How to Reduce Turnover While Increasing Healthcare Employee Retention
by Susan Katz, on Aug 12, 2021 8:15:00 AM
Read Time: 5 minutes
The healthcare industry has been experiencing record-high employee turnover rates, and it’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has seriously contributed this problem. From increasing the likelihood of employee burnout to exposing weak supply chains, these pre-existing issues were unapologetically put on display. The costs of employee turnover in healthcare are wince-worthy. And with that, 2021 is the year to rein this in and work on your employee retention strategy. The first step in preparing for future success and strategy development is to fully understand the root causes of employee turnover.
What is the National Average Cost of Employee Turnover in Healthcare?
In a national survey conducted by NSi Nursing Solutions published in their 2021 Annual National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report, the average yearly cost of just registered nurse (RN) turnover ranges between $3.6 to $6.5 million. A significant driver in the costs include the inevitable dependency on travel RNs due to increased vacancy, where open positions can sometimes be left unfilled for over 100 days. The cost of utilizing travel RNs in lieu of residential nurses add up fast, and given the commitment the job requires because of travel, they are more expensive to employ. To make matters worse, the pandemic caused such extreme burnout that many residential RNs either opted to become travel nurses or left the industry completely, leading to a nursing shortage and even harder to fill open positions.
What are the Top Drivers of Healthcare Worker Turnover?
Based on the findings of Recycle Intelligence, Psychiatry Online Organization, and NSi Nursing Solutions, recurring themes include:
- Inefficiency in the resource supply chain: Workers often become frustrated when resource constraints or tedious documentation processes inhibit them from performing their jobs to the best of their ability and foster burnout.
- Unsafe working environments: The highest turnover is seen in nurses employed at psychiatric or emergency services. Due to the nature of these environments, there are significantly higher cases of aggravated encounters between patient and worker.
- Lack of employee engagement: Workers will feel under-appreciated or unmotivated when management doesn’t address voiced concerns, establish goals and responsibilities, or breed a healthy work culture.
- Inadequate recruitment or retention strategies: Healthcare providers are not putting enough effort into nourishing their current workforce and are not efficient enough in locating talent.
As mentioned, COVID-19 resulted in extreme cases of patient volume, but understaffing and a lack of resources were prevalent long before the pandemic. While at first these top four healthcare employee turnover drivers may appear uncorrelated, many of these issues stem from supply chain inefficiency and the accompanying time-consuming and outdated processes. According to a 2021 study of 50 hospitals conducted by Syft, 85% of RNs claimed they faced challenges in the documenting process of supplies and treatments, and of this pool, 80% blamed it on the lack of automation.
With simultaneous responsibilities for multiple patients, any inefficiency in the provision of care rapidly leads to serious burnout. The reality is that resolving these issues will require a de-emphasis on process-specific efficiency and a completely re-designed operating workflow. In other words, there are too many specific processes to focus on individually, and thus, finding a powerful solution is going to need a holistic approach to actualize results.
What are Some Healthcare Employee Retention Strategies?
Well, for starters, IT utilization is key.
Pairing your revised process flows with modern software, including predictive analytics and a robust business management platform will not only help reduce resource constraints, but also improve the efficiency of treatment. With that, current IT capabilities can offer many solutions critical to high performance. In regards to healthcare employee burnout, IT can utilized data analytics to predict busy seasons, allowing for proper preparation of talent and resources, as well as automation capabilities to reduce the time required for documentation. Other IT capabilities that can address the top drivers in healthcare employee turnover include effective recruiting platforms, employee engagement solutions, and case management processing.
On a final note, as automation and IT solutions can be utilized to reduce turnover, they also improve the patient experience through digital transformation in healthcare. Better services result in greater trust and loyalty to healthcare establishments, resulting in a larger clientele and increased revenue.
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