Too often, companies hire healthcare staffing agencies without little forethought as to what the agency concerned will actually do once they’ve signed a business agreement with the company. This is extremely inefficient for both parties concerned: the company effectively wastes money and the agency effectively wastes its time. Therefore, in order for the arrangement to be mutually beneficial, any company considering hiring a healthcare staffing agency needs to know how to get the most from their new business partner.
1. Do You Need a Healthcare Staffing Agency?
While you may think that your company is in need of supplemental healthcare staffing, be certain that that is the case before you go to the bother – and expense – of hiring a healthcare staffing agency. Speak to those people who will be delegating the work to the agency’s workers: does this work actually exist? Is it work that can be successfully completed by a temporary worker, or would time and money be better spent reviewing and, if necessary, revising procedures and processes? If a temporary worker is needed, what skills does the individual need to possess? Don’t be tempted to hire above your needs, as again this will prove costly and result in wasted funds.
For example, if you need someone to help with filing papers, don’t ask the healthcare staffing agency to send along a highly experienced nurse. In addition, make sure that all the facilities a temporary worker needs to carry out his or her role are in place before the start date. If the temporary worker has to wait two days before he or she is given access to the electronic charting programs needed to carry out the job, then this is wasted time for your company.
2. Read the Temporary Worker’s Resume
Ask the healthcare staffing agency to forward you a copy of the temporary worker’s resume before any shift is scheduled. Often this isn’t done as the company relies on the agency to make the best fit. However, if you read the individual’s resume then you will be aware of the individual’s employment history and be in a better position to allocate him or her appropriate work – and to know whether the individual is appropriate for your company. You don’t need to go through the resume with a fine-toothed comb, a quick read through will be enough to tell you what you need to know.
3. Make a Point of Establishing a Relationship with the Healthcare Staffing Agency
This doesn’t mean you have to take the agency’s workers out to lunch; just a warm hello on the first day and a quick chat about what they have done in the past will be enough. Try to identify what the temporary workers can and can’t do and what they are most comfortable doing and enjoy doing. Not only will this enable you to forward appropriate work, but it will also facilitate that process. Furthermore, the temporary workers will feel confident about coming to you with any questions, which will mean fewer potential mistakes: if you’re seen approachable then the individuals won’t hold back with any questions.
4. Keep Communication Channels Open
If you’re going to be busy and won’t be around to act as a point of contact for healthcare staffing agency’s workers, then designate a colleague to act in this capacity. If you really want to get the most out of the temporary worker, then you will need to know when the individual has completed one task and is ready for the next, and if you’re not around then he or she won’t be able to tell you. This could result in empty hours for the worker and wasted money for you.
Taking on a healthcare staffing agency may be the ideal solution to the workload problems your company is currently facing. And with a little forethought you can ensure that the process is one that benefits your company and achieves the best possible results.