How to Increase Employee Retention in Healthcare

How to Increase Employee Retention in Healthcare

Content Overview

How to Increase Employee Retention in Healthcare

Employee retention is important for the success of any organization. This holds true–perhaps even more so–in the healthcare industry. Healthcare practices rely heavily on skilled, dedicated professionals to do consistently good work. When there’s a high turnover rate, it has a multitude of both short and long-term consequences for organizations.

In a recent staggering statistic, the average hospital turned over 100.5% of its workforce. To make matters worse, the average time to fill a position in healthcare is 49 days, which is significantly higher than the national average across other industries. This puts a tremendous burden on healthcare organizations. Their high turnover rate combined with longer recruitment times means there are too many vacancies to give patients the care they need. That’s why managers need to prioritize employee retention in healthcare practices!

So why the high turnover rate? There are many reasons why employees might want to leave a practice:

  1. Heavy workloads and long hours take a toll on employees’ mental and physical well-being. 
  2. The high-stress nature of constantly dealing with life and death situations causes emotional exhaustion.
  3. Inadequate compensation and recognition for hard work demotivates employees. 
  4. Lack of career growth opportunities make certain positions feel like “dead end jobs.”
  5. Limited involvement in decision-making processes makes employees feel like they’re undervalued.
  6. Poor work-life balance often results in low morale.
  7. Poor leadership hampers effective communication and fails to provide necessary support and guidance.

Ultimately, addressing issues like this before they lead to quitting and prioritizing the well-being of employees is the foundation of a positive, motivated work environment.

The cost of high turnover rates

The Consequences of High Turnover Rates

One of the main reasons to prioritize employee retention in practices is the continuity of care. Patients develop relationships with their providers, and consistent care from familiar faces promotes trust and improves patient outcomes. When team members leave frequently, patients face disruptions in their treatment plans, having to constantly build new relationships with incoming healthcare professionals. More often than not, this leads to dissatisfaction and even a decline in patient retention.

Additionally, experienced employees who have been with the practice longer often possess a depth of knowledge and expertise that new employees don’t. They’re familiar with the organizational culture and procedures, making them more effective in their roles. Retaining these experienced staff members impacts the overall quality of the services provided, as well as the reputation of the practice.

Worse yet, high turnover rates have a direct negative impact on the financial health of any practice. In fact, Becker reports that the average hospital lost $7.1 million in 2021 to higher turnover rates. Recruiting, hiring, and training new employees are costly and time-consuming. The recruitment expenses, onboarding costs, and productivity losses during the training period accumulate in no time. By investing in employee retention strategies, practices save on these expenses, which can then be allocated towards improving patient care or acquiring new technologies and equipment.

Retention is also closely tied to employee engagement. When employees are constantly leaving, it disrupts the working relationships between staff members, leading to decreased teamwork and communication. Maintaining a stable workforce spurs consistency and seamless coordination, resulting in both a better place to work for each and every staff member–and in turn, improved patient care.

If your practice wants to improve your retention rate and avoid all of these consequences, great news: there are a few tried and true methods to accomplish this. Here are some of the best ways to increase employee retention in healthcare!

Creating a Positive Work Environment

 Emphasizing Supportive Management

A good employee is only as good as their management allows. Effective leadership plays a major role in employee retention. A strong manager motivates employees, setting clear expectations and providing guidance, resulting in a sense of purpose. This fosters a positive environment, where employees feel valued and appreciated. Additionally, supportive management builds relationships, actively listens to concerns, provides necessary resources, and offers opportunities for growth. These nurturing behaviors will contribute to employee loyalty because everyone will feel more supported, empowered, and invested in your practice’s success.

Promoting Open Communication

Keeping an open line of communication is also important for retention. When your employees are encouraged to express their opinions, share their concerns, and suggest improvements, it creates a sense of belonging, demonstrating that their input is valued. This open dialogue fosters an environment that helps employees to grow and develop. Additionally, active employee engagement creates a sense of purpose and ownership, further enhancing their commitment to your practice. By prioritizing open communication, you’ll  nurture a supportive culture, boost productivity, and impact retention rates, since employees are more likely to feel connected, valued, and motivated to stick around.

Recognizing Employee Contributions

When your employees feel valued and appreciated for their hard work, they’re more likely to remain committed. There’s a number of ways you can do this. Recognition in practices can come in various forms, including:

  • Verbal praise
  • Certificates
  • Employee spotlights
  • Financial rewards 

Regardless of the method you choose, acknowledging staff efforts improves loyalty to your practice because it inspires a sense of accomplishment. Additionally, rewarding employees creates a positive work culture. This not only attracts new talent, but also encourages existing employees to stay, reducing your turnover rate and ensuring your practice’s stability in the long run.

signs of burnout

Prioritizing Work-Life Balance

Implementing Flexible Scheduling

By offering your employees the ability to choose their shifts, they’ll feel a sense of control they otherwise wouldn’t have. Additionally, flexible scheduling options allow them to better manage personal responsibilities outside of work, like caring for family members or pursuing hobbies. This reduces stress and improves mental health, ultimately leading to higher retention rates. Furthermore, by accommodating personal preferences and needs, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to employee well-being.

Encouraging Time Off

One recent statistic from the AMA indicates that 56% of nurses report feeling burnt out in 2023, and 41% of them intend to leave their jobs within the next year. Stop the burnout with more time off! In an industry where burnout and high stress levels are widespread, offering your staff the opportunity to take well-deserved time off helps revitalize their physical and mental well-being. By ensuring that employees have adequate rest, they’re more likely to promote engagement in their roles, leading to increased productivity.

Moreover, generous paid leave policies demonstrate your commitment to work-life balance, which fosters a solid work culture. This increases retention since people are more likely to stay with an employer that genuinely cares and provides opportunities to rejuvenate.

Creating Wellness Programs

By offering wellness programs, you take appreciation of your staff to the next level! Some examples of initiatives to consider include:

  • Fitness classes
  • Stress management workshops
  • Mental health support
  • Volunteer opportunities
  • Massage therapy

These options demonstrate that you genuinely care about your staff. Happy team members are more likely to remain committed to your practice, reducing turnover rates, deterring absenteeism, and ensuring the best care for patients. Furthermore, wellness programs contribute to a culture of empathy, which ultimately enhances team dynamics, strengthens your reputation, and attracts top talent.

A culture of teamwork

Fostering a Culture of Teamwork

Organizing Team-building Activities

If you provide opportunities for employees to connect in a more social, relaxed environment, it builds stronger relationships among colleagues, creating a sense of camaraderie and belonging. When this connection occurs, they’re more likely to stay at a practice. Furthermore, team-building activities provide a platform to develop essential skills, such as:

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Mutual trust

This not only benefits their current roles but also contributes to their professional growth as a whole. Additionally, social events like happy hours or team outings bring employees together in a more casual setting, allowing them to interact in a more laid-back atmosphere. This sense of community boosts employee morale and ultimately improves retention rates within your practice.

Encouraging Collaboration in Decision-making Processes

When team members feel involved in the decision-making process, they’re more motivated to perform their best. By actively seeking their input and ideas, you’ll tap into the diverse perspectives and creativity of your staff, leading to innovative solutions and increased productivity. When your team sees their ideas being appreciated, it improves their confidence. Additionally, promoting collaboration fosters ownership and responsibility, giving them a greater sense of pride towards achieving your practice’s goals. This increased level of engagement ultimately leads to better retention rates, improved teamwork, and a culture where employees feel empowered.  

Receiving Employee Feedback

Gathering Feedback Through Surveys

Seeking feedback from your  employees through surveys is an effective way to gain valuable insights. To successfully do this, follow these steps:

  1. Design a well-structured survey with clear and concise questions that cover relevant topics.
  2. Ensure anonymity and confidentiality to encourage honest responses.
  3. Communicate the purpose of the survey, emphasizing how any input will be used to drive meaningful change.
  4. Once the surveys are complete, analyze the responses thoroughly and identify key themes or areas for improvement. 
  5. Share the findings with employees transparently, and most importantly, take action on the feedback, demonstrating that employee opinions are heard and valued. 

Consider conducting surveys like this regularly to track progress and identify emerging trends. Providing a way for employees to express their thoughts and concerns will foster a culture of continuous improvement in your practice!

Conducting Exit Interviews

Exit interviews are an essential practice that helps boost employee retention down the line. By understanding the reasons for turnover and areas for improvement, you’ll gain valuable insights that enable you to make necessary changes. When employees leave, they often provide honest feedback during these interviews, citing reasons like:

  • Lack of growth opportunities
  • Inadequate compensation
  • Poor work-life balance

By identifying these specific issues, you can then take proactive measures to address them, demonstrating to remaining employees that their concerns are being acted upon. This not only improves satisfaction, but also instills a sense of optimism. Moreover, conducting exit interviews allows you to analyze turnover trends and patterns, enabling you to develop strategies to mitigate those factors and improve long-term retention.

Implementing Feedback for Change

Feedback is a powerful tool to make necessary changes. Whether it’s through surveys, suggestion boxes, or meetings, allow employees opportunities to voice concerns. Taking the time to carefully listen to input without judgment is the key to creating a safe, supportive environment. 

Collating this feedback to identify common themes or recurring issues is essential. By observing these patterns, you’ll prioritize the biggest problems and resolve them quickly. This demonstrates to employees that their voices are heard. Finally, making changes based on the feedback is crucial. This often includes:

  • Refining practices
  • Updating policies
  • Increasing resources
  • Providing additional training

No matter what it boils down to, by using feedback effectively, you’ll inspire a happier, more productive work culture!

Using tech for employee retention

Leveraging Tech to Increase Employee Retention in Healthcare

Addressing Inefficient Workflows

When your staff is constantly constrained by outdated, redundant, or broken systems, it leads to frustration and hinders their ability to provide quality care. One way to accomplish this is by investing in technologies that streamline processes and improve communication. Implementing electronic health records, for example, significantly reduces paperwork and administrative burden, freeing up more time to focus on patient care. Consider professional development opportunities that equip team members with the necessary skills to navigate any systems you choose to adopt. By addressing ineffective workflows like this, you’ll retain the highly skilled professionals on your team.

Giving Staff the Tools to Improve Efficiency

When employees have access to advanced, user-friendly technology, their daily tasks become less time-consuming. This not only minimizes burnout but also allows them to do their job better. Automation tools, real-time communication systems, and other technological advancements help healthcare teams feel more supported. Moreover, the integration of more technology in your practice will not only improve efficiency, but also enhance patient outcomes, which will make employees feel even better about what they do as a profession. The more patients you help, the more rewarding these careers are!

Choosing DocResponse for Employee Retention in Healthcare

If you’re committed to helping your team excel and stay happy with their jobs, one of the best software solutions to invest in is DocResponse. Their comprehensive digital patient intake solution is the answer to not only streamlining your practice’s check-in and registration process to give patients the best experience possible, but it keeps staff members content by alleviating their busy workload. This ensures that valuable employees are less stressed and have the tools that they need in order to maximize their time. Here what you’ll accomplish with DocResponse:

  • Reduce redundancies through less double-entry reduces burnout for employees.
  • Automated reminders cut back on the amount of phone calls front desk staff make.
  • Real-time, seamless integration into your EHR makes everyone’s job simpler.
  • Less administrative burden for your team will help them save time.
  • Hire less staff in the future with software that does the work of 2 full-time employees on average. 

Constantly finding top talent to replace those who quit and keeping your team satisfied doesn’t have to be a chore. Schedule a demo to learn more about how DocResponse is proven to save time and money – and in turn, keep your staff members around for years to come.

Dr. Tarek Fahl

Dr. Tarek Fahl

Dr. Tarek Fahl is an acclaimed orthopedic surgeon and CEO of DocResponse. Renowned for his expertise in sports medicine, focusing on advanced shoulder and knee treatments, he’s lauded as one of America’s Top Surgeons, merging medical proficiency with healthcare technology innovation.

Dr. Tarek Fahl

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