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Total Workforce Management 2.0

Heading for a new era in the healthcare sector

Total Workforce Management 2.0

As recent studies show, the healthcare system in Switzerland is facing growing challenges, particularly with regard to the shortage of skilled labour. Forecasts indicate that there will be a significant shortage of full-time employees by 2030. This presents healthcare institutions with an urgent need to find innovative and forward-looking solutions. Find out more in this blog post about three key topics that are becoming particularly important in total workforce management, and learn about innovative approaches currently undergoing practical tests.

The challenges in the Swiss healthcare system are becoming increasingly apparent. According to a current study by the Adecco Group, the healthcare professions are particularly affected by the shortage of skilled labour. PWC is even forecasting a shortage of 32,500 full-time employees in the Swiss healthcare sector by 2030. Against this backdrop, healthcare institutions have to master the challenge of finding innovative solutions to the shortage of skilled labour.

Myra Fischer-Rosinger, Director of Swissstaffing, who has scrutinised the care sector closely, has observed a steady increase in external professionals. The increasing demand for qualified personnel in this area cannot be fully met without external support. In this context, three central topics of particular relevance to total workforce management have become apparent to us. The term "total workforce management" refers to the strategy of managing all potentially available employees jointly and coherently – regardless of their contractual hours, the length of their contract and whether they are in-house or external workers.

1) Workforce life cycle

HR is shifting its focus from traditional recruiting to sustainable retention management. This focus is now placed equally on internal employees (permanent and temporary staff) and external professionals. In view of the 2:1 ratio of internal to external employees, it is crucial to standardise and professionalise recruitment, management including deployment planning, payment, and onboarding and offboarding for the entire workforce. This is essential both in terms of process synergies and for cost reasons. The distinction between internal and external employees is becoming increasingly less important.


Visual: The end-to-end process of an internal and an external employee differs in only a few steps


The graphic shows the workforce life cycle for internal and external professionals and the potential synergies that the company can achieve through standardisation. In this respect, it is advisable to introduce holistic life cycle management. By this means, employees are integrated seamlessly into the company, from recruitment through to leaving or possible re-employment.

2) HR as architect

New work concepts are increasingly bringing new challenges for both employees and employers. HR management is now taking on the important role of creating a balance and mediating internally. For the healthcare sector, this is particularly relevant with regard to external professionals. Increasing flexibilisation by skilled workers and companies can only be implemented successfully through the coordinated interaction of internal and external skilled workers. This requires clear guidelines in terms of management, processes and the HR IT infrastructure.

Particularly in the area of workforce scheduling, it is both critical and decisive for the long-term security of the company and the satisfaction of all employees to establish a sustainable, participative process. The growing dynamics require innovative workforce scheduling that meets both the needs of the organisation and the individual requirements of all skilled workers.

3) Flexibility requirements

Generation Z is not alone in making new and different demands on the working environment and work-life balance. General interaction between different generations and cultures is also becoming increasingly important. The desire for work to be adapted to individual needs is increasing and is therefore becoming an ever more relevant and central issue for companies and HR in the battle against the skilled labour shortage. New forms and opportunities need to be created. Flexible work models which have to be compatible with the different phases of life are an important topic here.


Visual: Software tools can help to increase flexibility, be it in the establishment of a temporary stand-in pool, the development of a community or deployment planning.


Practical examples

In addition to the many challenges in the market, we are also seeing many approaches which are currently being tested and have already become established in some cases. Three practical examples are described below.

Community building in care

The "Care Resco Pflege-Community" (care community) project aims to build a nursing reserve community in order to attract careworkers back to the profession. The need for nursing care is forecast to increase by 36% in the Swiss population by 2030. At the same time, 30% of nursing staff will have retired by then and up to 8% will have left the nursing profession. The scientifically supported pilot project is intended to be a possible solution to this problem. To counteract this impending staff shortage, the Community would like to break through existing employment patterns and promote self-determined deployment of care-giving professionals. By this means, retirees who would like to work, returners and students are encouraged to join the community and thus ensure more skilled labour on the Swiss market overall.

Deployment planning with the total workforce approach

Universitäre Altersmedizin Felix Platter, a unit at the Basel Mobility Center which combines acute medicine, psychiatry and rehabilitation for the elderly, takes a holistic approach to workforce management. With the help of a software program, an internal pool of temporary staff was set up to make it easier to fill vacancies occurring at short notice. In addition, collaboration with the external pool and recruitment agencies was automated and optimised. Simplified scheduling, automated communication and comprehensive transparency have saved time and increased satisfaction for everyone involved.

Regional pool solutions

The Acherhof and Rubiswil nursing homes in the canton of Schwyz jointly launched the "Talkessel Pool" in December 2023. This pool comprises people from the long-term care sector who want to organise their working day in a self-determined and flexible manner. In addition to professional qualifications, the model requires contractual working hours of at least 10% or 4 hours and a willingness to work at both nursing homes. The concept particularly appeals to people who want to combine family and career flexibly, are interested in flexible interim or additional earnings, or are returning to work. With the help of an app, pool employees can indicate their free capacities and the nursing home can access them as required.


"Total Workforce Management 2.0" is a pioneering strategy in the Swiss healthcare sector in view of the growing shortage of skilled labour. Identifying key topics such as the workforce life cycle, the role of HR as an architect and adapting to flexibility requirements marks an important step in meeting these challenges. Practical examples such as Felix Platter's total workforce approach to university geriatric medicine and the "Care Resco Pflege-Community" show how healthcare institutions can use innovative approaches to shape the future of work in the healthcare sector.








Alexandra Gastpar

Alexandra works for HR Campus as an HR strategy and total workforce management consultant and advises a range of clients on the basis of the motto "HR is the soul of a company and the soul makes us what we are".



Stefan Matthys

Stefan works as a consultant for healthcare organisations and for the POLYPOINT PEP product at HR Campus. He is a business economist and former PEP application manager.

Published: 1. March 2024

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