarships in their benefits portfolio. Speaking to the power of education benefits to attract, stabilize the turnaround, and enhance employee engagement.
Tuition Reimbursement or Assistance is the most widely used Education benefit because these benefits significantly reduce training and hiring costs due to internal mobility of the talent pool, along with building a leadership pipeline resulting in a high ROI. They lead to highly motivated and engaged employees who spend time and effort on career growth within the organization furthering the workforce productivity metrics. Moreover, the cap of $5250 is tax-free for both the employee and the employer generating yet another win-win equation. For Healthcare, this cap is much higher to attract potential new employees.
Student Loan Assistance serves as both an effective talent attraction and retention strategy owing to the overwhelming Student debts and the importance of employee financial wellness. Company contributions towards employee student loans help shave off years in repayments and save interest dollars for the beneficiaries. Usually, the contributions are capped to a lifetime maximum and there’s a before and after employment length clause for eligibility.
Scholarships, in addition to Educational benefits, for employees or their dependents are a rage in the Healthcare industry right now. Employer Scholarships help reduce the ticket price of the ever-increasing college degrees and are a great way to show that you care. The best practice around scholarships is to administer them through third-party benefit providers to alleviate bias and promote inclusiveness.
So if you are looking for a trusted HR partner for your Healthcare business, look no further.
Let’s future together!
By Spardha Khera, Edcor
Edcor is a woman-owned business and is the benchmark in education benefits administration. For 40+ years, our customized service and solutions have allowed Fortune 500 Clients to use education benefits programs for employee recruiting, retention, and development. Please feel free to reach out to us!
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