Increasing staff retention in the healthcare industry currently still remains a significant challenge. In November 4.5 million workers quit their jobs. More specifically, in the healthcare industry, 18% of workers said that they have quit one of their jobs since mid-February 2020. That is an extremely high percentage. Dubbed ‘the Great Resignation’, the large numbers of workers leaving their jobs are impacting every industry, however, these figures demonstrate that the healthcare industry is experiencing it at heightened rates.
534,000 healthcare workers quit their job in August 2021 alone, having a direct impact on the overall performance of organizations in the industry. The more workers that leave, the more time and money needs to be spent in obtaining new talent. This has a costly effect, as the average cost of turnover for a bedside RN is $49,500. Improving employee retention is crucial in order for that money to be better spent elsewhere.
So, what can be done to boost worker retention in the healthcare industry? In this article, we focus on some strategies that organizations should implement to retain talent amid the challenges presented by the Great Resignation.
3 key things that will reduce healthcare staff turnover
People, especially healthcare workers, need to be recognized for their achievements and their hard work. Employee recognition makes them feel like they play an important part in their organization and shows that their effort isn’t going unnoticed.
Likewise, if they feel like they’re getting noticed, they are more likely to continue to put in the effort. It reminds me of the opposite of the Panopticon which was a disciplinary concept. If you recognize your worker’s achievements, then they will keep wanting that recognition and carry on with their behavior which is identified as positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is proven to increase employee engagement, leading to workers wanting to stay at their current workplace to achieve recognition. It can be as small as a pat on the back, a “wow, you’ve done such a good job this week”, anything that will leave your worker feeling happy with their work.
It also provides them with a real-world example of the level that they should be aiming for and achieving. It says to workers this is what you should be doing, and if you do this then you will receive an acknowledgment. It’s the best of both worlds for the organization and the employee.
Healthcare workers listen to people on a daily basis, they’re one of the professionals we most rely on. They too deserve to be listened to, and it’s one of the smallest but one of the most important differences that can be made.
Employees may feel like they cannot talk to management about their issues for the fear of nothing changing or their point being ignored. In fact, this study shows that active listening and acting on employee feedback is critical to increasing employee retention. Another study found that a worker receiving a “thank you” only 5 times annually from their manager increased the likelihood of the worker being highly engaged by 4% and reduced turnover by 1% – saving the customer $3.5 million annually in turnover costs.
It doesn’t only entail listening to your workers, but also your ex-workers. Finding out why they are leaving from conducting a survey can go a long way (the participants need to be anonymous). This can help you figure out what is making people leave, and if there is anything that can be improved on. They are the ones with the best knowledge on how your organization can make their working day run more smoothly, so it’s vital to listen to their feedback on the matter.
In our previous article we discussed how it was evident that organizations need to be making changes to reduce burnout in their workers. Burnout is highly prevalent in healthcare workers, leading to more resignations for reasons such as:
- The demands put on the workers
- Long hours
- Challenges to uphold a sufficient work-life balance
- And more…
76% of healthcare workers were reported to suffer from burnout – demonstrating that it is a major issue that needs to be addressed. It not only affects the workers but also the patients, by increasing the risk of medical errors and compassion fatigue. So, organizations are not only losing workers as a result of burnout, but it’s a risk to their patients too.
Therefore, the solution for this is for organizations to try and find approaches to overcome burnout (as presented in our previous article). It is so beneficial for both the workers and the organization for burnout to be addressed.
In order to increase staff retention, it’s time for healthcare organizations to focus more on the well-being of their employees. This will not only reduce turnover rates but also boost patient satisfaction.
Chloe Mumford is a content writer and researcher for US Tech Solutions. After completing her BSc in Sociology, Chloe transitioned over into the workforce management industry with an interest in talent solutions. She writes about on-demand talent solutions, Total Talent Management and the potential of talent technology. She can be reached via LinkedIn.