Human Resource Planning
It is a best practice in any business to identify human resources needs and develop plans for how they will be met. Practice groups do not need a complex human resource plan, but could benefit from considering these issues proactively, both in terms of what skills the practice group may need and the operational implications of growing the number of workers in the practice group. Answers to these questions can help the practice recruit and retain top-notch members, as well as be prepared for a range of situations that the practice may face.
Assessing Needs and Gaps
Look critically at what skills are important for a healthy, well-functioning practice group and compare those to the skills of the practice’s members. This can help the practice determine what skills are needed when recruiting new people, as well as identify training and succession planning needs.
It doesn’t have to be an epic project, but documenting these activities helps the practice partners use practice resources most effectively. This is especially true in planning training sessions for the practice and for recruiting purposes.
The AOM’s sample practice skills assessment or other online resources can be used to identify skills that a practice needs at present and will need in the future. This can be useful to identify what skills are needed, how much of that skill is needed (e.g., increasing amount of administrative assistance), and whether any departures are anticipated (e.g., leaves or retirements).
Planning for Growth
Human resource planning also involves considering the operational implications of growing the practice. This planning is best done in advance as many of the implications of growing the practice – such as caseload, office space, and information technology – have budgetary and contract implications that may need to be considered years in advance.
Answers to questions about growth affect the practice’s ability to sustain positive growth. The answers can also help to plan when growth may take place and to understand the steps that will need to be taken in order to achieve growth goals smoothly.
In addition, partners need to consider how much and what type of administrative support the practice needs. As the number of midwives increases, so too do the demands on support staff. Practices may want to start by assuming the need for administration one day per week for running the practice business and a further one day per week per full-caseload midwife at the practice. For example, a practice of four midwives with full caseloads may require an administrator for five days per week.
The exact amount of administrative support needed will depend on the type of work that the administrator does (e.g., reception, bookkeeping, BORN data entry, etc.). New practices should be careful to ensure that their caseload and finances will support the staff they wish to hire before recruiting someone.