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Beyond Gift Bags: 3 Healthcare Employee Retention Strategies Your Staff is Asking For

Want to keep healthcare staff happy and create a safer, more productive work environment? Get started with these three strategies for better staff retention.

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While demand for healthcare services increases, so do the demands on healthcare employees.

Aside from general burnout from high-stress jobs, healthcare workers — especially those who worked through the height of the pandemic and beyond — have had to endure overwhelming challenges. 

As a healthcare practice owner, you’re undoubtedly striving to retain your facility’s staff. 

Here’s the thing: No number of staff appreciation lunches or stress reduction seminars will provide a safer, more fulfilling work environment for these essential workers. 

While some feel empowered to ask their supervisors for things like manageable workloads and higher wages, others are taking to sites like Reddit to express their dissatisfaction with the state of the healthcare industry.

Ultimately, they want to see that leadership is listening and turning feedback into action.

Here are some tangible ways you can retain healthcare employees and increase the facility’s profitability.

1. Reduce staff-to-patient ratios

Though specific to staff who provide direct patient care, lowering provider-to-patient ratios is vital to your facility’s success.

Not only does keeping ratios low ratios allow staff to give higher quality care to patients, but it also helps lower turnover and operational costs

While it can be hard to keep ratios low if people are jumping ship quickly, prioritizing your existing staff’s wellbeing can help keep them at your facility longer, which may reduce your recruitment costs.

2. Increase hourly rates

From benefits to flexibility, many factors influence an employee’s motivation to stay in a job. But after working through a global pandemic in a high stress industry, healthcare workers are asking for higher wages.

“Though hazard pay won’t eliminate our professional risk,” wrote Dr. Sandeep Jauhar in a New York Times essay, “it will serve as a concrete and much-needed demonstration of appreciation to the doctors, nurses, respiratory technicians and other workers who continue to put their lives — and the health of their families — on the line for the public good.”

Nurses, for example, have recognized that the only way to receive wages in line with a higher cost of living is to take positions as PRNs or travel nurses — which increases labor costs for hospitals and other places that employ RNs

Some healthcare professionals may even accept positions at other facilities when their employers can’t meet their salary needs.

3. Listen to their concerns

You may be taking your staff’s feedback to heart, but do they know that? 

According to a 2021 Workforce Institute survey, one out of four healthcare employees don’t feel heard at work.

You can show your staff that you hear their concerns and are acting on them by sending updates on your progress. 

For example, if employees are messaging you about needing a more flexible paid time off policy, create a plan based on their needs and make sure everyone receives a copy of it. 

Or maybe your department leads are telling you that employees don’t have a clear idea of how they can move up in their careers. Work with the department leads to develop career planning maps, and send them to employees so they know what they’re working toward.

The key in situations like these is to not only come up with solutions, but to also clearly communicate your plans to staff members.

The three strategies above aren’t the only ways to make employees feel valued, but they’re helpful starting places for leadership that wants to increase staff retention rates and create a safer, healthier work environment for their employees.

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