Healthcare workers are leaving in droves. Stress stemming from the workforce shortages has driven them away in droves, among other factors. Because of the increased turnover, facilities are now scrambling to retain their best talent. Successfully retaining the best HCPs requires the right strategies, philosophies, and approaches. These tactics need to address the core issues that are causing HCPs to leave the industries, in droves. To help you out, we have listed a number of these key strategies.
Increase observation of safety protocols
The importance of observing health and safety protocols cannot be understated. HCPs expose themselves to potential diseases on a daily basis. The patients they are expected to care for can be prone to violent, sudden outbursts, thanks to their condition and circumstances. On top of this, HCPs often carry and transfer surprisingly heavy loads– from equipment to the patients themselves. Thanks to all of this, injury and sickness are all too common in the HCP world.
Research has shown that healthcare workers are more prone to injury and illness while performing their daily tasks than other workers. Exposure to biohazards, draining while carrying heavy objects, and standing on their feet all day are cited as the most common causes for concern, among other things, If HCPs continue to be subjected to such conditions, they are more likely to leave their positions altogether or, worst-case scenario, sue the facilities for malpractice. On every level, facilities have an obligation to promote and educate their HCPs on safety protocols.
Provide options for schedule flexibility
The new generation of healthcare workers has different priorities. As much as possible, they want to avoid the long hours that have burned out so many HCPs in the past. These healthcare workers want the freedom to set their hours and create work schedules. This allows them to fulfil their duties while making time for their personal lives and loved ones. While you still need full-time licensed healthcare workers, at all times, you want to provide your best HCPs with options to opt into more work-life balance and schedule flexibility.
There are different ways to approach this. Some facilities have turned to remote work options for certain HCPs, so they can fulfil their duties from the comfort of their own homes. While powerful, this (understandably) cannot apply to every single HCP in the facility. Other services have created a “float pool” of healthcare workers that move between multiple healthcare facilities, based on changing demand. If possible, facilities should also look into providing more schedule flexibility on their end. Allowing certain employees to choose which weekends they work, or letting them request which days on a scheduled period they work are also good ideas. This cannot apply for the entire work week, but this gives HCPs control over a part of their schedule.
Promote and encourage diversity
Unfortunately, discriminatory practices continue to persist in healthcare spaces. HCPs and patients with different gender orientations, races, or socioeconomic backgrounds are commonly subject to microaggressions, unfair treatment, or outright bigotry. For example: In 1 out of 8 US states, it is perfectly legal to withhold treatment from LGBTQ+ patients entirely, on the grounds of religious beliefs. There are many excellent HCPs who happen to belong in these minority groups. If this kind of environment continues, they will be driven away from the industry in no time.
Facilities have a responsibility to promote a culture of diversity and acceptance. Both must be points that you highlight in your core values and job orientations. Celebrate occasions like Black History Month, Pride Month, and Juneteenth with an appropriate level of sensitivity and enthusiasm. If you recognize a good number of your workforce comes from a certain cultural background, you can even host a potluck which highlights dishes from said culture. By fostering this culture of acceptance, you make your HCPs feel safe and wanted. When they feel that their employers are behind them, no matter what, they are less likely to leave on these grounds.
Offer financial support
On top of being incredibly demanding, healthcare education is also incredibly pricey. In 2022, it was estimated that 76% of HCP graduates faced an average student debt of $189,000. These financial issues, compounded by the rigors of daily HCP work, can lead to unwanted stress that drives promising HCPs out of the industry altogether. Many facilities offer reimbursement for student tuition fees, for HCPs and students alike. There are even options for currently employed HCPs to receive tuition assistance, while they pursue higher education.
With this assistance, facility HCPs can focus squarely on their studies and tasks, without having to worry about financial issues. Helping students also allows hospitals to bolster their workforce with new talent, in the not-so-distant future. By helping with their tuition, hospitals retain their licensed healthcare professionals better while facilitating their development. In the future, these HCPs will be even better and will have more to contribute.
Show HCPs they are appreciated
HCPs across all levels do not feel like they are properly appreciated, and it is hard not to see why. Everyday, they deal with lashings out from patients that often do not possess all their facilities. Certain nurse managers or administrators will criticize them harshly, without praising their work or taking into account their feedback or concerns. Above everything else, feeling underappreciated is the biggest motivator behind this ongoing wave of HCP turnover. It causes HCPs to move to different industries where their work will be recognized by more appreciative leaders.
Healthcare leaders have a responsibility to make HCPs feel appreciated and seen. One common way this is accomplished is by hosting workplace surveys. This signals that you care about their safety and contentment, and you want to hear suggestions directly from them. Increasing pay is another fantastic way to increase retention among your most deserving HCPs. There is arguably no clearer signal that you appreciate and see what they have done for the organization.