How to Create a Workplace that Boosts Employee Retention
A record number of U.S. employees quit their jobs in 2021, with November holding the most voluntary separations recorded since data was first collected in December 2000 at 4.5 million.1 Of those quits, 626,000 involved workers in the healthcare and social assistance industries.2 This type of mass exodus is placing a major strain on healthcare agencies, making it important to find ways to boost employee retention and make your organization more “Great Resignation-Proof.”
5 Ways to “Great Resignation-Proof” Your Healthcare Business
While you can’t stop every employee from quitting and walking away from their healthcare job, there are several things you can do to help them reconsider this decision. Here are five to consider.
Reduce the Risk of Burnout
After analyzing survey responses from 20,947 healthcare workers, it was found that 49% of them had burnout.3 The positions experiencing the most stress were nursing assistants, medical assistants, and social workers. Stress scores were also higher among employees working in inpatient settings versus outpatient settings, as well as in female healthcare staff and persons of color.
Interestingly, this study also found that if the individuals surveyed felt valued by their organizations, their risk of burnout was reduced by 40%. So, that begs the question: How can you help an employee feel more valued, potentially reducing the risk that they’ll feel burnt out and want to leave their job?
One option is to create an employee recognition program. Highlight staff members that consistently go above and beyond in the workplace. Celebrate the efforts of entire departments or teams to show them that you value their skills and contributions. Although this type of recognition won’t necessarily reduce their workload, it can help that load feel easier to bear because they know that their efforts are both seen and appreciated by their employer.
Strive to Increase Employee Job Satisfaction
Some suggest that one of the driving forces behind the Great Resignation is a lack of job satisfaction. Admittedly, job satisfaction was an issue within healthcare roles long before the Great Resignation, as cited by a 2012 study finding that 24% of hospital nurses were dissatisfied with their jobs.4 Fast forward to 2020 and, when asked about the impact of the pandemic on their levels of job satisfaction, 60% of nurses said they were interested in finding new work.5
Several factors contribute to elevated job satisfaction levels, with one of the most notable being employee engagement – sometimes referred to as satisfaction engagement.6 The more an employee feels engaged in their role, the more satisfied they are with their job. Additionally, some of the top motivators for employee engagement are feeling listened to by company leaders, feeling that the leaders are trustworthy, and adequate opportunities for worker development and promotion.
These findings suggest that, to a certain degree, job satisfaction starts at the top. It involves creating a leadership team that does what they say and listens to their staff. Promoting from within and offering training to help employees develop their skills can be beneficial as well.
Another strategy for reducing the number of quits and resignations in your healthcare organization involves promoting inclusiveness. Inclusiveness means making sure every employee has the same level of access to both opportunities and internal resources, and that they are all comfortable within the work environment.
Studies have found “significant direct associations” between inclusion and leader engagement, as well as innovation – the latter of which is also directly related to improved job satisfaction and perceived quality of care.7
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) provides several actionable steps for building a more inclusive workplace. They include:8
- Creating policies and procedures that support diversity and inclusion.
- Removing all identifying information from resumes so no unconscious biases can come into play.
- Forming a group dedicated to promoting and/or protecting workplace inclusiveness.
- Celebrating your employees’ backgrounds and traditions, such as by providing a meditation or prayer room for employees from cultures who engage in prayer regularly throughout the day.
- Providing flexible schedules for employees to practice their religion of choice without having it impact their pay.
Offer Out-of-the-Box Benefits
Some healthcare employees leave their posts because they want higher pay, more vacation or other time off, or better insurance benefits. From an employer’s perspective, these types of benefits can greatly increase costs – especially for a larger company with a lot of staff.
If you can’t compete in these areas, that doesn’t mean that you can’t increase your appeal to employees and prospective employees in other ways. It just requires thinking outside the box sometimes to come up with nontraditional perks that can help make employees want to come and stay.
Hold a brainstorming session and see what types of benefits you can offer that extend beyond the norm. Ideas to consider include:
- Providing free food and drink in the break room.
- Bringing in a massage therapist regularly to give staff a relaxing break.
- Letting employees “dress down” or wear their favorite team apparel one day per week.
- Giving a couple of extra paid hours off around the holidays or on their birthday.
- Providing remote employees a stipend for their at-home work expenses.
- Giving access to programs that promote their wellness in other areas, such as financial success programs or pieces of training about how to reduce stress.
- Assistance with paying off student debt.
Ask What Employees Want (And Listen to the Answer)
Every healthcare facility is different. Therefore, in addition to implementing some of the suggestions above, it’s also important to consider what would help improve employee retention in your workplace specifically. An easy way to come up with some suggestions is to ask your employees what they want and truly listen to their answers.
Everyone is motivated by different things. So, there is no one-size-fits-all way to make your business Great Resignation-proof. Instead, it’s more a matter of discovering what is making some of your staff consider leaving and what makes them want to stay. Addressing the issues that may be increasing your organization’s quit rate is a good first step to turning this trend around.
You can do this by sending a survey to staff and letting them provide insight anonymously. Another option is to have your leaders meet with their staff members one-on-one to learn more about where job satisfaction issues may lie as well as come up with ways to resolve them. Give unhappy employees the opportunity to share their concerns, then take active steps to address them in a way that is meaningful and makes them feel valued.
UMA – Your Partner in Employee Hiring and Retention
At Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA), we strive to help our healthcare partners find and keep top employees. As your partner in employee hiring and retention, we like to provide information to help you create a workplace that inspires happiness and longevity. If there are any other ways we can help, let us know. We’ll do what we can to help reduce your effects during this Great Resignation.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Number of Quits at All-Time High in November 2021. https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/number-of-quits-at-all-time-high-in-november-2021.htm
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Quits Levels and Rates by Industry and Region, Seasonally Adjusted. https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.t04.htm
3 Prasad K, McLoughlin C, Stillman M, et al. Prevalence and Correlates of Stress and Burnout Among U.S. Healthcare Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A National Cross-Sectional Survey Study. eClinical Medicine. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(21)00159-0/fulltext
4 McHugh M, Kutney-Lee A, Cimiotti J, et al. Nurses’ Widespread Job Dissatisfaction, Burnout, and Frustration with Health Benefits Signal Problems for Patient Care. Health Affairs. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201822/
5 Wolters Kluwer. Measuring the Impact of COVID-19 on Job Satisfaction and Professional Growth in Nursing. https://www.wolterskluwer.com/en/expert-insights/measuring-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-job-satisfaction-and-professional-growth-in-nursing
6 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Workplace Health Promotion. Engaging Employees to Bring Their Best to Work. https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/initiatives/resource-center/case-studies/engaging-employees.html
7 Brimhall K. Inclusion is Important…But How Do I Include? Examining the Effects of Leader Engagement on Inclusion, Innovation, Job Satisfaction, and Perceived Quality of Care in a Diverse Nonprofit Health Care Organization. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0899764019829834
8 SHRM. Viewpoint: How to Create a More Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Workplace. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/promoting-diversity-equity-and-inclusion.aspx