Strategies to Improve Employee Retention in Healthcare

October 13, 2022

High employee turnover rates have significant consequences for healthcare organizations. When talented nurses and other clinical staff leave at high rates, it strains budgets due to perpetually high recruiting and onboarding costs. It also leads to poor nurse-to-patient ratios when positions sit vacant, which negatively impacts the quality of care. This can also cause nurse burnout, as the remaining staff absorbs the extra workload. Ultimately, these dynamics impair a health system's ability to deliver on its mission.

While some turnover is natural to any organization, a high rate of turnover undoubtedly hurts workplace culture and goals. Therefore, employee retention should be a top priority. With all-encompassing solutions from Health Carousel, it can be.

Let's explore the importance of employee retention and what your team can do to keep top talent.

Why is Employee Retention Vital in Healthcare Staffing?

Employee retention in healthcare staffing is important for many reasons. Primarily, retaining employees creates consistency and stability, which improves the efficiency and efficacy of healthcare services. For an organization to render exceptional patient care, a stable workforce is vital. Retained employees, due to their familiarity with the system, offer more value compared to new hires, who require time and training to become fully functional.

Moreover, employee retention in healthcare staffing helps maintain a positive work atmosphere. Regular turnover can lead to a negative work environment, significantly affecting the morale of employees and, in turn, the quality of patient care. A stable workforce contributes to building a solid team of dedicated professionals who can work together seamlessly.

Besides, the process of sourcing, hiring, and training new staff involves considerable resources, both in terms of money and time. Therefore, a high turnover rate can only increase these human resource management costs, placing an unnecessary financial burden on the healthcare organization.

What are the Costs and Consequences of High Turnover Rates in Healthcare?

High turnover rates in healthcare staffing can have significant costs and consequences, including:

  • High Labor Costs: The costs associated with employee turnover are substantial. These can range from recruitment expenses (advertising positions, conducting interviews, running background checks) to orientation and training costs for new hires. Combined, these present a significant financial burden for healthcare organizations that may already be strained by budgets.
  • Poor Nurse-to-Patient Ratios: Frequent turnover leads to staffing shortages, often resulting in poor nurse-to-patient ratios. Such a situation can compromise the quality of care provided, leading to poor patient outcomes and increased patient dissatisfaction.
  • Nurse Burnout: High turnover rates can lead to increased workloads for existing staff, resulting in burnout. Nurse burnout is a critical concern in healthcare, causing reduced job satisfaction, lower productivity, and potentially impacting patient care.
  • Lower Quality Patient Care: Continual turnover can disrupt the continuity of care. Frequent changes in healthcare professionals diminish the quality of patient care as building trust and understanding between patients and caregivers takes time.

To mitigate such issues, healthcare organizations must focus on effective employee retention strategies. This approach includes enhancing employee engagement, offering flexible scheduling options, and providing support through wellness offerings, among others. It is also important to select suitable HR software that aids in simplifying human resource processes, thereby reducing potential employee dissatisfaction and turnover.

Furthermore, addressing employee burnout should be a topmost priority. Strategies to reduce burnout may include providing adequate breaks, ensuring a well-rounded work-life balance, and fostering an environment where team members feel valued and respected.

Health Carousel, with its expert solutions, works to improve employee retention in healthcare organizations. By offering innovative staffing solutions tailored to each organization's needs, from flexible staffing to implementing float positions, Health Carousel demonstrates its commitment to effectively counter high turnover rates in healthcare, contributing to better patient care.

What Factors Impact Employee Retention in Healthcare

Several factors influence employee retention rates, including the lack of flexibility in scheduling and the nature of work, poor nurse-to-patient ratios, and burnout. Understanding these factors helps organizations create effective strategies for retaining employees.

Flexibility in work schedules and options plays a pivotal role in employee retention. A rigid work schedule can make it difficult for healthcare professionals to maintain a work-life balance, leading to job dissatisfaction and, ultimately, turnover. Offering options such as remote work or flexible scheduling can significantly increase employee satisfaction and engagement, as they will see that their employer values their personal time and wants to give them options for scheduling.

Poor nurse-to-patient ratios can also significantly influence employee retention. High patient loads can lead to increased stress, burnout, and a decline in the quality of care provided. Over time, burnout often leads nurses to leave their jobs due to a lower quality of life. This ripple effect results in a vicious cycle of increasing employee burnout, high turnover rates, and declining patient care quality.

Burnout and stress are also major contributors to low employee retention rates in healthcare. The high-pressure environment, coupled with long hours, can lead to burnout among healthcare professionals. Additionally, failure to provide sufficient support mechanisms can exacerbate the situation, leading to higher turnover.

How Flex Staffing Improves Employee Retention

It's clear that healthcare organizations need a system to improve employee retention, and flexible staffing offers such a solution.

Flexible staffing refers to a system where employers work with multiple types of hires to create a balanced staffing mix. This includes full-time workers, but it also includes roles like travel nurses and international nurses who help fill critical gaps in your workforce.

For example, instead of burdening full-time nurses during a busy season and requiring overtime, your hospital may contract travel nurses instead to pick up shifts. This blend of workers helps your full-time staff maintain a work-life balance and can help reduce employee burnout. With the help of Health Carousel, your organization can find a flex staffing system that works for you so you can increase employee retention and, ultimately, quality of care.

Benefits of Flex Staffing to Nurses

There are many reasons to implement flexible staffing, including:

  • Flexibility: Flex staffing provides healthcare facilities with the ability to fill the positions they have without over or under-staffing. Using a blend of full and part-time work, your organization can find a flexible solution to your complex care needs.
  • Improved Nurse-to-Patient Ratios: With a flexible staffing model, healthcare establishments can manage staffing needs effectively, leading to better nurse-to-patient ratios. This balance reduces the pressure on nurses and enhances the quality of care provided to patients.
  • Reduction in Burnout: Flexible staffing allows for a more manageable workload, which can significantly reduce the levels of stress and burnout among healthcare professionals. As a result, it improves employee satisfaction and boosts retention rates.
  • Improved Patient Care: Higher nurse satisfaction levels and better nurse-to-patient ratios inevitably lead to improved patient care services. Happy nurses are more likely to provide high-quality patient care.
  • Career Satisfaction: Flex staffing provides healthcare professionals with a platform to work on a schedule that aligns with their goals, thereby enhancing career satisfaction.
  • Cost-effective: By improving employee retention rates and reducing hiring costs, flexible staffing makes for a cost-effective human resource management strategy in the healthcare industry.

At Health Carousel, we understand the challenges healthcare establishments face when it comes to staffing and employee retention. Through our innovative technologies and commitment to improving healthcare, we offer effective workforce solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs.

How to Implement Flex Staffing in Your Health System

Transitioning from a traditional staffing model to a flexible staffing plan requires strategic planning, effective communication, and continuous management. There are a myriad of options for implementing flexible staffing, each with benefits and challenges that need to be assessed and balanced according to the system's needs.

Selecting the appropriate flexible staffing model is a critical component of implementing this staffing solution in your healthcare system. This model is not one-size-fits-all; it is customized to each healthcare system's unique needs and context. These models may range from on-call systems and self-scheduling to float pools and agency staffing:

  • On-call systems: This involves having a pool of staff that can be called upon to fill in shifts only when there is a need.
  • Self-scheduling: This allows staff to input their available times and choose their shifts, leading to a more satisfied workforce.
  • Float pools: A pool of experienced staff is available to work in different units depending on the need. This model demands a highly skilled workforce with the capacity to excel in various departments.
  • Agency staffing: Involves the use of staffing agencies to fill in shifts. This can be an effective way to access a large pool of staff but may incur additional costs.

Although these models offer viable solutions to staffing issues, transitioning to a flexible staffing system can be complex. It necessitates careful planning, adequate resources, and continuous management. Therein lies the necessity of a knowledgeable partner to guide the transition and manage the intricacies involved in implementing and maintaining a flex staffing model.

Improve Employee Retention with Health Carousel

As an industry pioneer, Health Carousel is equipped with the expertise and resources to assist health systems in implementing an effective, flexible staffing model. Our in-depth understanding of the industry and staff needs enables us to help health systems identify their most critical needs and advise on the most suited staffing models for their specific situations.

With Health Carousel, health systems gain a strategic partner whose goal extends beyond providing temporary staffing solutions. We endeavor to create a robust and healthy workforce that nurses feel satisfied with and are proud to be a part of. Our expertise lies in understanding the dynamics of health systems and creating models that speak directly to their staffing needs, leading to improved fill rates and better employee retention.

Some of the benefits of partnering with Health Carousel include:

  • Customized staffing solutions: We understand that every healthcare system has unique needs. We work with you to develop tailored staffing models that consider your specific conditions.
  • All-in-one services: From tailored staffing solutions to managed services, we serve as your all-in-one provider for healthcare staffing. No need to work with multiple vendors.
  • Raised fill rates: Through our vast network of healthcare professionals, we can quickly fill open positions, reducing lapses in patient care due to staffing issues.
  • Better workforce management: Our team of experts manages your staffing needs so you can focus more on patient care and quality performance.
  • Improved employee satisfaction: Our staffing models promote a healthy work-life balance for employees, fostering work satisfaction and higher retention rates.

Fueled by a bigger mission of improving lives and making healthcare work better, Health Carousel is committed to being an essential part of helping health systems navigate the complex path towards implementing an effective, flexible staffing model. As such, we seek to pave the way for not only improved employee retention but also enhanced patient care. Discover our workforce solutions today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is employee retention an issue?

Employee retention is an issue because high turnover can lead to significant costs for an organization, both in terms of the direct expenses associated with recruiting and training new employees and the indirect costs such as lost productivity and knowledge. Furthermore, frequent employee departures often disrupt team dynamics and morale, potentially hampering a company’s ability to execute its strategy and meet its goals.

How do you identify employee retention?

Employee retention refers to an organization's ability to keep its employees and prevent turnover. It is commonly identified by calculating the retention rate, which is the percentage of employees that remain with the company over a given period of time. This rate is typically determined by dividing the number of employees who have stayed for the entire time period by the number of employees at the start of the period and getting a percentage.

How can you improve employee retention?

Improving employee retention can be achieved by fostering a positive work environment where employees feel valued and recognized for their contributions. Companies should offer competitive compensation, benefits, and opportunities for professional development and advancement. Additionally, using strategies like flexible staffing to fill critical gaps and assist your full-time staff can help lower turnover rates.

About Health Carousel

Health Carousel is committed to partnering with world-class healthcare facilities across the country, providing rewarding assignments for Registered Nurses and Allied Health Professionals, and attracting the best internal talent at all career levels.