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SHRM Essay: Challenges In Attraction And Retention Of Staffs In Healthcare Industry


Task: You will write an essay on the key challenges in attracting and retaining a workforce in Australia in your selected sector (one sector from a choice of construction, health or retail). Your essay will draw on at least five themes from Week 1 to Week 11 of this unit, being those most relevant to your selected industry sector.

Your essay will draw on the academic literature (including the articles from ‘Reviewing the Literature’ you developed for Assessment 2), and develop an argument applying that literature to your selected sector.
You must cite at least ten (10) relevant peer reviewed journal articles, and 3 chapters from the Nankervis et al textbook. You can cite other academic references such as books, conference papers, and book chapters but these will NOT be counted as part of the 10 journal articles.


From the starting period of the corporate or business world, the higher managerial authority involved in every industry remain highly dependent on the contribution of human resources or ground level staffs. It is evident that without their contribution, the industry standards could not be improved as per the requirements of consumers. Since employees or ground level staffs are one of the non-compromisable assets of any institute or enterprise, therefore, it is very essential to apply some strategies for maintaining the attraction and retention level of the staffs. However, evidence suggests that there are various issues in the aspects of employee attraction and retention strategies, which often becomes disadvantageous for the organizational entities. This is the primary point of discussion followed in this essay, which is specifically focused on the healthcare sector of Australia.

Discussion Theme 1: Contextual and evolutionary challenges of attraction and retention of staffs in SHRM (Week 1)
Through considering the previous evidence associated in the Australian healthcare sector, it can be defined that the managerial process of human resources generally stands on an important pace of the institutional operations, as the management standards of human resources or specifically known as healthcare staffs determine the public health status of different regions (Nankervis et al. 2016). However, as argued by Uthaman, Chua & Ang(2016), although HRM is not any new technique, it has direct connection with the history of operational and functional management; therefore, there are various evolutionary evidence also associated with the contexts of human resource management. For example, in the duration of 1900-1940, there was a ‘welfare and developmental’ stage of HRM, which ultimately changed during the period of mid-1970 to mid-1990, when HRM modified to SHRM or strategic HRM. Although strategic HRM can be considered as a upgraded version of the human resource management, there are also some issues related with this context. Especially when the point comes to attraction and retention of staffs, Lee(2019) mentioned that it often becomes difficult for the managerial health authorities to manage all the SHRM issues for eliminating the adverse possibilities. The context of SHRM is greatly influenced by the presence of globalization, changing nature of working patterns, new technical inference, and so on. All of these create some difficult and confusing situations for the ground level workers, due to which they often could not properly cope up the conditions (Sinha & Sigamani, 2016). On the other hand, the strategies followed in SHRM can often be considered as the part of Hard HRM, by which the Australian healthcare managers only focus on strategic and managerial issues without considering the perspectives of staffs (Thompson & Walton-Roberts, 2019). Another critical point of SHRM technique is although this strategy contributes in the ‘bottom line’ success of the organizations, however, in most of the cases, employees are treated in SHRM as the main ‘resources’, instead of getting value as individual entities. All of these can be considered as the ‘initial points of adversity’, which might affect the retention factors of the employees in the Australian healthcare institute.

For example, the study conducted by Grant et al. (2017) reflected that attraction and retention of employees often depends on the capacities and skilfulness of healthcare leaders, as without proper leadership, employees could not get proper direction or proper motivation towards fulfilling their duties and responsibilities. Therefore, it often creates high level of distress, depression, and anxious condition among the healthcare workers, which affects their work-life balance. Ultimately, this leads to the disengagement and detention of the staffs from the operational care process. Apart from this, Johennesse & Chou(2017) mentioned that absence of effective communication strategies and proper opportunity of growth often creates detention factors for the staffs working in the Australian healthcare sector. Inadequate relationship with the managerial people and systems in which their contributions are not appraised, are often avoided by the ground level staffs. Additional to this, another main challenge in attraction and retention of staffs is continuous changing environment in the Australian healthcare sector.

Theme 2: Attraction as well as retention issues of employees appeared due to continuous changing environment (Week 4)
Due to the aspects and contexts of globalization, all the industry, including the healthcare sector is undergoing through several changing procedure, which influences the internal operational modules of the hospitals and care homes operating throughout the world. Australian healthcare sector is not left behind in this case. According to the statement of Matthews & Williamson(2016), the dynamic national and international industrial environment changes as per the changing demands of the consumers, due to which its internal sub-systems are also required to be changed or modified. As the outcome of this continuous transition, the HR strategies and functions are required to be modified also for implementing appropriate HR planning, especially for maintaining the changing requirements of global public health. However, Maphisa, Zwane & Nyide(2017) commented that human resources often could not cope up spontaneously with the changes, and therefore, the attraction as well as retention of the employees in such changing environment becomes a wider issue for the employers. Based on the previous evidence of Australian healthcare sector, it is observed that the most critical part of HRM in such global changing environment is Human resource planning.

Human resource planning is a required criteria in any types of operation, as it determines how well the human resource group is performing and in which are further improvement are required. Apart from this, Pradhan, Jena & Pattnaik(2017) mentioned that human resource planning is necessary to make proper strategies and other operational planning, for managing the ongoing processes of healthcare organizations, along with focusing on its long-term sustainability. It generally ensures either the organizational objectives are met or not, and in negative cases, how the objectives could be met. From the previous evidence, it is often observed that HRP is a consequential series of different processes, in which short, medium, and long term contingency options remain included. Due to this reason, the HR planning process often termed as ‘workforce planning’, which is beneficial in providing the foundation for creating a structured and effective HRM program, along with coordinating with all the HRM functions. Nankervis et al. (2016) mentioned that failure in adequate planning for the organizational human resources might create losses in substantial costs and efficiency of the operations.

The process of HRP includes different 4 steps, which labour demand forecasting, labour supply analysis, balancing ratios of supply and demand, and formulating the staffing strategies for meeting organizational requirements (Arora & Verma, 2019). However, as contradicted by Chordiya(2019), in every step, human resources face certain issues regarding the contexts of attraction as well as retention, due to which the organizational productivity level might be hampered. For example, the first step of labour demand supply depends on the management philosophy, as in case of healthcare industry, improper managerial philosophy might create issues in maintaining engagement level with the employees, due to which the absenteeism rate becomes higher and the retention level gets lower. On the other hand, Rehder et al. (2020) mentioned that the retention factors often depends on the educational level, government policies, and other factors associated with the labour supply analysis. As per the study conducted by Cheng, Nielsen & Cutler (2019), it can be stated that perceived quality of job, work-life interference, desire of staying mi can also be considered as the influential factors for the employees. However, this last factor is associated with the global work design, which can be considered as another retention challenges for the Australian healthcare management.

Theme 3: Global work design issues and its impacts on attraction and retention factors (Week 5)
As mentioned in the earlier section, the study conducted by Cheng, Nielsen & Cutler (2019) represented that performing different autonomy and betterment initiatives might reduce the rate of absenteeism, turnover, and detention. This concept is included in the job design, in which the healthcare industry of Australia has already adopted a global view. It is evident that designing works for fulfilling the requirements of both employees as well as employers become one critical challenge, especially in this global operational environment. Munn(2018) mentioned jobs are required to be changed continuously, due to which the job analysis often becomes a dynamic process, along with redesigning it for meeting the critical HRP issues. Through analysing the evidence collected from Australian healthcare sector, it can be stated that the interrelationship between job analysis and HRM process is influenced through different factors, like recruitment, selection, training, development, performance management, compensation management, and workplace retention (Nankervis et al. 2016). Therefore it can be easily assumed that employers of healthcare institutes might face issues at these points also.

For example, healthcare industry requires competence and skilled workforce, having ability of working in multicultural environment. However, Hejase et al. (2016) mentioned that for creating such staffs, every healthcare organisation requires focusing on the training and development protocols followed while managing the human resources. At this point, it is often observed that employees become affected due to the training gaps present in the protocols adopted by the healthcare institutes. For example, in most of the cases, the Australian healthcare authorities of different organisations focus on giving theoretical training instead of hand-on or practical coaching to the novice healthcare staffs, which often becomes highly difficult for them to understand the actual procedures or actual experiences (Sarmad et al. 2016). Apart from this, management often overlook that the compatibility factors between task type and individual type, as one person might not understand several tasks without having any basic knowledge. Such training gaps often create psychological distress among the workers, which ultimately leads to the higher absenteeism and turnover rate.

As per the contexts of the global work design, flexibility is another factor of workplace and worker sustainability, as flexible work designs would lead to more motivated employees, which ultimately helps in the improvement of the productivity level. For example, in case of Australian healthcare sector, flexibility, like alternative holidays, shifting duties, casual or temporary working days, fixed work hours, and virtual working techniques, is necessary for avoiding the possibility of demotivation and disengagement from the working procedures. As stated by Wise et al. (2017), workforce flexibility can be considered as a defence mechanism for the healthcare staffs especially, as without these, they could not maintain their work-life balance. However, it is observed that in most of the cases, managers avoid the incorporation of flexible working schedule, as it often harms the smooth transitional flow of working process in the organisations. Such cases create motivational issues and challenges, which ultimately affects the retention factors of the employees (Sarmad et al. 2016). However, there are several other retention challenges, one of which is technical disruption.

Theme 4: Core challenges embedded in the talent retention and developmental aspects
According to the statement of Rehder et al. (2020), technology is oriented with all the operations, which is essential in employee retention programs. Globalisation does not appear alone; it often combines with the technological aspects of global expansion, which is also applicable in case of healthcare industry (Shah & Sarkar, 2017). The talent attraction as well as retention techniques often remain dependent on the technological procedures, as the study conducted by Tursunbayeva (2019) represented that information technology plays significant roles in case of managing the healthcare organisational human resources. It helps in providing several opportunities to the human resources working in Australian healthcare sector, like learning opportunities, appraising performance, managing talent and personal career and so on. However, from the strategic perspectives, it can be stated that there are several challenges in technical adoption of human resource management.

For example, many aged healthcare staffs having knowledge in traditional care process might face issues in e-learning and m-learning techniques (Turnea, 2018). On the other hand, since the technical applications in healthcare industry is highly critical and innovative, therefore, employees often face issues in understanding the exact application of different healthcare oriented tools and techniques. In such cases, employees often require efficient and effective mentoring and coaching from the upper management bodies. Absence of such mentoring and coaching might create issues in alignment of operational goals with the area of expertisations of the healthcare staffs, which ultimately leads to the technical disruptions in the healthcare operations. Such types of obstacles might reduce the level of interest of the healthcare staffs, due to which they might not be attracted towards their roles and responsibilities in the healthcare organisations. Apart from the coaching and mentoring issues, technical disruption might also create issues in financial sustainability of the organisations, which might develop internal funding issues, especially in case of compensation and reward system (Onnis, 2019). Such disrupted situations might create retention issues in the managerial procedure of human resources.

Theme 5: Challenges of attraction as well as retention in the process of managing performance (Week 8)
The above contexts of talent retention and development reflect that human resources might face issues in the overall performance management practices. Especially in the healthcare industry, it is evidenced that there is no structured and effective performance appraisal techniques followed in the employment periods, therefore, talent recognition or appraisal is almost absent in this sector (Ott & Michailova, 2018). The performance management cycle includes some sequential phases and steps, which are effective designing, implementation, and measurement as well as feedback. Effective designing of workplace requires proper understanding of the internal efficiency standards and external demands, which is mostly absent in healthcare industry. Absence of the balanced approaches might affect the retention strategies of the employees, as they could not deliver proper care services as per the demands of the patients. On the other hand, Maung(2019) commented that reviewing the performance standard often becomes a critical job for the employers, and therefore, they mostly try to overlook these requirements. According to the study conducted by Mishra(2017), the process of performance review often failed due to the absence of top managerial support, absence of job-relatedness standards, included biasness, extensive amount of paperwork, and other internal conflicts. Therefore, as per the study conducted by Ahammad et al. (2016), it is necessary to maintain a certain benchmarking management practices in the Australian healthcare industry. According to this study, the healthcare managers can focus on the inclusion of target management, performance monitoring, and operation management, for effective performance evaluation of the human resources. However, in these cases also, some adverse points are included, which can affect the attraction and retention factors. For example, the process of target management might create higher work pressure on the healthcare workers working in different healthcare organisations. Additional to this, it is necessary to properly communicate the performance monitoring procedures to the staffs, as absence of effective communication might influence the relational bonding of the employees and the employers. All of these are required to be handled through several effective procedures, for managing the attraction and retention aspects of the workforce in the healthcare industry.

From the overall discussions done in the essay, it can be stated that there are ranges of challenges associated with the contexts of employee attraction as well as retention aspects, all of which requires some strategic planning as per the changing requirements of the environment. The primary issue of employee retention is associated with the evolutionary contexts of HRM, where the evolution of HRM to SHRM often becomes adverse for the human resources. Apart from this, the attraction as well as retention factors might often be affected due to the presence of technical disruptions, critical HR planning challenges, global work design confusions, ineffective retention policies, and so on. However, the challenges of employee retention is not static, it would be changed as per the requirements of external environment. Therefore, organisations require adopting enough flexibility for coping up the changing challenges of employee attraction and retention, for making the operations more sustainable in the long run.

Reference List
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