Challenges

Challenges:

  • Diversion of human resources to other work, e.g., public health emergencies or flu season,
  • High staff turnover,
  • Inadequate staff to meet growing needs of the collaboration’s program or service,
  • Lack of diversity in staff to meet population needs,
  • Staff may need to change as the organization’s vision evolves,
  • Lack of back up.

People in long line for flu vaccine.Diversion of Human Resources
Diversion of human resources can be problematic in a collaboration. For example, during flu campaigns public health staff may be pulled to vaccination tasks.

It is critical to manage potential temporary reductions in activity in relation to a collaboration during times of stress. One helpful approach is to determine what priority activities need to be continued.  Postponing non-essential ones for a short time may help alleviate the pressures until the issue is resolved.

Staff Issues
Other challenges can be related to having inadequate numbers of staff to meet growing needs of successful collaborations. Inadequacy related to diversity in staff particularly when collaborations are addressing culturally diverse populations can be a major hurdle to address. Contemplate the collaboration goals against the human resource capacity. Being cognizant not to overextend your human resources complement may support the overall quality of the collaboration.

The skills and knowledge of individual staff members bring may change as partner organizations change. For example, if the funding model in a primary care organization changes, it may shift the staff mix in the organization. Also, leadership may change bringing with it a new vision for the organization and this process may potentially influence the staff mix.

When working in a collaboration with minimal staff resources, there is a chance that adequate back up will not be available when members are away; for example, during vacations, or when there are disease outbreaks in a community. A mechanism to manage staff absences needs to be considered when planning human resource activities and needs.