Industry Insights in Healthcare

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Strategies to Reduce Healthcare Employee Turnover Rates

In: Industry Insights

Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2023 @ 4:01pm

Strategies to Reduce Healthcare Employee Turnover Rates

How to Increase Your Entry-Level Healthcare Staff’s Desire to Stay

A 2022 study found that the turnover rate for lower-wage healthcare roles, such as aides and assistants, was four times higher than for physicians.1 Finding ways to reduce high turnover rates for these roles can help contribute to smoother business operations while also decreasing expenses related to the continual hiring and training of new staff. As your partner in healthcare staffing, UMA would love to help you achieve this goal. Here are a few strategies to consider.

Conduct Exit Interviews (and Act on the Information Learned)

It’s difficult to reduce high turnover rates if you’re not sure what is causing staff members to leave in mass amounts. Conducting exit interviews can help shed light on the reasons your healthcare employees are searching for jobs elsewhere. Once you’re able to identify some common themes – such as if a large number of staff members feel overworked or if they perceive management as being uncaring or ineffective – these issues can be addressed to help reduce other staff members’ desire to leave due to the same reasons.

When conducting exit interviews, Indeed recommends:2

• Holding these interviews in private, preferably in a comfortable environment, but also seeking permission to share the exiting employee’s thoughts and concerns with management while holding their identity confidential.
• Asking the leaving employee to respond to a written survey first, which can help you get more honest responses while also giving you things to talk about during the in-person exit interview.
• Seeking to understand what has caused the employee to leave, asking clarifying questions if necessary to get to the root of their decision.

During an exit interview, you might ask why they have chosen to leave, where they feel your company can improve, or if they’re aware if other are staff members are having the same concerns. The more information you can collect, the easier it becomes to identify what is behind a high turnover rate, then take action to resolve these prominent issues.

Talk to Longer-Term Healthcare Employees Too

Just as it is important to understand what is causing a larger-than-desired number of your employees to want to leave, it is equally critical to know what makes others decide to stay. So, in addition to taking the time to talk to staff who are leaving (or have already left), also make it a point to talk to loyal employees who have been with the company or organization for years.

Ask your loyal, long-term employees what they enjoy about their jobs or what drives them to continue to show up day after day. What is it that makes them choose to stay when they could go elsewhere if they wanted? Their answers can provide insight into things that your organization is doing well, which are areas you may want to focus on with new staff.
Since these employees have been with you for a while, it can also be helpful to ask their input as to where you can improve to help reduce turnover rates. What do they see as the biggest pain points with new hires, for instance? Going one step further, how do they think that these issues can be addressed? Use their knowledge and experience to help guide you as you work to create an effective solution.

Be Realistic About the Downsides of the Job

Turnover rates tend to highest for newly hired employees, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), usually because their expectations are out of line with the job’s requirements.3 Put another way, their idea of what the position entails doesn’t match what they experience once they’re hired.

To help reduce this effect, SHRM recommends that you be transparent with candidates about the realities of working in the open job role if the candidate is hired. Help prospects understand what it’s like to be in that position day after day – including the good parts, the bad parts, and the ugly parts of the job.

Keeping an interviewee’s expectations more realistic may reduce their desire to leave once hired due to not fully understanding what their workday would be like. This includes also being honest about other issues they may face once hired, such as if it’s hard to get time off or if mandatory overtime is often required.

While you may risk losing the applicant during the interview stages, this can also prevent you from hiring someone who winds up being unable to accept the job “as is,” ultimately costing more time and money to replace them after they’ve already been brought on board.

Focus on Being Proactive vs Reactive

The best time to solve a problem is before it even starts. Therefore, instead of taking a wait-and-see approach to determine what issues or factors may increase your employee turnover rates, be more proactive. Seek to identify any potential problem areas and address them before they have the opportunity to lead to a mass staff exodus.

For example, if you’re considering changing your staff’s work schedules, pay attention to what the employees are saying about this potential switch. Is there a lot of unhappy or negative buzz about the different work hours or longer days, even if it means greater flexibility or more days off? If so, you may want to consider whether making your desired change could lead to unintended consequences.

Another way to increase your proactivity is to create an environment in which staff feel comfortable going to management when an issue first arises. This can help your healthcare organization deal with a potential problem when it is small and still manageable versus letting it fester until it becomes so big and troublesome that employees feel that the only way to resolve it is to walk away completely.

Implementing strategies such as these may help reduce high turnover rates within your healthcare organization or facility. It can also be beneficial to hire the right talent in the first place, which is why the next article in this six-piece series focuses on how to attract top healthcare talent (even in a high-demand market). At UMA, we’re here to help with your healthcare employee-related issues and concerns!

1 Frogner BK, Dill JS. Tracking Turnover Among Health Care Workers During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Health Forum.

2 Indeed Career Guide. 6 Steps for Conducting an Exit Interview.

3 Tyler K. How to Ride the Great Resignation Wave. SHRM.

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