Employee retention is becoming one of the most important issues for many healthcare organizations. We’ve combed through our current employee engagement eBook to find a few (among many) best practices you should put to work to hold on to your valuable staff.
Provide opportunities for individuals to grow professionally through development and career opportunities within the organization. Providing your healthcare workforce with meaningful professional development opportunities can actually increase retention. In a national nursing survey, 64% of nurses who planned on leaving their current employer within the next three years said they would consider staying if the facility offered more professional development opportunities.
Conducting an annual checkup on the organization by using a comprehensive employee engagement survey helps to identify areas of strength and risk and ensure positive cultural health. Providing a platform for continual communication and feedback is also important to keep leadership and managers in touch with shifting attitudes, emerging challenges and demands, and potential risks. For example, pulse surveys or quick polls of representative groups within your facility can act as early warning devices to identify key issues before they take root and start spreading throughout your organization.
Managers need to encourage ongoing, two-way dialogue that gets to the heart of what is motivating and frustrating an individual, what is enabling them, and what is holding them back. Such dialogue is the only way for a manager to understand what motivates each individual employee and to effectively tailor opportunities to meet their needs. Managers can’t assume they know these answers, and it’s too late to ask when a critical employee leaves.
Recognition and Rewards
There are many ways in which you can recognize and reward your top performers. Underscoring their value by asking them to contribute more in support of your organizational goals and objectives can have a long-lasting impact and can reinforce positive behaviors in your culture. Some hospitals are asking nurses to mentor others in their area of expertise, develop training modules for new hires, or participate on quality improvement initiatives and leadership teams. Such opportunities to contribute elevate an individual’s profile outside his or her unit or department, and give employees the opportunity to have an impact on the organization beyond the normal, day-to-day responsibilities.
Goals are extremely important. Too often organizations say that engagement and retention are important to them, but they don’t set goals for them. Imagine if a company did not set goals for sales or service. Of course they set goals for these top-5 metrics. However, we tend to think if we can just improve engagement and retention or beat a benchmark we are doing our jobs well. Benchmarks are problematic with engagement and retention because benchmarks mean average. We tend to be happy if we are average or a little bit better, but average means mediocre. Also, most organizations don’t know how to manage engagement and retention, so we are comparing ourselves to an ineffective pool of companies.
Efforts to retain your best employees should begin with your very first interaction with them as job candidates and continue through their entire lifecycle. It takes an intentional and tireless pursuit of their engagement through active listening, positive reinforcement, and opportunities for growth and contribution. Investing in your high performers and the tools that help facilitate and improve your retention strategy will keep you ahead of the negative influences that cause turnover, so your best employees stay your best employees.
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