Healthcare Employee Retention: How to Hold Onto Talent
For healthcare providers, healthcare employee retention is critical for the safety and satisfaction of patients. From the perspective of the general public, reducing turnover and increasing employee retention in healthcare is a matter of public health. The cost of turnover ends up being borne by patients as higher healthcare prices.
In healthcare, it is critical that a patient care team is focused and works well together. If the first responder is trying to learn how to work with a new emergency room physician, they might not be able to provide the same attention to a patient as a more seasoned pair.
Why healthcare employees leave
One of the most common reasons healthcare employees leave their place of work is after experiencing burnout. Nearly half of physicians and one third of nurses report the mental, physical, and ethical exhaustion that characterize burnout. When an employee experiencing burnout leaves, it costs around one third of their annual salary to replace them.
More positive reasons for leaving a healthcare organization exist. As the United States population ages and healthcare requirements increase, there are more and more opportunities for trained medical staff. A physician or registered nurse may leave after finding higher pay or a more comprehensive benefits package at another institution.
The scale of the issue
Turnover in the healthcare industry can be as high as 30% in some segments of employment. For example, nearly one in three part-time paramedics will leave their employer in a given year. Almost one in five registered nurses leave their positions each year, and for emergency room physicians the rate is one in ten. Considering how crucial it can be for the entire chain of care to work together, any changes in a team due to turnover can increase patient complications. Even if a newly hired member of the medical team integrates seamlessly with the existing workforce, the cost of finding and onboarding them can be around one fifth to one third of their annual salary. This amounts to an expensive increase in the cost of care simply to replace a missing healthcare employee.
How to retain healthcare employees
Given the scale and cost of the issue of healthcare employee turnover, healthcare organizations need to use every tool at their disposal to retain their employees. The disruption in care and onboarding costs mean that holding onto valued employees is an imperative for providing competent care.
Increasing direct pay may be an option, but increasingly employees want a better work-life balance. Four out of five employees surveyed in 2015 indicated that employer benefits were more important than increased pay. A comprehensive benefits package might include employer provided child care, whether it be on-site child care or through daycare tuition reimbursement. Employer child care benefits can reduce turnover by 50%, which can be a huge cost savings for an employer. Other benefits may include paid parental leave and paid vacation.