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In the race to hire faster, you might end up overlooking an important source of potential clinical candidates—your non-clinical workers. Non-clinical workers already have a solid idea of what it means to work at your facility, your culture and values. They can be sourced, trained, and on boarded faster than outside hires, allowing you to save critical time.

Reskilling (training employees in a new set of skills) non-clinical workers for clinical roles, such as CNA and HHA roles, can help you boost your staff and increase retention. In addition, reskilling can help your workers reach their personal goals. 80% of employees claim that their confidence has been boosted by reskilling programs.

So what exactly is reskilling (and upskilling, and preskilling)? And how can you make use of it? Here’s what you need to know.

What Does Reskilling the Workforce Mean? 

Reskilling is the process of training employees in a new set of skills, with the intention of moving them to a new role.

In healthcare, this can mean training non-clinical workers, such as administrators, receptionists, chefs, and janitors, to take on clinical roles. Reskilling can help you fill the gaps in your clinical staff by using pre-existing employees interested in moving to a new career.

What Is Preskilling? 

Preskilling means providing training to candidates before they are actually hired. A good example of preskilling is providing free in-house CNA training. In this case, you’re giving candidates the skills that they need before they apply to your open positions.

What Is Upskilling? 

Upskilling is the process of training employees to move them forward in their careers, to roles with higher levels of responsibility. Effectively, upskilling is reskilling with a clear path to a promotion. Upskilling can be great for retention, as lack of career paths is a common reason workers quit.

What Are the Benefits of Reskilling the Workforce? 

Retention

Reskilling non-clinical workers can help increase retention. Workers are more likely to stay somewhere where they’re able to learn new skills and forge career paths. When you give employees the opportunity to gain more training and experience, you show that you’re invested in their long-term futures.

Attracting Candidates

In one survey, 66% of workers (aged 18-24) said that acquiring new skills was a crucial consideration when looking for new positions. In fact, learning new skills was ranked by importance only behind health insurance and disability benefits. 

Promote From Within

Reskilling non-clinical workers can also help you fill staff shortages, cutting down on hiring costs. If you’re finding it easier to hire non-clinical workers than pre-certified nurse assistants and home health aides, reskilling can ultimately help you ensure you have the staff you need.

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What Are the Challenges of Reskilling the Workforce? 

You May Need to Adjust Your Hiring

The process of reskilling non-clinical workers does come with its own challenges. Reskilling the workforce and moving staff internally will create non-clinical vacancies you have to fill. If this is the case at your facilities, you’ll likely need to launch an additional effort to ensure that those non-clinical roles aren’t being neglected. Thankfully, hiring non-clinical workers can often be easier than hiring clinical workers.

Training Programs Can Have Upfront Costs

The upfront costs of implementing a training program can also be a major drawback of a reskilling program. It will take time and effort to get your own training program up and running, or to find an ideal training partner.

In-House Training is Only Possible for Some Positions

In-house training also has its limits. You can train CNAs and HHAs in-house, but not other high demand clinical roles, such as RNs and LPNs. For that, you’ll have to look into tuition reimbursement or stipends.

Reskilling Non-Clinical Workers: A Checklist

If you’ve decided to reskill your non-clinical workers, there’s probably much to do. Work through this checklist to make sure your reskilling program will be as successful as possible. 

1. Decide What Skills You’re Interested in Cultivating 

Do you have a CNA shortage? An LPN shortage? Depending on what pathways you want to create, reskilling the workforce could take weeks—or years. 

If you’re interested in giving workers pathways to more intensive degrees, then you’ll have to put a tuition reimbursement program in place. But if you’re interested in cultivating CNAs, it probably makes more sense to create an in-house training program. 

2. Choose Incentives

In addition, you want to ensure that there’s enough incentive for employees to pursue these skills. If they won’t be receiving raises in these new roles, or if there isn’t a clear career path forward after they make the switch, they might not be motivated enough to apply in the first place. 

4. Decide on Eligibility 

Not everyone will be interested or suited to moving from non-clinical to clinical roles. Give employees the opportunity to express interest in a short and manageable application process. 

Aptitude tests can be a great help when it comes to qualifying your non-clinical workers for a CNA program. Some of your employees may find that they aren’t suited to the material or daily workload of being a CNA, and an up-front aptitude test can help you save both you and your employee’s time. 

3. Create a Training Program (or Work With Outside Collaborators) 

It’s time to create your training program. You may choose to draw on the skills of your clinical staff to train non-clinical workers. Paying your current staff to step in as instructors could help you save on the costs of hiring an outside trainer, but only if state and program compliance allows. Of course, keep in mind that you don’t deplete the number of staff available for patient care. 

Alternatively, partnering with outside CNA training programs can help ensure you have fully staffed shifts while still reskilling your employees. Collaborating with local colleges, universities, and other training organizations can help make these trainings more accessible. 

5. Market Your Reskilling Program

Once you’ve designed your reskilling program, it’s time to get the word out. Sync your internal marketing efforts across facilities in order to reach the most workers. 

We recommend promoting your program with a mix of digital and analog methods, including newsletters, email campaigns, and physical posters and fliers. Also, encourage managers to speak with employees who they think may have an interest in clinical opportunities. 

6. Execute Your Reskilling Program 

Now that you have a training program, an application process, and internal marketing campaign, it’s finally time to put your plan into motion. 

 7. Adjust Your Hiring Process

It’s important to check-in with the employees who take part in your reskilling program. Do they feel like they’re able to complete the training without feeling overwhelmed, or like they can’t fulfill their original duties? Collect feedback from everyone involved in the reskilling program—whether that’s instructors, mentors, or trainees. Any new training program has its hiccups, but by staying in touch, you’ll be better prepared to adjust your strategy and support your workers.. Surveys and informal check-ins are crucial for this stage in the hiring process.  

Learn more about employee surveys

Better Hiring With Apploi

Apploi can help you analyze, streamline, and better your hiring process, so you can easily adjust after creating a reskilling program. Interested in learning more about how to recruit, hire, and onboard staff quicker than the competition? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end solution.

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Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.