Using an HCM to Address the Top Behavioral Healthcare HR Pain Points

HR manager shaking hands with an entrepreneur

Behavioral health and human services (BHHS) organizations experience unique challenges and HR pain points while trying to balance mounting demands for services, ongoing staffing shortages, and dwindling budgets. To better understand the specific challenges these organizations face, ContinuumCloud surveyed behavioral health leaders to identify their top priorities and most common pain points for 2024. 

The findings, detailed in the ContinuumCloud 2024 Behavioral Health Industry Report, revealed several ongoing challenges, including difficulty recruiting qualified candidates and meeting patient demand with limited budgets. Thankfully, there are solutions and strategies to minimize these obstacles.

Explore the top six HR pain points for those in the BHHS industry and learn how the right human capital management (HCM) software can offer effective and convenient solutions.

Top HR Pain Points (and Solutions) for Behavioral Health Organizations 

HR pain points: entrepreneur presenting at a meeting

There are numerous human resources pain points in behavioral health care, but several stand out as the most pressing. Here, you’ll discover more about each of these HR pain points and learn how to adapt your talent management strategy to address these major challenges.

1. Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

Even as the Great Resignation appears to be coming to an end, employee staffing and retention remain major pain points for behavioral health organizations. In ContinuumCloud’s latest Behavioral Health Industry Trends Report, 50% of organizations cited recruiting and retention as one of their top three concerns for 2024 while 62% of the companies included in the study reported having high employee turnover rates.

On the other hand, only 13% of these orgs report that they’re able to fill key positions quickly. With high turnover and long time-to-hire rates, many BHHS teams struggle to maintain adequate staffing levels. 

Leaving roles unfilled for long periods can harm patient care outcomes through longer appointment wait times or an interruption in treatment. Moreover, they can increase the workload for other employees, contributing to employee burnout and further turnover. Some common recruiting challenges cited by behavioral health HR professionals include an overall lack of qualified candidates and the inability to offer competitive pay and benefits.

If you’re dealing with these challenges, now is a good time to look for opportunities to improve the recruitment process. By streamlining the applicant review and onboarding processes with efficient recruiting management tools, organizations can fill roles more efficiently. Using an HCM platform with a built-in applicant tracking system, like ContinuumCloud’s HCM, can simplify the hiring process for employers to better attract, identify, and hire top talent in a timely manner.

2. Employee Engagement and Development

Some 35% of organizations rated employee engagement and development as a top concern for 2024. Prioritizing employee engagement and development initiatives can go a long way in addressing retention issues. 

The Society for Human Resource Management has found that increased training and development opportunities can improve employee satisfaction and retention. However, many behavioral health organizations struggle to dedicate adequate time to these areas as their HR departments and team leaders are often already spread quite thin. 

That’s where investing in a good HCM solution can help. Keeping employees engaged in their work and helping them take steps to reach the next level in their career path doesn’t have to be excessively time-consuming for managers. HCM platforms like ContinuumCloud offer a variety of talent management tools with automation features to simplify goal-setting and tracking, performance check-ins and messaging, and employee recognition to stay consistent with employee engagement and development initiatives.

3. Maintaining Workflow Efficiency

Because BHHS organizations operate with limited resources and are often short-staffed, it’s particularly crucial to use those resources efficiently. You can’t afford to waste employee’s time with unnecessary data entry and outdated, time-consuming processes. However, only 45% of behavioral health organizations report using digital tools to automate workflows.

In the Behavioral Health Industry Report, organizations reported that they struggle to maintain workflow efficiency due to challenges in training employees on processes and workflows, integrating multiple software solutions, and addressing workflow inefficiencies. One easy way to address these challenges is to move towards a unified solution rather than using several disjointed software tools. 

When you have a bunch of different software systems, it can be challenging to get them all to work together effectively—and employees may struggle to learn each program. With an all-in-one system, it’s easier to integrate different functions, reduce inefficiencies, and keep employees trained on the processes and technology. 

Unified HCM software that’s tailored to the unique needs of behavioral health orgs can simplify HR workflows—for instance, ContinuumCloud allows you to integrate your electronic health record software, billing software, patient engagement tools, and HCM system. By integrating and automating your organization’s workflows, you can save time and redirect your resources towards patient care or more hands-on people management activities.

4. Managing the Labor Budget

HR pain points: co-workers working together

Budgeting is consistently a top pain point for behavioral health organizations. With many operating as nonprofits—and insurance companies providing lower reimbursement rates for mental health care compared to other healthcare specialties—balancing the budget while meeting the heightened demand for services has been an enormous challenge in recent years.

Many BHHS organizations lack the capabilities to effectively monitor labor budgets, measure the costs and financial efficacy of different programs, and create proper reporting to share with funders. To address these challenges, ContinuumCloud offers a Position Control feature that’s built into the HCM system. 

By using a position-based system, HR leaders get a clear view of their total labor costs by position, department, and program. With Position Control, it's easy for HR managers to pull detailed up-to-date budget reporting to share with funders or use it to make internal decisions on funding allocation. 

5. Effectively Leveraging Workforce Analytics

HR reporting and workforce analytics offer a wealth of information that HR teams and business leaders can use to monitor staffing levels, labor spending, employee performance, and other key activities in real time. However, many organizations aren’t properly tracking HR analytics or harnessing their data.

In the 2024 Behavioral Health Industry Trends Report, only 29% of the organizations surveyed reported that they were using key performance indicators (KPIs) or other data metrics to assess individual employee performance. By underutilizing performance data, HR leaders are missing out on key opportunities to promptly address productivity concerns and work on employee development. 

Many other helpful data points such as recruiting metrics, spending data, retention rates, and more can also be missed without the necessary business intelligence support in an HCM.

6. Building a Positive Company Culture

Building a positive employee culture is imperative for those working in a high-stress industry like behavioral health. Your company’s culture and employer brand encompass how you communicate with team members and applicants, and how employees communicate with one another internally. To build a happy, productive workforce, you need to communicate effectively and offer encouragement to your team. 

However, 52% of organizations surveyed by ContinuumCloud reported that they struggle with communicating across the organization. In a post-pandemic environment where remote work and telehealth have become more common, widespread communication with employees can be a challenge. 

Thankfully, digital communication can be simplified with tools like ContinuumCloud that offer employees self-service tools to access the details they need when they need them. Moreover, features like Company News offer a convenient way to instantly share updates with distributed teams through the HCM platform and provide a more cohesive work environment.

Tackle Your Biggest HR Pain Points With the Right HCM System

HR pain points: team walking together

Managing behavioral health human resources can present a wide range of challenges, and it requires a specialized HR software option. Traditional HCM services incorporate plenty of HR tools, but they often lack the features required to address the unique HR challenges of BHHS. That’s why ContinuumCloud built an HCM solution designed specifically for behavioral health and human services providers.

From filling key roles more efficiently to accessing robust data-driven reporting, ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform offers the tools your team needs to manage complex HR processes and provide a better employee experience. This powerful integrated solution streamlines talent acquisition, employee benefits administration, payroll, business intelligence, and employee development. 

Contact us to learn how ContinuumCloud can help your organization tackle its biggest HR pain points to improve the well-being of your company’s finances, your staff, and ultimately, your patients.

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