News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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McKinsey and Company Report Offers Analysis and Insights on How Companies Can Deal with the Great Resignation Occurring in the US Labor Market

Recruiters should target five personas for hiring new talent and retaining existing staff, McKinsey says, a goal that would be challenging for clinical laboratories recruiting medical technologists

Clinical laboratories and pathology groups continue to struggle filling vacated positions with new hires and retaining adequate staff due to what has been dubbed the “Great Resignation.” The ongoing, pandemic-era phenomenon is seeing people leave their jobs in mass exodus and remains a characteristic of the 2022 labor market.

According to the US Department of Labor, 4.3 million people quit their jobs in January of this year. Of equal significance for hospital and health system medical laboratories with shrinking budgets, compensation rates are increasing for these positions at a steady pace.

This international economic trend continues to affect businesses across the country as workers leave their jobs in record numbers. Especially hard hit are hospitals and clinical laboratories, and recruiters seem at a loss as to what can be done to turn it around.

But a newly-released report, titled, “The Great Attrition Is Making Hiring Harder. Are You Searching the Right Talent Pools?” by global management consulting firm McKinsey and Company may help. The report offers insight and suggestions on how to attract and retain talented employees in a tight labor market.

Bonnie Dowling

“This isn’t just a passing trend, or a pandemic-related change to the labor market,” Bonnie Dowling (above), Associate Partner at McKinsey, told CNBC. “There’s been a fundamental shift in workers’ mentality, and their willingness to prioritize other things in their life beyond whatever job they hold. We’re never going back to how things were in 2019.” Clinical laboratory recruiters can attest to that statement as they continue to struggle to fill open positions and maintain staffing levels. (Photo copyright: McKinsey and Company.)

Workers Are Unhappy and Unsatisfied

For their report, McKinsey surveyed more than 12,000 workers located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Singapore to determine why they are resigning and what factors would sway them to remain in their positions.

Their findings suggest that 40% of the people in the workforce are unhappy and unsatisfied in their current jobs and are seeking better, more fulfilling employment opportunities. Among those workers who have recently resigned from a job, 41% said lack of opportunity for upward mobility and no pay or benefits was the top reason they quit.

The McKinsey analysts noted certain repetitive occurrences during the past year they attributed to the Great Resignation, which McKinsey calls the Great Attrition:

  • Reshuffling: Workers are resigning and taking positions in other industries, which is causing some industries to disproportionately lose talent.
  • Reinventing: Workers are vacating traditional employment and choosing nontraditional roles, such as temporary, gig, part-time work, or they are opting to start their own businesses. 
  • Reassessing: Workers are leaving the workforce entirely to focus on other priorities, such as taking care of children or relatives, concentrating on self-care, or pursuing other interests.

Recruiters Should Focus on Five Unique Personas

As of June 30, there were 10.7 million job openings in the US, according to US Bureau of Labor statistics. And some industries, such as healthcare, are losing talent to other industries.

Among surveyed individuals who quit their jobs between April 2020 and April 2022 in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, 54% accepted a position within another industry or did not return to the workforce, according to McKinsey analysts.

The McKinsey report urges hiring managers to focus on five unique personas in their efforts to target and hire desired talent, and retain them as employees:

  • Traditionalists: Career-oriented individuals who are the mainstay of the classic labor pool. They are easier to find through common recruitment strategies, according to McKinsey, and are motivated by compensation, benefits, job titles, status, and opportunities for career advancement.
  • Do-it-yourselfers: These workers are typically 25 to 45 years old and value flexibility above all else when choosing jobs. They want autonomy to establish their own hours and the type of duties they will perform. This includes gig, part-time, and self-employed workers as well as full-time employees in nontraditional roles.
  • Caregivers: Workers who are at home due to other priorities, but who may be looking for an opportunity to re-enter the workforce. People in this group desire companies that are willing to work around their personal schedules. They could be coaxed back into the labor force with part-time options, four-day work weeks, flexible hours, and work-at-home positions.
  • Idealists: These workers tend to be in the 18- to 24-year-old age range, may be working part-time, or may still be students. These individuals value being part of a community and are most easily swayed by companies that have a strong organizational culture with an emphasis on meaning and purpose.
  • Relaxers: People who are not looking for work, but who could be convinced to return to the labor force under ideal circumstances. This group is mostly comprised of early- and natural-age retirees who still have productive years left. They represent the largest percentage of the latent workforce, McKinsey noted. Companies should consider seeking out these seasoned workers who may be more interested in meaningful work than a big paycheck.

“More employers have opened up their aperture in order to meet the yawning talent gap that they’re facing,” said Bonnie Dowling, Associate Partner at McKinsey and one of the authors of the report in an interview with CNBC. “They’re prioritizing skills over educational background or previous job experience, which is creating more opportunities across sectors for job-seekers.” 

Four Strategies for Retaining Workers

Finally, the McKinsey report offered four strategies that companies can focus on to retain their existing talent and avoid resignations:

  • Sharpen traditional employee value status through compensation, benefits, career advancement potential, reputable job titles, and the overall prestige of the organization.
  • Build creative, nontraditional, value propositions revolving around flexibility, a strong company culture, and more personalized methods of career progression.
  • Expand and tailor talent-seeking approaches to woo nontraditional workers.
  • Invest in more meaning and belonging in the company’s culture to build stronger teams and relationships among workers.

“It’s everything from embedding flexibility in our credo to reassessing how we value our employees and provide them with the resources they need to do their job. All employers have the capacity to make these meaningful changes,” Dowling said. “But we have to start taking action, as opposed to sitting back and hoping that things are going to return to a ‘pre-pandemic norm’ because all signs point to the fact that they won’t.” 

The ongoing labor shortage is affecting many industries, but it has been especially hard on healthcare and clinical laboratories.

Clinical laboratory recruiters may want to begin looking at the shifting economic scene in the US as an opportunity to restructure workplaces and create a better model to avoid resignations and retain workers.

JP Schlingman

Related Information:

The Great Attrition is Making Hiring Harder. Are You Searching the Right Talent Pools?

The Top Reasons People Are Leaving Their Jobs Right Now, according to McKinsey. Hint: It’s Not All About Pay

“Great Attrition” or “Great Attraction”? The Choice is Yours

40% of Workers Are Considering Quitting Their Jobs Soon—Here’s Where They’re Going

Job Openings and Labor Turnover—June 2022

Clinical Laboratories Need Creative Staffing Strategies to Keep and Attract Hard-to-Find Medical Technologists, as Demand for COVID-19 Testing Increases