It will come as no surprise to most medical laboratory practitioners that the current and projected need for medical laboratory technologists and scientists is outpacing the availability of practitioners. In fact, many clinical laboratories are facing a concerning shortfall in the number of new diagnostic laboratory practitioners needed to satisfy growing workloads.
Laboratory directors across the country are likewise struggling to find the proper balance between automation and human resources. This requires a keen understanding of laboratory and larger health care business practices, as well as the unique and nuanced workflow and interplay of each individual lab and its staff. As discussed in this month’s issue (see page 2), it behooves laboratory administrators to discover those motivating factors for new laboratorians, and those looking to make a change. Creating an appealing work environment is vital for clinical laboratories to grow and best serve their patient population.
Considering the complexities of laboratory staffing, I am reminded of a 2014 Harvard Business Review article that captured a succinct list of things to try (and not try) when managing staff from multiple generations:1
- Experiment with mixed-age teams and reverse mentoring programs that enable older, experienced workers to interact with and learn from younger hires
- Develop incentive plans that reflect where your employees are in their lives
- Conduct regular human resources surveys to get a pulse on your employees’ demographics and needs
- Bother with generation-based employee affinity groups, as they generally reinforce stereotypes
- Act like a top-down manager; instead, forge partnerships with employees of different ages and encourage them to share their opinions
- Assume you already know how to motivate employees who are older or younger; instead, ask them what they want out of their professional lives
Maintaining an ideal staffing model in the clinical lab is a lofty, if unattainable goal, yet much can be done to come as close as possible to that state. MLM is committed to bringing you those ideas that most readily facilitate laboratory operations.
With best regards,
1. Knight R. Managing People from 5 Generations. Harvard Business Review. September 25, 2014. Accessed 5.23.2018. https://hbr.org/2014/09/managing-people-from-5-generations