The issue of employee retention in healthcare is a long-standing and multifaceted challenge, persisting even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which worsened the situation. It is clear from the statistics that an estimated 1.5 million people lost their jobs in healthcare during the initial two months of COVID-19.
Employee retention in healthcare refers to the efforts made by healthcare organizations to retain and keep their employees for an extended period. It involves implementing effective retention strategies for healthcare to reduce employee turnover. Furthermore, they ensure that healthcare workers remain committed and engaged.
Employee Retention in Healthcare: Insights, Facts and Figures.
By the year 2025, the US healthcare industry will have a shortage of:
- More than 400,000 home health aids
- More than 98,000 medical lab technicians/ technologists
- Around 29,400 nurse practitioners
- More than 95,000 nursing assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employee turnover rate was 32%. This scenario deteriorated further in 2020 when the turnover rate stood at an unprecedented level of 45%.
The alarming statistics reveal a significant healthcare labor shortage in the present and the foreseeable future.
So, what challenges drive this immense situation in the healthcare industry? What are the healthcare retention strategies? Stay tuned, as this blog will address your significant concerns.
Importance of Employee Retention in Healthcare
Employee retention in healthcare is of paramount importance for several reasons:
Consistency in Patient Care
Healthcare is a vital industry that demands continued care and optimal care delivery. Patients benefit from consistent and quality care when experienced and knowledgeable healthcare professionals stay with an organization. Moreover, a high turnover can interrupt patient-provider relationships and negatively impact healthcare outcomes. This paramount concern calls for effective healthcare retention strategies for a persistent flow of care delivery.
Although it seems simple, the recruitment and training of healthcare professionals is an expensive and time-consuming process. High turnover rates result in increased recruitment costs and lower overall efficiency. By retaining employees, healthcare organizations can save on recruitment, onboarding, and training expenses.
Patient satisfaction is of the utmost priority in the healthcare world. Patients often feel more comfortable and confident in the care if familiar faces provide them. Therefore, a stable workforce can lead to improved patient satisfaction. This stability is necessary for healthcare organizations that aim to maintain a positive reputation and attract new patients. Thus, the list of healthcare retention strategies should encompass this imperative point.
In the healthcare industry, where knowledge and expertise are paramount, knowledge transfer from experienced to newer staff is an imperative priority. However, high turnover rates can hinder this knowledge transfer, potentially leading to gaps in skills and understanding. In turn. it can affect care delivery in the worst sense.
Challenges in Employee Retention in Healthcare
Employee retention in healthcare has always been a complex challenge. In 2024, it continues to be a pressing issue. Let’s break the pain points for employee retention in healthcare into two major fronts for better insights.
- Structural and regulatory changes- are a source of great distress for healthcare employees. An ongoing updation at regular intervals makes processes unfeasible and challenging to cope with.
- Departmental and individual discontent- continues to be a significant hurdle in retention. The employers ignore these issues at their end, thus leading to a disturbing concern for the employees.
Turnover rates cost immensely to the industry
The healthcare industry faces a significant challenge of high employee turnover, resulting in enormous costs.
One major medical center represented a loss of above 5% of the total annual operating budget.
Surprisingly, this may come on the brink of profit or loss for some healthcare setups.
Consider this situation to understand why the turnover costs are this huge. When a healthcare professional leaves, the overtaxed colleagues may replace the vacant positions. Moreover, they may put a burden on their expensive overtime hours. This process may persist for several months until the permanent replacement arrives.
Healthcare System Transitions Bring Stress
Government administration transits impacts HR managers profoundly.
But the question is how and why?
An employee working for a company in the early stages of a lengthy transition might consider moving to an organization that has already completed this challenging transformation. Additionally, a hospital may experience employee departures while dealing with possible rises in its healthcare insurance expenses.
Stressing Time During Mergers and Acquisitions
It is organic for healthcare organizations to undergo mergers with large firms. Sometimes, they may acquire other healthcare organizations or teaching institutions.
Whatever the course of action might be, it impacts the employees to a great extent. Employee dissatisfaction increases immensely, leading to enhanced burnout rates. Many healthcare professionals prefer avoiding becoming a part of the acquired or merged healthcare setup. However, healthcare employers can easily tackle this through effective retention strategies for healthcare employees.
Many healthcare workers face heavy workloads and may be required to work overtime regularly. It can negatively impact their work-life balance and job satisfaction.
Competitive Job Market
The healthcare industry is highly competitive, with many organizations vying for the same pool of skilled professionals. This competition can make it challenging for organizations to attract and retain top talent.
How to Retain Healthcare Employees: Healthcare Retention Strategies for 2024
Employee retention in the healthcare industry is pivotal and requires a combination of employee-friendly benefits, competitive salaries, and a productive workspace. By doing so, companies improve their turnover rate and fill positions faster.
However, there’s more to what meets the eye. Healthcare organizations need robust medical recruitment strategies for more reasons, and you can read them here.
Here’s a brief guide to the effective healthcare retention strategies for 2024.
Adopt Best Scheduling Practices
Appropriate scheduling can turn around the game. Healthcare professionals feel stressed out due to overburdening or inappropriate scheduling structures. For this purpose, the employees can adopt a variety of options to make things convenient for the healthcare professionals:
Flexibility in scheduling: Some options include employment sharing, overlapping shifts, and staggered start times. The benefit of these flexible choices is that they can accommodate the needs of nurses and other healthcare workers who must juggle work, family, and other obligations.
Self-scheduling: Letting employees choose their shift schedules increases job satisfaction. As a result, nurses and other healthcare professionals have control over their shifts and the amount of overtime they accept.
Data analytics: Managers can use data analytics to estimate demand with the help of workforce planning apps. Furthermore, these programs employ machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict potential demand hikes.
As the number of healthcare jobs increases, more and more competitors are taking on the market. Therefore, offering competitive pay is essential in this complex landscape to hire and retain the workforce.
There can be times in healthcare workspaces that can bring tough times. At this time, if the workforce feels inclusive to propose ideas and make decisions, they feel more involved. It increases their interest and motivation in knowing that they can explore their ideas. Such innovative leadership would greatly enhance employee retention in healthcare.
Offer A Comprehensive Mentoring Plan
When an employee joins your team, they expect an inspiring mentorship to start their corporate journey. This strategy ensures a smooth training process. Moreover, it offers a warm welcome to the new hire and offers them a connection to the corporate family.
Furthermore, Judie Smithers, a healthcare safety and business expert, pointed out that having a reliable source for job information can help the new employee feel less anxious.
Promoting Employee Engagement
Employee retention in healthcare demands that the employees should feel involved. Employee engagement is one of the optimal retention strategies for healthcare.
Furthermore, Medical GPS research shows that the ratio of the actively engaged healthcare workforce is around 36%. 45% of the healthcare workforce feels unengaged. This figure seems small, although it impacts patient care immensely. It calls for effective employee engagement strategies.
You can adopt different strategies to enhance employee engagement. You can start a live poll on social media platforms, asking for the employees’ opinions. Moreover, you can conduct an employee recognition program, reward the most dedicated employee, or an employee of the month program.
To conclude, employee retention in healthcare is a significant topic, given the increasing cases of burnout and turnover rates. Healthcare jobs are on the rise in the coming years. However, the turnover rates are also likely to increase. The healthcare sector needs effective retention strategies to pair the increasing healthcare job vacancies with decreased turnover rates.
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