The shortage of health and social services professionals is one of the biggest challenges facing Finnish society. The second year of the coronavirus made us reconsider our practices.
Personnel turnover has increased in specialist medical care and also more generally in health and social services as well as in other sectors. There are several factors explaining the labor shortage and the exit turnover. While jobs in health and social services are seen as meaningful, the workload in nursing, for instance, has been constantly increasing.
Personnel availability issues have come to a head particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. The health and social services sector does not have a labor reserve for recruiting new employees for increasing present or future needs.
The second year of the coronavirus made us reconsider our practices. New ideas emerged, allowing flexible reorganization. Good cooperation and transparent communications, with dialog at all levels, were important in laying the foundation for all this. Multiprofessional cooperation came to the fore, as the various arrangements undertaken required working across boundaries of units, specialties and departments, even across municipal boundaries. Adapting to everyday remote work helped improve the effectiveness of remote appointments and digital services, such as the Health Village and Maisa, and highlighted the importance of remote meetings in streamlining our work.
In the constantly changing circumstances, the relevance of communications, information sharing and situational updates was more evident than ever. Facts, data and monitoring information likewise increased in importance. The presence of and support by supervisors was extremely valuable for employees.
Positive indications in the personnel survey
In 2021, the findings of our personnel survey regarding supervisor work improved in almost all profit areas. Particular improvements were found in satisfaction with leadership in employee’s own units or wards, and in the encouragement and support given by supervisors. In addition, the management and organization of day-to-day operations were perceived to have improved, along with better opportunities for employees to participate in the planning of changes in their work. Nursing staff returned more critical views of their immediate supervisors than other personnel groups, which were more or less equal in their feedback.
The HR strategy in the year under review involved high-quality leadership and ensuring continuity of competence. This included introducing a leadership feedback indicator, known as Leadership Pulse. This is an evaluation complementing the personnel survey, performed four times a year to monitor the evolution of high-quality supervisor work and leadership across HUS as a whole. Findings show that satisfaction with leadership, particularly that of employees’ immediate supervisors, had improved.