5 Key Retention Strategies for the Healthcare Industry

In the competitive and tumultuous healthcare industry, every strategy to retain your best employees helps.

Hiring skilled healthcare talent is only half the battle – getting them to stay on your staff is just as important. High turnover is expensive; the average cost for losing a bedside nurse ranges from $44,380 to $63,400, effectively doubling the annual cost of each new employee!  Not only is it financially costly to your healthcare business, but as turnover rates increase, quality of patient care decreases and more stress is put on employees. In a field where workers put others’ well-being before their own, what’s being done to retain the best employees? Here are some fundamental retention strategies for healthcare:

1. Figure out why turnover is so high: Do you have an effective means for getting to the real reasons why personnel are leaving? Anonymously surveying newly hired, tenured and recent ex-employees is a fair way to show your employees their voices are being heard, as well as get to the heart of any underlying problems – like discomfort speaking out about shift managers or high-level physicians.

2. Create an environment for growth: Nearly a quarter of healthcare workers have left a job because they feel there was a lack of upward mobility and career progress. Offer your employees, especially the standouts, unique opportunities for growth and development. You’re showing them you care about their future and, and you’ll be doing everything in your power (and budget) to keep them on your team. We’ve found that the investment is almost always well worth it.

3. Give your staff the support they need to get the job done well: A major issue in the healthcare industry is the worsening caregiver-to-patient ratio. Healthcare workers are already under so much stress—not providing them with enough resources or other staff is only going to hurt employees or patients. Do your best to keep your workforce balanced to avoid staff from getting overworked and burned out.

4. Have adequate management, training and mentorship at every healthcare facility: Having communicative management, mentors, and a training program in place at your organization will help employees feel they were properly transitioned into their new job, and that they have an effective support system for guidance and feedback.

5. Whenever possible, find the best fit – not just another body: Many hiring departments feel like they’re under immense pressure to fill positions at all costs. You can stress the importance of culture until you’re blue in the face, but what’s the best way to show you’re practicing what you preach? Investing in HR analytics (in addition to organizational culture) can help you close the loop between setting work culture goals and efficiently finding the right people to establish said culture.

Retention in healthcare can be tricky, and the difference between a strong and mediocre turnover management could be millions of dollars back in your team’s pocket. When you’re ready to bring analytical insight to your retention practice, contact the healthcare retention experts at HSD Metrics. With decades of experience working with clients in the healthcare industry, we can look at your situation in ways that may surprise you!

About Deb Dwyer

Deborah Dwyer is the founder and president of HSD Metrics. With over 30 years of combined experience in human resource management and survey research, Deborah’s extensive knowledge reaches beyond organizational research to include significant expertise in work climate improvement, retention, hiring and selection, employee orientation, performance management systems, recognition programs, and career development systems.

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