With growth in the healthcare industry, the biggest issue facing U.S. hospitals isn’t discovering the next cure or caring for patients—it’s finding and retaining great employees. A recent survey of more than 300 industry executives found that 74% of respondents believe their organization needs to place a larger emphasis on talent acquisition and retention. Retaining employees is not only cost-effective, but it also adds continuity to your treatment, which can lead to higher-quality patient care. How is that possible in a competitive and ever-changing hospital environment? Here are four ways hospitals can increase their talent pool and retention:
1. Ensure Competitive Benefits
The hard truth is that oftentimes keeping the best employees comes down to money. Two of the most common strategies hospitals use to retain their best employees are improving pay and increasing compensation packages. Some hospitals are hesitant to do this because of budget restrictions, but in theory, the best employees can see the highest number of patients and bring in more money to the hospital, which makes the money spent on employee salary worth the cost. Reward good patient care and work performance with bonuses or raises by using a mix of anecdotal and numerical indicators—an insurance representative who makes it through a certain number of claims could be rewarded, as can a nurse who consistently gets great patient reviews.
2. Support New Hires
A hospital can be a busy and stressful environment, especially for a new employee. An employee who has a difficult time adapting or who isn’t given the resources to understand and thrive in her new environment is more likely to look for a new position, while someone who feels connected and valued is more likely to last longer and contribute more. Bring in current employees to answer questions during the interview process and offer applicants an inside look at life in the hospital. Connect new employees with co-workers and department heads who can show them the ropes and help them feel like part of the team. An assigned mentor can help with the training process and point out the culture and procedures of the hospital.
3. Offer Growth and Learning Opportunities
By its nature, healthcare is a fluid industry, and hospital employees tend to want to keep learning and growing by applying their skills to new areas. Many employees leave an organization because they don’t see any opportunities for advancement. Set the example that hard work leads to promotions and advancement—when an employee sees a colleague be rewarded for hard work, they are more likely to work harder and see that advancement is possible. You can also be flexible with additional learning opportunities. If an employee wants to take a course that will give him skills to be better at his job, such as medical transcription training, work that into his schedule and encourage other employees to do the same program. Many hospitals reimburse employees to attend industry conferences and offer bonuses to employees who earn certain certifications.
4. Create Efficient Processes
No industry is without its red tape and bureaucracy, but hospitals tend to have large amounts of rules and paperwork, which can be stifling to employees. While these processes and regulations likely have a strong purpose, look for ways to streamline them to make things easier for your staff, such as through automated systems or sharing patient information between departments. Healthcare professionals didn’t join the field because they love filling out paperwork, they did it because they want to help people. Providing ways for employees to focus on the core responsibilities of their jobs increases efficiency and boosts employee morale, which can encourage great employees to stick around. Removing unnecessary steps in various processes can also greatly decrease waste within the hospital and lead to increased profits.
There isn’t one answer to finding and keeping the best hospital talent. In fact, most hospitals use a combination of these techniques to create an atmosphere that is welcoming, rewarding, and exciting for employees while still providing excellent patient care. To find what works best in your hospital, choose a few techniques to implement and test the results. As the industry continues to change, the methods for employee retention will likely evolve, as well.