A new study by Health eCareers found that nearly one-third of healthcare recruiters in the U.S. rank employee turnover as their greatest staffing concern this year and say hiring the best healthcare employees is only half the battle – once you have them, you need to keep them.
Turnover in hospitals has high numbers and results in high costs in the industry. According to 565 healthcare employer respondents in Health eCareers’ 2015 Healthcare Recruiting Trends Survey, almost 30 percent expect that they will have more job openings in 2015 than last year, and 45 percent expect to have about the same. But 43 percent of respondents say finding qualified talent is their number one obstacle.
Retention is the Solution
Employee retention should be the first line of defense to combat the challenges created by turnover and is a key strategic imperative for 90 percent of hospitals.
“According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the healthcare unemployment rate is 3.5 percent. Many economists feel full healthcare employment is between two and three percent, so this means we are very close to full employment,” says Bill Thomson, a healthcare staffing expert and account representative at Health eCareers.
This finding raises the question: where will healthcare get its new workers?
Thomson says because most healthcare professionals are currently employed, it’s much more effective and efficient to invest in retention than to go out, recruit and train new employees.
Tips for Recruiters to Shape Retention
Thomson offers healthcare recruiters the following tips to help hospitals with employee retention.
1. Hire someone who’s a good fit, not who comes at a low cost
Employee productivity, a direct result of the quality of hires, is a key issue within the hospital and healthcare workforce. Thomson cautions that recruiters should beware of promoting employees who do not have good leadership skills.
2. Push for impactful talent-management funding
Nearly 80 percent of Health eCareers’ survey respondents say employer brand and culture are “important,” while 17 percent say they are “not priorities at this time.” A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that healthcare systems invest significantly less in HR programs than other industries, and Thomson says it’s time for healthcare systems to step up to the plate and push for funding.
3. Emphasize the organization’s reputation in the recruiting process
Although the recruitment industry spent a whopping $16 billion dollars on advertising last year, Thomson questions the value of advertising if a brand evokes little name recognition or positive emotional value. Instead, he says using differentiation and affinity are key when trying to appeal to an increasingly limited talent pool.
4. Recognize and own a few key goals at a time
Thomson warns that abrupt change can destroy a positive work culture, so it’s key that leadership and the marketing teams identify the most important reasons why the facility is in business.
“There are so many forces that change the focus within a hospital,” he explains. “If patient satisfaction surveys are down, focus shifts. If costs get out of hand, focus shifts. The focus for recruiters mirrors the changing focus of the organization as a whole, and that’s unsustainable.”
Thomson says that changing goals frequently is confusing and unsettling and the decline in morale it induces trickles down from employees to patients.
He adds that the more services a hospital can provide to employees, such as flexible work schedules, employee referral bonuses and free concierge services, the more retention, and positive morale become established in the culture.
The findings are part of Health eCareers’ new trends in healthcare recruiting blog series available at http://news.healthecareers.com/2015/03/staff-turnover/?type=pr&source=staff-turnover-release, which profiles the results of the 2015 Healthcare Recruiting Trends Survey.