The employee turnover rate (employee retention) of the healthcare industry is one of the highest, only second to the hospitality industry. Healthcare professionals face a lot of challenges on a day-to-day basis. They need a management team that can support them and their needs in the workplace. If they don’t, they are forced to find better opportunities elsewhere.
Find out the ten ways you, as a healthcare manager, can lower your employee turnover rates. Keep on reading 10 ways Healthcare Managers can improve employee retention.
The Healthcare Turnover Crisis
The healthcare industry has experienced rising turnover rates (employee retention) for the past few years. And recently, it has been at an all-time high. Employee retention has been an incredibly huge struggle for many healthcare organizations since the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shortage of healthcare professionals has left many of the remaining medical workers with increased workloads. As a result, the healthcare professionals experience burnout and emotional distress. In a 2021 report by the Advisory Board, many medical employees have said they feel like they’re being stretched too thin.
Staff shortages have resulted in rushed or below-average care for patients. This manifests in increased patient waiting times, a lack of continuity between the patient and the care provider, as well as higher levels of stress in the workplace.
It is estimated that the average hospital has turned over 87.8% of its entire workforce since 2014, and the trend will only increase down the line. Higher turnover rates are also incredibly costly for the organization.
Replacing a registered nurse can cost anywhere from $22,000 to $64,000, not including on-boarding, overtime, and losses in productivity. The average hospital loses $4.4 million to $7 million yearly in turnover costs.
These numbers have healthcare managers scrambling to improve employee retention and happiness at work to keep their teams together.
10 Ways Healthcare Managers Can Improve Employee Retention
Here are 10 ways Healthcare Managers can improve employee retention:
1. Improve employee engagement through flexible scheduling
The healthcare industry is ranked as one of the lowest regarding employee engagement. This is due to heavy workloads, excessive overtime, unpredictable schedules, and limited flexibility.
Conduct surveys and interviews
The best way to know what your staff needs is by interviewing them or conducting anonymous surveys. This will help you know what you can improve on inside the company and what can be attractive for job seekers.
Make the appropriate changes according to the surveys and interviews
Schedule flexibility is one way to boost employee engagement since it helps them feel less overwhelmed or overworked.
Look into different flexibility systems like shift working, job sharing, compressed workweeks, flex time models, and other scheduling systems. Using a healthcare scheduling app can also make staff scheduling easier, especially if there are any last-minute changes.
2. Promote peer-to-peer feedback to improve workflow
Peer-to-peer feedback helps the entire staff improve on their weaknesses while encouraging a learning environment that promotes further growth in the organization.
It is best to conduct peer-to-peer reviews in a 360-degree manner where superiors provide feedback to the subordinates and vice versa. Encouraging this open communication helps cut down on any miscommunication.
Why peer-to-peer feedback works
The feedback helps everyone improve the quality of their performance and continues the cycle of positive feedback that boosts team morale and promotes interpersonal relationships. These interpersonal relationships can greatly help staff feel more connected to their workplace.
3. Celebrate and value employees
Every human resources manager knows how crucial it is to have the right people on your team. When you have those people, you want to make sure they stay with you for a long time. A great way to do that is to show that you care about them.
Small acts matter
Go ahead and demonstrate acts that make the employees feel that their contributions to the organization are appreciated. You can do this by publicly recognizing positive traits or results. You can also celebrate a staff’s birthday, give holiday bonuses, or simply acknowledge their hard work.
Make the employees feel that they are being seen and treated as more than just another cog in the machine. And both the employee and the employer get to develop a more positive relationship with each other.
Employees who feel valued are more likely to complete tasks and perform at a higher level. They have a more positive outlook during their work time and feel more inspired to continue working in the organization.
4. Encourage teamwork
Providing quality care for patients starts with great teamwork among healthcare professionals. Teamwork is only ever successful when there is great communication between the different team members.
Team building exercises
During staff meetings, have HR incorporate team-building exercises. These activities can be done quarterly, mid-year, or annually as part of the holiday party activities.
Practicing teamwork daily
Management can help the staff work effectively by setting up systems and tools in place to support team communication.
Incorporating computer applications or systems is a great way to keep patient data organized and updated. It can also help reduce miscommunication between staff. This will help reduce errors, provide a sense of transparency with task assignments, and resolve any conflicts.
5. Mentorship programs
Another attractive strategy to employ is to offer mentorship programs in your practice. One study showed that new staff with a mentor are 25% more likely to stay in the workplace than those without a mentor.
A mentorship program allows for experienced staff to pass on their own institutional knowledge and expertise. This allows newer staff to learn the ropes quicker and also helps the organization retain the wisdom of the experienced staff even after they retire.
A mentor can also help newer staff learn the “soft” skills needed to be more resilient and combat burnout in the workplace. The newer staff have someone to look up to that they can connect with and also seek inspiration and guidance from when times get tough.
6. Give recognition often
Recognizing your healthcare team’s hard work can drive engagement and improve employee retention. Having leadership show gratitude is incredibly rewarding.
You can plan recognition dinners, give service awards, and even offer exceptionally working staff time off.
Giving recognition often can help boost morale as well. Staff will also feel more motivated to strive for better performance if they are thought of as valued and recognized team members.
7. Provide a comprehensive wellness program
Prone to burnout and fatigue, healthcare workers need to take care of their well-being. One way managers can help them do that is by providing a comprehensive wellness program to improve their health and well-being both inside and out.
Offering mental health counseling
The best wellness programs offer a holistic approach, taking care of the employee’s body and the mind. Dealing with the trauma and stress in every shift, many employees struggle to maintain their mental health.
Providing free or discounted counseling can help them find support for issues like substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and stress. Being able to talk about what they witness day-to-day on the job and being given the tools to manage stress can be extremely helpful.
Having physical health care incentives
Their physical health also falls by the wayside due to hectic schedules and stressful shifts. You can offer wellness incentives, that can motivate staff to maintain their physical health. You can also offer passes to yoga classes and gym memberships.
It is also best to have these wellness programs tailored o their job’s demands. Doing so makes it easier for them to integrate the programs into their self-care rituals which can hopefully be sustainable and helpful for them for a long time.
8. Give opportunities for career growth
Education and continuous learning are crucial to improving your team’s technical and people skills.
Supporting your staff as they further develop their skill set will make them a more valuable asset to the team. It will also encourage a culture of recognition and encouragement to strive for professional improvement.
Providing career growth paths
Career growth paths are tangible ways employees can visualize their career progression. This helps avoid feelings of being stagnant or bored. It also gives staff motivation to strive for career development within the organization.
Continuous training and education
Training programs are also a great way to help them have the tools they need to achieve their career goals. You can also sponsor specific staff to attend conventions where they can hone their knowledge. Supporting their continued training and education can also foster a sense of belonging within the organization.
9. Establish and reinforce the organization’s core values
An organization with strong core values that reflect on its team is most likely to have a solid workplace culture.
Define your organization’s core values and how it manifests in your healthcare employees’ performance. Communicate these core values to your staff and reinforce them every day. You can do this by recognizing employees who embody these values through rewards and accolades.
A solid workplace culture allows employees to feel safe and supported. As a result, they feel more fulfilled and connected to their work.
10. Re-evaluate your onboarding process
It is said that the first 90 days of employment are the most critical to retaining employees. It sets the tone for how the employee may feel about working in the organization.
Evaluate your onboarding system and see how you can better integrate an employee into the organization’s culture, the training they receive during that period, education on the organization’s history and background, as well as things like core values, wellness programs, and growth plans. Make sure they know the different systems, like processing leave requests efficiently.
Having a mentor can also be incredibly helpful, and an employee mentorship program can help decrease the stress on new employees. It can also help them align their career goals with the organization’s goals.
Reducing employee churn doesn’t have one solution, and it’s an amalgamation of all the things management can do to help support their staff during their tenure. At the end of the day, it is about meeting their needs holistically, so they feel uplifted. If your staff feels uplifted, then they, in turn, uplift the organization.