Employee Turnover in the Healthcare Industry: 5 Main Causes

Although every industry has been impacted by COVID-19, healthcare professionals have been the most affected and have experienced the greatest pressure. Even before the pandemic, the United States was facing a shortage of nurses. Highly-skilled, experienced nurses with incredible bedside manners are vital to any healthcare system. They are directly tied to positive patient experiences, yet industry trends point towards high-turnover rates among healthcare providers. We analyzed exit interview data from our healthcare clients and found the following five main causes of employee turnover in healthcare:

1. Supervision

It’s no secret that healthcare can be a demanding field. From long hours to high stress levels, there are many factors that can lead to employee turnover. One of the most important, though often overlooked, is supervision. When employees feel supported and valued by their supervisors, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs. On the other hand, when employees feel micromanaged or belittled, it can lead to unhappiness and eventually a decision to leave. In order to retain good employees, it’s important for healthcare organizations to create a supportive and positive environment from the top down. By fostering open communication and showing appreciation for a job well done, supervisors can play a vital role in keeping turnover rates low.

2. Schedule and Hours

Healthcare workers have some of the busiest and most demanding schedules of any profession. They often work long hours, including overnight shifts, and are constantly on the move. This can be very stressful and makes it difficult to maintain a work-life balance. As a result, healthcare employee turnover is high, as workers leave the profession in search of jobs with better hours and more manageable workloads. This is a major problem for healthcare organizations, as it leads to higher staffing costs and a shortage of qualified personnel. To reduce turnover, healthcare organizations need to focus on creating better working conditions for their employees. This includes implementing flexible scheduling, providing additional break times, and offering competitive pay and benefits.

3. Recognition, Appreciation, and Respect

One of the main reasons why healthcare employees leave their jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated. Between long hours, demanding patients, and constant stress, it’s easy to feel like a cog in the machine. When you’re not feeling respected or valued, it’s only natural to start looking for a position elsewhere. There are a few things employers can do to help alleviate this problem:

  • Take the time to get to know your employees and their individual strengths.
  • Make sure to express appreciation for a job well done, whether it’s through a casual conversation or a more formal recognition system.
  • Avoid creating a hostile work environment; unhealthy competition and backstabbing only serve to further devalue employees.

By taking these steps, employers can help create a more positive work environment and reduce turnover.

4. Limited Opportunity for Promotions

In a recent study, nearly half of respondents said they would leave their current job if they didn’t see any opportunity for advancement. This is not surprising, given that most people want to feel like they are progressing in their career. When there are no opportunities for promotion, it can create a sense of stagnation and cause employees to start looking elsewhere. Healthcare organizations need to be aware of this and make sure that they are offering their employees opportunities to grow and develop. Otherwise, they will continue to lose talented staff members.

5. Unreasonable Work Demands

Employees in the healthcare industry often feel like they are being asked to do too much with too little. This can lead to burnout, and eventually, these employees may decide to leave their jobs. In addition, many healthcare employees feel like they are not being paid enough for the hours they are working. This can also lead to dissatisfaction and a desire to find a new job.

With the added pressure of COVID, it is more important than ever for HR leaders to ensure that their healthcare staff feel satisfied in their roles. A great place to start is issuing a brief employee survey or a stay survey. This will allow your HR team to assess employee engagement and identify any obstacles that inhibit employee satisfaction. 

To learn more about how your organization can accurately gather and predict turnover causes in a systematic, objective manner, contact us. We help our healthcare partners improve employee engagement, increase retention, and reduce turnover.