The Challenges of Employee Retention in Healthcare + 5 Free Ways to Improve

Feb 28, 2024

Employee retention in the healthcare industry is facing a significant challenge in retaining its talented workforce. Nurses, doctors, and other vital personnel are leaving their positions at an alarming rate, placing a strain on healthcare systems and impacting patient care. Let’s dive into the factors contributing to these challenges and how taking the time to create a positive company culture can be a powerful solution.

What’s Causing Low Employee Retention in Healthcare?

High turnover isn’t being caused by just one issue, it’s being caused by a lot of small fixable issues.

  1. Burnout: Working long hours, high patient-to-staff ratios, and emotional stress all contribute to employee burnout. Burnout is running rampant in the healthcare industry with approximately 50% of physicians and 60% of nurses experiencing symptoms of burnout. The New England Journal of Medicine published a study, that found a significant association between physician burnout and reduced professional work effort.
  2. Work-life balance: An unpredictable schedule and demanding workload can make it difficult for nurses to separate their work life from their real life. Not being able to have separation leads nurses and administrative staff to search for employment with companies that will give them the balance they need.
  3. Compensation and benefits: Even though healthcare salaries tend to be competitive, stagnant wages or lack of attractive benefits packages can make workers feel undervalued, leading them to other opportunities.
  4. Lack of growth opportunities: Limited opportunities for professional development and career advancement can leave employees feeling stagnant and unmotivated, increasing their likelihood of leaving. By showing your employees that you’re willing to invest in them and their future, they will be more likely to stick around your facility. Some ways employers do this is by offering scholarships for continued education or earning additional certifications that can not only benefit your facility but also your employees.

See also: Prioritizing Mental Health in Healthcare Leadership

How Can Positive Culture Help Retain More Healthcare Staff?

Creating a positive company culture can be a powerful tool for addressing these challenges and retaining valuable employees. Though it isn’t an easy feat to accomplish, here are a few tips to get you started in increasing employee retention.

  • Prioritize work-life balance: Offer flexible scheduling options, predictable work hours, and adequate time off to help employees manage their personal lives alongside their demanding careers. It’s important to mention that days off need to be days off. Don’t call your employee in to fill a gap in your schedule. Even though this can seem like the most cost-effective solution, partnering with a PRN staffing agency can oftentimes save employers money in the long run, and it will give your staff time to rest.
  • Invest in employee well-being: Implement programs that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as stress management workshops, access to mental health resources, and employee recognition programs. Recognizing employees is a fun and cost-effective way to increase employee retention. From flowers on their work anniversary to gift cards to their favorite restaurants, these are great ways to show your employees that you care about them and appreciate all of the hard work they do.
  • Foster open communication: Encourage open communication between employees and management, creating a safe space for voicing concerns and seeking feedback. Having an open-door policy is one thing, but going the extra mile by making the changes necessary for your staff to be happy will make all of the difference in increasing employee retention in healthcare.
  • Provide growth opportunities: Invest in professional development opportunities, including training, tuition reimbursement, and mentorship programs, allowing employees to progress in their careers.
  • Offer competitive compensation and benefits: Regularly review and adjust compensation packages to stay competitive with the market. Offer comprehensive benefits that cater to the specific needs of healthcare workers, like childcare assistance and wellness programs. Remember, you don’t always have to be the leader of your industry, but being in the back of the pack definitely won’t help with your employee retention.

5 Free Ways to Boost Employee Retention

Employee retention doesn’t have to be a complete cost pit. Here are some free ways for you to help boost employee morale, and support a healthier workplace culture.

  1. Random acts of recognition: Implement a program for random acts of recognition, where colleagues anonymously praise each other’s contributions, boosting morale and creating a supportive environment. Read submissions at the beginning of each shift to remind all of your employees people are looking for ways to appreciate them.
  2. Promote from within: When employees know that their company promotes from within, they are more likely to stick around because they know it increases their chances to move up in their industry.
  3. Host a potluck: Encourage all of your employees to bring their favorite foods and share them with all of your staff members! This is a great way for employees to show off their culinary skills and encourages interaction between departments.
  4. Flexible work arrangements: Being flexible is one of the easiest ways to retain employees. Understanding everyone has a life outside of work, and being able to be flexible to changing schedules is a great way to retain good employees.
  5. Offer more training: A great training program and a continued training program allow employees to grow professionally while also improving some of their personal skills. This is another awesome way to invest in your employees by empowering them to be the best that they can be.

See also: 5 Ways PRN Staff Brings Flexibility to Your Workforce

Retaining a skilled and dedicated workforce is crucial for the success of any healthcare organization. By prioritizing employee well-being, offering growth opportunities, and creating a positive and supportive work environment, healthcare organizations can effectively combat turnover and ensure they have the dedicated workforce they need to deliver exceptional patient care.

By promoting a positive culture that values its employees, the healthcare industry can begin to address the employee retention crisis and ensure the well-being of both its staff and its patients.

What we do

Allied Healthcare & Nurse Staffing Services

Founded in 1988, Cascade Health Services is a leading healthcare and nurse staffing agency in the United States. More than 2,500 nurses, nurse aides and allied health professionals work with Cascade across the nation. We are hiring RN, LPN, LVN, CNA, CMA, CMT and other healthcare professionals for immediate Travel, Contract and PRN jobs in Nursing Homes, Long Term Care Centers, Skilled Nursing Facilities, Assisted Living, Rehabilitation Centers and Hospitals.