7 Strategies for Retaining Healthcare Employees

March 27, 2024

Learn the top causes of turnover in healthcare and how these strategies will directly combat them to boost employee retention.

Although medical facilities handle serious illnesses and injuries every day, treating high employee turnover is an even greater challenge. 

Burnout, workforce shortages, and a lack of advancement opportunities are just some of the reasons why a staggering 60% of healthcare support employees plan to leave their jobs in the next five years. This turnover not only affects the continuity of patient care but also impacts the overall morale and productivity of healthcare teams. 

That’s why nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities need effective strategies to improve retention rates. 

What Causes Turnover in Healthcare?

Turnover among healthcare employees stems from a variety of factors, many of which are unique to the demands of their industry. Understanding the following factors is critical to mitigating turnover efficiently:

  • High workload and stress: Healthcare professionals often face heavy workloads, long hours, and high-stress environments. Constant pressure to meet patient needs, handle emergencies, and maintain quality care can lead to burnout and dissatisfaction.
  • Lack of work-life balance: Balancing work responsibilities with a personal life can be challenging in healthcare, especially for roles that require on-call shifts or irregular hours. Employees may experience fatigue, strains on relationships, and overall dissatisfaction when work-life balance isn’t prioritized.
  • Limited career advancement opportunities: A lack of clear pathways for career advancement and professional development can lead to frustration and stagnation among healthcare workers. When employees feel there are limited opportunities for growth within the organization, they may seek opportunities elsewhere.
  • Inadequate compensation and benefits: Healthcare professionals want to be paid what they’re worth, even if they’re pursuing a higher calling in this industry. When salaries and benefits are perceived as insufficient or lacking, employees may be more inclined to explore other job opportunities.

Addressing these underlying causes of turnover requires a comprehensive approach that includes improving work conditions, providing opportunities for growth and development, enhancing communication and support, recognizing employee contributions, and fostering a positive organizational culture. 

Employers who prioritize these or any areas that impact employee wellbeing and engagement are more likely to retain skilled professionals and maintain a stable workforce.

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Why is Retention in Healthcare so Important?

Employee retention in healthcare is about more than achieving favorable results for a medical facility — it’s about delivering quality patient care.

  • Continuity of care is essential for patient outcomes. When healthcare professionals stay with an organization long-term, they develop strong relationships with patients, understand their medical histories, and can provide more personalized care. High turnover can lead to disruptions in care, increased medical errors, and reduced patient satisfaction.
  • Retaining experienced staff contributes to the overall efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Experienced professionals are better equipped to handle complex cases, navigate challenging situations, and mentor newer team members. Their institutional knowledge and expertise are invaluable assets to healthcare organizations.
  • Employee retention impacts the financial health of healthcare institutions. The costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training new employees are substantial. For example, considering the average turnover rate among Registered Nurses (RNs) is 22% and the average annual salary is $89,000, an organization employing 25 RNs would spend more than a quarter of a million dollars annually on turnover alone. 

By reducing turnover and retaining skilled and qualified staff, organizations can save on recruitment expenses and maintain a stable workforce.

7 Strategies for Increasing Employee Retention in Healthcare

Responding to healthcare employee turnover challenges requires effective strategies for improveing retention rates and enhancing employee satisfaction.

1. Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Offering competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages is a key strategy for retaining healthcare professionals. These incentives demonstrate the organization values its employees and invests in their wellbeing and career development.

Conduct regular salary reviews to ensure pay equity and adjust compensation based on market standards. Additionally, provide benefits such as healthcare coverage, retirement plans, paid time off, and tuition reimbursement.

Learn More: The 14 Best Employee Benefits to Dazzle Your Talent

2. Promote Work-Life Balance

It’s no secret healthcare professionals often face demanding work schedules and high levels of stress. Promoting work-life balance via flexible work environments can help prevent burnout and improve retention rates. 

Implement flexible scheduling options, allow for remote work when feasible, and encourage employees to take breaks and vacations. Providing resources for stress management, mental health support, and wellness programs can also contribute to a healthier work environment.

3. Career Development and Advancement Opportunities

Create pathways for career advancement within the organization. When employees see a clear path for advancement, they’re more likely to stay committed to their roles. What’s more, research shows offering continuing education for employees positively impacts patient outcomes.

Offer training programs, mentorship opportunities, and support for professional certifications or higher education. Encourage employees to set career goals and provide opportunities for growth and development. 

4. Recognition and Rewards

Your team deserves recognition for their hard work. Show them you appreciate their contributions and achievements through verbal appreciation, bonuses, awards, or promotions. 

Gallup research shows a huge opportunity for medical facilities, stating recognition can make employees feel four times more connected to the organization. 

Acknowledge milestones like years of service, successful projects, or positive patient feedback. Celebrating accomplishments boosts morale, fosters a positive work culture, and reinforces employee loyalty.

Learn More: 16 Employee Appreciation Ideas to Show Gratitude

5. Create a Positive Work Environment

Foster a supportive and inclusive work culture where employees feel valued, respected, and heard. 

Encourage open communication, transparency, and collaboration among team members. Address conflicts and issues promptly and provide opportunities for feedback and suggestions. A positive work environment contributes to employee satisfaction, engagement, and retention.

6. Enhance Engagement and Communication

Gallup also found a link between employee engagement and retention, so it’s worth keeping employees engaged and connected to the organization's mission and values. 

Communicate regularly about organizational goals, initiatives, and updates. Involve employees in decision-making processes and seek their input on improving workflows or patient care. Encourage teamwork, collaboration, and a sense of purpose among staff members.

7. Conduct Exit Interviews and Gather Feedback

When employees do leave the organization, conduct exit interviews to understand their reasons for departure and gather valuable feedback. 

Use this information to identify areas for improvement and make necessary changes to enhance retention efforts. Addressing common concerns or issues raised during exit interviews can help prevent future turnover.

Improve Retention with a Modern HCM Solution

Employee retention in healthcare is a multifaceted challenge that requires proactive strategies and a commitment to creating a positive work environment with the employee experience in mind. Prioritizing employee wellbeing and engagement is not only beneficial for the workforce but also for the overall success of healthcare institutions and the patients for whom they care. 

By integrating technology solutions tailored to the healthcare industry, facilities can enhance their retention efforts and create a more efficient and supportive environment for their workforce. Modern HCM platforms include:

Request a demo today to see how Paylocity’s integrated platform can make your medical facility an even better place to work.


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