NOTE: This blog post features the Retention section from OCH's newest report, "Strengthening the health-serving workforce". This report is directly informed by the work of OCH’s partners in behavioral health, primary care, hospitals, dental health, public health, community-based, and Tribal settings. As such, there is room for everyone in this important work. OCH aims to support a strong and healthy workforce, which ultimately produces a ripple effect that positively impacts individual and population health.
Regional partners have identified opportunities and focused efforts to prioritize in order to support the health-serving workforce. Themes of collaboration, advocacy, and team culture arose as opportunities for high impact. Below are recommendations that reflect partner perspectives. There is room for everyone in this work; OCH encourages all partner types to join in this effort to strengthen the many workforces that are essential to providing and sustaining individual and population health.
Create partnerships with local educational institutions
Creatively connect with local educational institutions to establish scholarship programs and development opportunities for current employees.
Create internal internships and apprenticeship programs in-house in partnership with schools to provide college credit and certification opportunities.
Go directly to local schools to advertise the many career options in the health-serving workforce across the region. Increasing visibility and interest at a younger age may help foster the next generation of the health-serving workforce.
Collaborate with local housing services and resources to identify and help secure affordable housing for new and existing employees.
Partner with others to co-create a list of resources that offer housing suggestions and supports for new folks moving to the area.
Shared staffing models
Establish cross-agency promotional opportunities to keep advancement within the community. This approach can be mutually beneficial for agencies and employees.
Affordable and accessible housing solutions
Encourage collaboration among elected officials regarding new housing starts.
Elevate the demand for increased affordable housing, especially housing for 1-2 people.
Advocate for increased reimbursement rates. This is essential considering the steep inflation trends across all three-counties.
Encourage county-wide pay increases.
Foster team culture
Work life balance
Promote flexible work cultures, such as offering flexible work schedules, opportunities to work remotely, etc. to promote work life balance.
Take the time to understand and acknowledge what motivates your team and be intentional about the culture you are looking to foster. A good team culture means something different to everyone. Some employees may be very mission-driven in their work, some may value their colleagues and a friendly environment, and others may seek peer recognition and/or career development opportunities. See appendix C for creative ideas to uplift the workforce.
To the right is a visual that shows the responses to the question, “what external support does your organization or Tribe need?” Partners across the region expressed greatest need for support related to:
partnerships with schools,
OCH recommends that the region works to address these needs in order to maximize the impact of workforce solutions.
Olympic Community of Health serves as a supportive backbone that creates opportunities for collaboration across Clallam, Jefferson, and Kitsap Counties, and seven Tribal Nations. Below are the commitments that OCH makes to continue to support the health-serving workforce in the Olympic region.
Create opportunities for collaboration
OCH hosts several Action Collaboratives that focus on addressing various health topics on a regional level. Partners from many fields regularly engage in these meetings. OCH works to establish a collaborative culture with opportunities to connect, collaborate, and build relationships at these events. Each Action Collaborative is working towards short- and long-term goals and as it aligns with the individual groups’ goals and metrics, OCH will weave in the topic of workforce.
Elevate regional challenges and opportunities to local elected officials
OCH has established connections with local elected officials over the past few years. OCH commits to elevating key takeaways from this report in a way that invites regional and statewide elected officials to engage with and support the Olympic region.
Create and gather supportive resources
OCH will keep partner recommendations and asks on their radar as creating resources, events, and trainings for the upcoming year. Additionally, OCH will share out external resources that may be of interest to partners seeking workforce supports via OCH’s weekly newsletter. Join OCH’s distribution list here (or visit olympicch.org) to have resources sent directly to your inbox every Tuesday.
Share innovative successes
OCH encourages cross-partner collaboration by finding platforms and avenues to elevate creative projects. By sharing success stories, partners can glean ideas, kindle inspiration, and connect with one another to strengthen their own projects. OCH will continue to highlight success stories via partner blogs, opportunities for sharing at events, dynamic videos, and more! Do you have a project you would like to share with the OCH network? Email OCH@olympicch.org.