Improve Employee Retention in Healthcare with 5 Strategies

Healthcare is one of the top ten industries with the highest quit rate among employees. 

In fact, from April 2022 to August 2022, the healthcare and social assistance industry saw monthly average quit levels of 520,800 with an average quit rate of 2.52% per month.

In hopes of improving employee retention in healthcare, many HR professionals are looking for actionable strategies to engage and keep healthcare professionals satisfied.

And for good reason. 

Average healthcare quit rate

The process of onboarding new healthcare professionals is expensive.

The time, resources, and money spent to recruit and hire top talent are astronomical. 

Not to mention the low morale that comes with a steady stream of coworkers leaving for other facilities or other industries altogether. 

In this blog post, our voice of employee market research company shares the best ways to improve staff retention in healthcare. 

Interested in conducting voice of employee research for your healthcare organization? Reach out to the Drive Research team by completing an online contact form or emailing [email protected].

What is Impacting the Healthcare Labor Shortage?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, turnover within the healthcare industry rose from 32% in 2016 to 45% in 2020

There are a variety of factors that impact the healthcare labor shortage. Some reasons are unavoidable such as healthcare workers retiring. 

However, in most cases, people are leaving healthcare jobs at unprecedented rates due to reasons that can be avoided or resolved. 

In fact, voluntary terminations are the top cause of turnover within hospitals

When asked to select more specific reasons for resigning, the top causes were personal reasons, career advancement, retirement, relocation, salary, education, scheduling, and workload.

healthcare terminiation stat

Other factors impacting low employee retention in healthcare include: 

  • Decreased educational opportunities, particularly among nurse educators
  • A high propensity of work-related burnout
  • Feeling compensation is not fair compared to the market value
  • Concerns with career development/ability to move up within the organization
  • Issues related to work-life balance 

These common hospital retention issues lead to costly implications.

In fact, the average cost of a bedside RN turnover loss is $46,100. This results in a typical hospital losing $5.2 to $9 million due to RN turnover.

💡 The Key Takeaway: There is a variety of turnover causes for decreased healthcare and hospital employee retention including career advancement and salary issues. These hospital retention issues come with expensive implications.

Recommended Reading: How to Boost Nurse Retention Rates

Strategies to Improve Healthcare Retention Rates

Healthcare organizations and facilities can overcome these expensive and frustrating roadblocks by increasing medical professional retention rates.

But, with so many suggestions out there, it can be difficult to narrow down the strategies that are truly effective. 

Not to worry. After conducting extensive research on behalf of hospitals and medical facilities across the country, here are the healthcare retention methods that are most worthwhile.

1. Employee surveys

As we’ve discussed, there are many reasons causing challenges with healthcare employee attrition.

Though, the best way to pinpoint the top factors within your specific organization is with employee surveys.

Many healthcare HR professionals turn to employee research because surveys are a resource to gather feedback and insight directly from hospital employees. 

The benefits of conducting an employee survey with your healthcare and medical staff include:

  • Earning custom employee data to create insights that inform the next steps
  • Providing a private, comfortable outlet for employees to provide feedback
  • Understanding specific areas for improvement related to retention
  • Quantifying drivers to satisfaction and engagement 

For other advantages to employee surveys, watch our brief video below.

After deciding whether an employee survey is a good fit for your facility, the next step is to determine if the study will be conducted in-house or outsourced to an employee survey company.

Keep in mind, one of the biggest challenges to employee surveys is ensuring that employees respond.

It is a key reason why using a third-party employee survey company is critical. 

This helps ensure employees feel comfortable responding with their honest feedback because they know their responses are 100% confidential. 

As a result of having a “middleman” conduct the research, HR and leadership teams receive more high-quality data. 

Additionally, working with an employee survey company like Drive Research includes other advantages such as:

  • Recommended questions to measure key performance indicators related to employee satisfaction (i.e., employee net promoter score, what’s most important to employees when determining job satisfaction, how their satisfaction has changed)

  • Access to employee survey benchmarking data to compare how your organization differs from industry averages and competitors 

  • Expert recommendations for how to interpret and use the data to successfully increase healthcare employee retention rates

Recommended Reading: How to Ask Employees to Take a Staff Satisfaction Survey

2. Give healthcare professionals a reason to stay

When looking to improve employee retention in healthcare, paying staff fairly is a good place to start. 

That’s because compensation and benefits tend to be top factors related to retention, particularly in the healthcare industry where competition for talent is strong. 

Recently, Gallup published a guide on aligning employee compensation and talent management strategies

The guide explains several aspects of compensation recommendations, perceptions among the workforce, and how managers can use these discussions to motivate employees. 

For example, it explains how a total rewards package includes: 

  • Base pay
  • Incentive pay
  • Perks and benefits

The thought is, effective total rewards strategies must appeal to most employees. 

In other words, do your compensation and benefits packages make sense for nurses, doctors, and other healthcare administrators? 

Does it encourage the behavior and business results that the organization aims to achieve?

Again, the best way to answer these questions is with a total rewards survey rather than assumptions of what your employees are feeling.

3. Institute proper scheduling

While significant, fair pay and benefits are not the only way to improve employee retention in healthcare. 

In fact, work-life balance is a major factor that affects hospital staff attrition. 

Studies show that 35% of workers who do not have a healthy work-life balance would give up between $1,710 to $2,820 of their pay in order to achieve it.

Work-life balance stat

Knowing this, healthcare and hospital teams should work with leadership/managers and employees to better understand how adjustments can be made to ensure scheduling is effective for the organization as well as individual staff members. 

For more insights into this topic, read our post: Organizational Strategies for Promoting Work-Life Balance.

4. Pay attention to employee burnout

Similar to work-life balance and proper scheduling, preventing employee burnout is important for healthcare organizations and hospitals to prioritize. 

Health worker burnout is real. They are at an increased risk for mental health challenges, causing them to look for new jobs.

It is no secret that working in healthcare requires medical professionals to be in distressing environments. Their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being are at risk every day. 

For more context, a study by Mental Health America shows that… 

  • 93% of healthcare workers are experiencing stress
  • 86% are experiencing anxiety
  • 76% are experiencing exhaustion and burnout

Healthcare workers burnout stat

If interested in conducting a survey, there are specifically designed employee survey questions that can assess burnout as well as work-life balance.

This data can then be segmented to pinpoint which teams need the most relief from burnout (i.e., by department, role/level, shift). 

In addition to understanding burnout rates, these results can also be compared to the healthcare industry as a whole to understand how your hospital or healthcare organization compares to others.

Recommended Reading: Mental Health in the Workplace - Tips for Happier Employees

5. Offer ongoing education

Lastly, focusing on your team’s professional and educational development is an effective way to improve employee retention in healthcare.

That’s because efforts related to professional development help keep healthcare and hospital employees motivated and excited about work. 

More specifically, Gallup explains how the desire to grow and learn is needed to keep employees motivated and progressing

Three tips to challenge and motivate employees include:

  1. Assessing capabilities, aligning capabilities with long-term goals, and creating short-term goals.

  2. Creating opportunities for each employee that is part of a larger professional development plan. It’s important to check in with employees to understand what they are learning and how they are applying it to their work/sharing learnings with others.

  3. Showing the importance of new learning opportunities and encouraging employees to take on new goals/tasks related to their personalized professional development plan.

Contact Our Healthcare Market Research Company

If you are looking to improve your healthcare employee retention rates, there may be no better solution than employee surveys. The results gathered from employee surveys help improve employee retention rates in healthcare organizations. 

And Drive Research can help. We are a healthcare market research company serving organizations nationally and worldwide.

Our team specializes in various qualitative and quantitative market research studies, including employee surveys.

Working with a third-party employee survey company helps ensure best practices are being implemented, confidentially for the results, a higher response rate, and an unbiased analysis of the findings. 

Interested in learning more about our healthcare market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As a Research Manager, Emily is approaching a decade of experience in the market research industry and loves to challenge the status quo. She is a certified VoC professional with a passion for storytelling.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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