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Behavioral health has become an important field that addresses the emotional and mental health needs of many people. The field targets patients struggling with a personality disorder, depression, substance abuse, and mental illness (Clifton & Thorley, 2014). The recruitment and retention of health professionals in behavioral health have remained a major challenge for many years.
Behavioral health organizations rely on the efforts of different professionals in order to meet the needs of their patients. Unfortunately, the recruitment process for behavioral health professionals has been characterized by numerous challenges. The first challenge arises from the misunderstanding of mental health and psychological practices. The misconception discourages more professionals from joining the field (Davis, 2005). The workloads associated with the profession dishearten behavioral health workers from applying for every available job. The absence of work-life balance makes it hard for more people to join the profession.
High staff turnover in the behavioral health field remains a major challenge facing human resource departments. The turnover is caused by the working environment, lack of motivation, and ineffective training procedures (Davis, 2005). The professionals eventually decide to focus on other career paths. The structural issues and paperwork needed during recruitment affect the hiring process.
The profession has been characterized by low salaries and remunerations (Clifton & Thorley, 2014). These inadequate packages have continued to deter more people from joining the profession. The other problem is that the field does not attract many qualified job seekers or applications. The majority of the applicants lack the expected skills or qualifications. Competition has, therefore, remained extremely high for individuals who meet the minimum requirements (Davis, 2005). With these challenges in place, the behavioral health sector has continued to face the problem of staff shortage. Experts believe strongly that the shortage will impact the health outcomes of many people in need of behavioral services or support negatively.
Challenges in the Recruitment and Retention of Management
Leadership in healthcare is a practice that dictates the quality of services available to the targeted clients. The success of many behavioral health organizations is something that depends on the nature of management. Such organizations should hire competent professionals who are aware of the unique health needs of every behavioral health patient. Many behavioral health organizations face similar challenges whenever recruiting new managers (Oss, 2004). This is the case because many professionals do not embrace the profession. The recruitment of healthcare managers has forced many behavioral health institutions to identify potential candidates from other health subsectors.
The reduced number of people with the required skills and competencies has contributed to this problem. Lack of appropriate incentives, working environments, and salaries are associated with the challenges in the recruitment and retention of management (Davis, 2005). This happens to be the case because every targeted manager or leader must have a behavioral health background.
The problem in the retention of management is worsened further by the country’s demographics. The baby-boomers are now retiring despite the fact that they occupy critical managerial positions in the sector. This means that more institutions will find it hard to retain their behavioral health managers. The positive indicators of the economy explain why more people are no longer retaining their jobs (Oss, 2004). This challenge continues to pose new challenges to the behavioral health sector (Clifton & Thorley, 2014). That being the case, the incentives identified to deal with the retention and recruitment of health professionals in the sector should also focus on management.
Clifton, J., & Thorley, G. (2014). Think ahead: Meeting the workforce challenges in mental health social work. IPPR, 1(1), 1-67.
Davis, J. (2005). Changes at the top: Are you ready? Behavioral Health Management, 25(2), 47.
Oss, M. (2004). Changing times require a new workforce strategy. Behavioral Health Management, 24(2), 6.