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Work Force Awareness

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Recruiting has traditionally been a non-issue for two-hospital system Beaumont Hospitals in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, but market forces like auto industry job cuts and an aging work force could foretell significant recruitment hurdles ahead. For now the system's work force of 16,000 remains relatively stable-which makes getting the attention of executives no easy task. So Human Resources Vice President Ron Lilek has armed himself with data. A work force analysis and projection conducted by HR consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide concluded that if turnover stays the same and all eligible employees take early retirement, the worst case scenario would mean replacing 13,500 employees in a seven-year period. Lilek admits the number is "melodramatic," but he says at best the system will turn over 2,000 to 4,000 employees. Faced with those numbers, Beaumont executives are more willing to foot the bill for strategic workforce development and recruitment activities, Lilek says. To meet the impending challenge head-on, the HR department has identified 15 critical job classes, including nurses, pharmacists and surgical techs, and established a task force for each composed of HR, hospital leaders and staff to develop an action plan for recruiting and retaining around each classification. The employee turnover forecast also justified the hiring of a full-time director of work force planning who is charged with tracking and reporting work force trends and helping leadership plan for future needs based on the system's growth. -Kara Olsen