With a growing senior citizen and medically complex population, the demand for healthcare professionals is increasing faster than it can be met. In fact, 2.3 million new healthcare workers will be needed in the field by 2025 according to CNN Business.
In light of this shortage and the expanding needs, retention of qualified existing healthcare staff is absolutely essential. A recent study by CompData Surveys as reported by Becker’s Hospital Review found that turnover in healthcare jobs in 2017 was 20.6%, up from 15.6% in previous years.
What are some of the factors leading to high staff turnover in the healthcare setting and what can be done to better improve healthcare employee retention? We’ve broken down common challenges to healthcare retention and possible solutions.
There can be a perceived disconnect between the staffing agency and the healthcare worker, as their respective roles are not always fully understood by the opposite party. The healthcare worker has spent years achieving the education required to be qualified in this role, and may believe that the agency staff does not understand the challenges of their job, the risk involved, and the heavy responsibility that they bear.
Likewise, the employment agency worker has their own unique challenges, as well as a knowledge of the inner workings of the agency and the healthcare facilities that the medical professional may not be aware of.
Solution: Communication between the agent and employee should be open, allowing employees to voice their concerns and preferences. It should not be assumed that every employee is comfortable working in every role even if they may meet the qualifications. When hesitation is voiced about accepting a particular assignment, the employee should not be coerced into committing, but should be allowed the freedom of choosing work that fits their needs in a non-judgmental way.
Meeting the scheduling needs of both the employee and the facility is a carefully choreographed dance, one that takes meticulous care to appease both parties. Some individuals must adhere to a strict schedule due to family or educational demands. They simply cannot change their workday at a moments notice, and this must be noted and respected in order to not cause unnecessary frustration from endless phone calls and requests for more availability.
Others are looking for every opportunity to pick up an extra shift and eagerly waiting for a call. Ensure that employees are neither over nor underworked, and that good employees are not lost due to scheduling issues.
Solution: Work towards excellent record keeping by agency staff and implement multiple methods of contact on hand such as phone, text, and email to satisfy both the employee and the facility. Check back in periodically with employees to verify that their current schedule is satisfactory and to assess if any changes need to be made.
Being an agency healthcare worker has, along with its perks, the unfortunate stigma of not being part of the medical facility team. This can lead to conflict between employee and facility management.
Solution: Ask for feedback from the employee about their satisfaction with the work environment and ensure they are receiving what they need to succeed professionally. If the agent does perceive that there is an issue, communicating this promptly to a liaison at the facility could make a huge difference in retaining the employee at the facility. Even if resolution is not reached, if the employee feels that they were carefully dealt with by the agency, they are more likely to accept other assignments with the same agency.
Over the course of the year, employees will hear co-workers discuss their pay and bonuses received. For the agency worker, they may feel that they are being left behind or feel under-appreciated if annual reviews and pay increases are not discussed by the agency.
Solution: Upon hiring, communicate opportunities for pay increases and other job benefits. Periodically, and at least annually, these should be reiterated and feedback should be taken from the employee to ascertain satisfaction with current pay rate. If the employee feels that they have not been forgotten, their work is appreciated, and that there are opportunities for remuneration, they will more likely stay in their current position.
When healthcare professionals are supported by understanding employers, both the employees and the facility will flourish. This benefits not only the facilities they work for, but the vast patient populations they care for as well.
Atlantic Group is a recruitment agency that specializes in matching qualified healthcare professionals with top healthcare facilities and organizations Atlantic Group Recruiters is committed to bettering approaches to healthcare employee placement and retention. Contact us today.