September 11 2014

Retention Strategies for Healthcare Organizations

Written by Lambda Solutions

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In yesterday’s blog we introduced the two top initiatives that are consuming HR Healthcare Professionals—streamlining HR processes and increasing retention. Preventing turnover in healthcare institutions is one of the largest challenges for HR Healthcare Professionals today as turnover happens much too frequently causing high sunk costs. It is estimated that turnover in the US healthcare sector is more than double the national average of 15.6% and the cost each time an employee leaves is equivalent to one year of their salary. Others estimate the cost of losing a single registered nurse is equivalent to 2 years of their annual salary. Regardless, these costs are much too high for already strained healthcare budgets so retention strategies for healthcare organizations must be addressed.

Why is Turnover so High in Healthcare?

The key reasons that healthcare workers leave organizations are: lack of trust and collaboration with co-workers, lack of role clarity, poor communication with management, feeling overworked and lack of career opportunities. Additional reasons that turnover is so high for healthcare workers is due to poor pay and the sheer number of healthcare workers available. Unlike the technology sector where high turnover is attributed to attractive salaries and poaching, healthcare works such as registered nurses typically leave in hopes of working in a better environment. Unfortunately though, healthcare workers typically recognize that the grass is not always greener on the other side. Let's take a look at how we can change this.

How can we Improve Retention in Healthcare?

Create a Value-based work Environment

Healthcare workers are looking for enriching and fulfilling organizations to work in. Gone are the days of attracting workers solely with more pay. Time and time again workers cite that the 5 most important attributes of their workplace are as follows:

1. Work-life balance—Employees want to be able to successfully manage both their professional and personal lives. Retention studies show that one of the best ways to do this is through providing flexible work scheduling. This means that healthcare organizations should offer flexible shifts, job sharing, telecommuting, sabbaticals and generous vacation time.

2. Mutually beneficial partnership with employers—Employees today want to be treated as partners rather than cogs in the machine. A popular way to achieve this is by providing consultation sessions where employees provide strategic, operational and capital-allocation recommendations. Employees not only feel like they are contributing to your organizations' overarching mission, but they provide tremendous insight into efficiencies that often go unseen.

3. Opportunities for personal and professional growth—With your healthcare organization’s learning management system, it is now cost effective and simple to provide continued education learning opportunities to healthcare workers. Better yet, it is also a hub for healthcare workers to engage in social learning through interaction and collaboration across clinical fields.

4. Making meaningful contributions to the world through work—Most healthcare workers are in the business of saving lives but this can easily get drowned out with too much focus on the bottom line. Ensuring your healthcare organization keeps focus on its empathetic core values is a sure way to help workers feeling that they are doing meaningful work on a daily basis.

5. Creating meaningful relationships with people at work—Human beings have an innate need to part of a community. This is something difficult to achieve in large healthcare institutions but it is not impossible to achieve on a departmental level. Providing opportunities for employees to get to know one another on a personal level is the first step to fostering community where meaningful relationships flourish.

Ensuring that these 5 retention strategies for healthcare organizations are in place will not only create a happier and less stressful environment for you to work in but it will increase retention significantly. Managing, organizing and implementing the aforementioned activities can be tracked and reported on in a Healthcare Talent Management System. Call us for a demo today!

If you're looking for more content on healthcare, check out our Guide to Competency Based Learning in Healthcare. Today’s healthcare landscape is focused on the efficient delivery of effective patient outcomes. Competency based training (CBT) and learning is an increasingly popular solution to help clinicians move in systems that pressure them to do more with less. Download this complimentary guide to learn more about how CBT can be utilized in healthcare.

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