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Recruiting and Retaining Healthcare Workers

In healthcare, turnover can be all too common. And the toll – both in terms of money and productivity – really adds up.

Consider the high turnover rates and employee replacement costs for nurses.  Even though turnover for nurses decreased from 2015 to 2016, the numbers are still eye-opening: 14.6% for bedside nurses and 24.6% for certified nursing assistants, according to a 2017 research report from NSI Nursing Solutions. Moreover, because of the high cost of recruiting new employees and training them, each nursing turnover costs a medical institution $38,900 to $59,700 per position on average.

Demand for Healthcare Professionals

Increased demand in the healthcare field has brought about opportunities for professionals to leave one employer and join another.

The job outlook for registered nurses from 2014 to 2024 is 16%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For physicians and surgeons, the job outlook over the same period is 14%; for medical and health services managers, it’s 17%. All of these rates are considered faster than the national average for all job types (7%).

The BLS attributes increased demand for healthcare professionals to be related to the aging Baby Boomer population. As this demographic group grows older, their healthcare needs will likely increase.

Getting Employees in the Door

One way to find employees is to market yourself as a desirable workplace to potential employees. Think about what healthcare professionals want in a workplace, and craft a message that differentiates your organization from other employers. This message is called your employer brand, and it’s just as valuable as the consumer brand you use to market your organization to healthcare customers.

Employee recruitment software firm Recruiting.com says a strong employer brand includes three elements:

  • A sense of urgency and excitement
  • Both a practical and emotional appeal
  • Compelling reasons to work for you

Keep in mind the generational differences between healthcare employees. Millennials, in particular, are more interested in non-compensation-based rewards than Generation X or Baby Boomers, according to a 2015 report by HealthcareSource and the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration.

Another way to recruit qualified candidates is by encouraging referrals from people you already know and trust: your current employees. The Society for Human Resource Management points out that “Employee-referred new hires tend to be better performers than non-employee referred new hires and to stay with their organizations longer. Employee referral programs are also more cost-effective than other recruiting strategies and often are the fastest way to find external talent.”

Keeping Your Employees

One way you can take to improve employee retention is to create an environment where people want to work. While money will always be important to workers, there’s mounting evidence that people also appreciate culture and relationships. A 2014 Glassdoor survey shows that 66% of healthcare professionals would actually work for less money if the employer had a great culture.

Another idea is to build a workplace where healthcare professionals feel they can develop their career. Digital advertising agency Contrast Creative says that a formal training and career development program “increases job satisfaction and loyalty,” and sends a strong signal that you want staff to stay and grow within the organization. “Employees need to clearly see their place in the sun so they can take root and grow with your hospital.”

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