As of 2017, the average rate of healthcare staff turnover was 20.6% – a number calculated out of 11 million employees in an array of different healthcare markets and job functions.
From 2017 to now, the healthcare market has only gotten more competitive, which gives employees an advantage while putting pressure on employers to prioritize staff retention. Every time a person leaves your organization, it comes at a high cost. Between the overtime it takes to fill in shifts, the stress that under-staffing puts on your team and the cost of onboarding new talent, you risk losing a significant amount of time and money each year if you don’t focus on staff retention.
Here are three simple, yet effective staff retention strategies to utilize.
1. Continue onboarding beyond the first week
The onboarding process spans well beyond a new hire’s first week. It’s a process that should be carefully thought out and include an equal level of engagement from supervisors and the new employee.
A healthy onboarding period lasts about 60-90 days. This gives new hires a chance to truly get a feel for the organization. It’s their time to take on all the job functions within their role, get to know colleagues and present fresh ideas to their managers. From a leadership perspective, 60-90 days is a great time to learn a new hire’s habits. It provides a glimpse of how often an individual may show up early or come in late, call out or pick up extra shifts and/or earn recognition.
In terms of staff retention, think of a new hire’s first few months as the company’s first impression. You may have won them over during the hiring process, but you must ensure that the day to day operations and actions of others reflect what was discussed in interviews. Otherwise, you risk creating a costly disconnect.
2. Invest in professional growth
Don’t forget about a new hire once they’ve gotten settled in. In fact, make professional growth and development a priority for all the people you oversee.
This may mean you become more proactive about how employees meet continued education requirements. It might be the reason you start having more frequent one on one meetings or informally checking in with your team. Other growth opportunities include:
- Inviting/sending staff to conferences
- Bringing in industry experts for training opportunities
- Offering leadership development and clear pathways for advancement
Talk to your team before you roll out any of these development initiatives. You want to make sure you offer what they really want, rather than risk acting on a false assumption.
3. Make a habit of coaching and recognizing others
Sometimes, encouraging employee growth is as simple as making a genuine connection with them. Culture is a big reason why people stay or leave their organization. You can offer all the training and development you want, but it has to be matched with a genuine concern and interest in your people in order to be effective.
Make it a point to recognize staff more. This can be something you start doing at the end of team meetings or you can develop a special retention program. It can have a competitive spin on it and recognitions can range from verbal shout-outs to special tokens of appreciation. Whatever initiative you come up with, make sure it’s received well. Don’t hesitate to adjust as needed and continue improving the program once you have a good recognition system in place.
There’s one more retention strategy worth mentioning: gather and learn from employee retention data. As you work to implement the strategies mentioned above, measure their impact. Notice what your team responds best to and find ways to build on these initiatives. The ROI of higher performance, more staff engagement and a longer average employee tenure will be well worth the time and money you invest in your team.