The healthcare industry has been struggling with a growing turnover rate the past few years, even spiking up to 44.9% in 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. With so many job openings going unfilled, the healthcare workers in hospitals and small practices have to work harder to keep up with the number of patients, which leads to burnout and employees leaving.

Low employee retention in healthcare organizations can have a profound impact on the quality of patient care and employee morale. To ensure your practice can continue providing excellent care, developing and instituting effective strategies to improve employee satisfaction is key.

Below, you can find nine solid strategies to increase employee retention at your healthcare facility. Then check out even more healthcare business insights to grow your practice in 2023, download our healthcare staffing ebook here

The Importance of Employee Retention in Healthcare

Reducing staff turnover can benefit your medical practice in many ways, including:

  • Improve quality of patient care
  • Enhance patient experience
  • Save money on recruitment and training
  • Increase team morale

When healthcare workers are constantly leaving, it’s challenging to implement long-term improvements or improve workplace culture. The departing staff takes all the training and knowledge with them, requiring you to start over with a new employee. Therefore, higher staff retention makes it easier for your clinic to improve and grow. 

When you prioritize job satisfaction and retaining your current employees, you provide more consistent, higher-quality care to your patients. Employees who are happy with their jobs have better patient interactions, leading to an improved patient experience and better health care outcomes. 

An exceptional patient experience leads to higher patient engagement and more new patients coming through your doors. With a solid healthcare employee retention strategy, you can significantly boost your practice’s growth and care quality. 

How to Increase Employee Retention in Healthcare

Improving job satisfaction and employee engagement are essential for increasing employee retention. The following are nine strategies on how you can accomplish this in your practice and reduce healthcare employee turnover.

1. Develop a Positive Work Environment Focused on Patients

Healthcare workers often choose their jobs because they want to help people, so it’s crucial to ensure your team members are able to focus more time on patients and less on paperwork. Feeling fulfilled at work leads to higher employee engagement and better performance, helping your practice offer outstanding care and keep patients coming back. 

Consider the following when seeking to build a more positive work environment:

  • Celebrating employees for their hard work
  • Cultivating a great company culture
  • Improving team communication
  • Striving for an excellent patient experience

Healthcare providers should aim to provide the best possible support for their staff. You can give your team meaningful support through strategies like offering education and training resources, one-on-one check-ins, and flexibility in scheduling and vacation days.

Supported and engaged employees are less likely to leave their positions, and they work harder to accomplish the organization’s goals. 

2. Offer Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Starting in 2020, an increasing number of employees are leaving their jobs out of dissatisfaction, a trend known as the Great Resignation. Workers are primarily quitting to find better opportunities, including higher pay, better employee benefits, and improved work-life balance. 

The healthcare industry is no exception to the trend. In our 2023 Healthcare Business Insights Report, we discovered that 30% of healthcare workers left their jobs because they weren’t happy with their compensation. Healthcare professionals want pay that conveys an employer’s appreciation for their skills, makes them feel valued, and keeps up with cost of living increases.

Paying competitive wages is essential for filling job positions, especially when so many other options exist for healthcare workers. Paying higher salaries for your valuable, experienced workers actually saves you money. If your best workers leave to find a better job, you’ll be facing high turnover costs and your remaining team will have a heavier workload, increasing the chances of more staff turnover. 

3. Foster a Culture of Work-life Balance and Flexibility

A good work-life balance is key for high employee satisfaction, meaning you should consider the best scheduling strategies that work for your practice and make your employees happy. A nurse who can choose their own schedule and the amount of overtime they take will be much happier than a nurse who never has time for life outside of work.

While you might not be able to give every employee what they want in terms of scheduling, you can be as accommodating as possible to provide schedules that allow them to easily manage life at home and work. For example, some staff members might need particular days off for child care.

You can also provide a better work-life balance for your team by offering more vacation days, allowing them to take time when they need it. This accommodation can lead to higher employee engagement and prevent burnout. 

While not all healthcare facilities can support work-from-home positions, you should consider letting employees work remotely if possible. To find out how communication tools can keep your team connected no matter where they are, learn about Weave’s convenient features for phones and texting.

4. Provide Professional Development Opportunities

Many healthcare workers leave their positions because there are no opportunities for advancement. Employees are more satisfied with their jobs when they have a clear path ahead of them, giving them something to work toward. If a healthcare worker feels stagnant, they’re more likely to become disengaged and switch jobs.

Healthcare organizations can support their staff’s career ambitions by providing resources like online classes, mentorships, and other educational or training opportunities. Not only are you incentivizing your employees to stay, but you’re also cultivating experienced employees who add value to your practice.

If you show that you’re invested in your staff’s success, you’ll have an easier time attracting top talent when you have job openings. As team members advance in their careers, your excellent reputation for growth will help you consistently find quality candidates.

5. Invest in Tools That Will Reduce Employee Burnout

Burnout is a serious matter in the healthcare industry. The severe stress it causes leads to exhaustion, lack of motivation, and poor quality care. Since the pandemic, healthcare workers have had to deal with increased pressure from work, and many have left positions for the sake of their mental health.

You can reduce employee burnout by ensuring your team isn’t bearing a massive workload with responsibilities that aren’t in their job description. One of the best ways to streamline your practice is to introduce digital communication software that handles many of your staff’s daily tasks automatically.

For example, online scheduling reduces the number of phone calls coming into your clinic, allowing your staff to have fewer interruptions throughout the day and increasing productivity. With digital tools, you can also implement automatic appointment reminders, saving your employees from having to play phone tag with patients.

With Weave, you can also take more work off your team’s hands by using digital forms for patient intake and medical information. The patient’s medical history and personal information automatically goes in your system and is more easily accessible for the nurse or doctor during appointments.

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6. Implement Recognition and Rewards Programs

Employee recognition is a powerful tool for increasing engagement and satisfaction among your staff. Simply acknowledging the hard work and accomplishments of your team can create a more positive environment and make employees feel valued.

You can show appreciation for your staff as you:

  • Recognize successes in front of the team or on social media
  • Provide bonuses for top-performing employees
  • Reward accomplishments with small gifts

Open communication, including between management and team members, is vital for success in health care outcomes and business. By incorporating a policy for transparent communication in your practice, you’re promoting quality care and employee satisfaction. 

One of the main reasons healthcare workers resign is poor communication at work, whether it’s a lack of connection or feelings of disrespect. Employees are happier when everyone works harmoniously, making each other’s jobs easier whenever possible.

You can improve teamwork and communication at your practice with online communication tools, such as team chat. With team chat, employees can send messages to the whole team or a particular staff member to ask questions or give information. Team chat saves your staff time and makes your office more efficient.

8. Solicit and Act on Employee Feedback

Human resource professionals in healthcare organizations should make it a priority to collect, analyze, and act on employee feedback. While the problems that lead healthcare professionals to quit are similar across the industry, your clinic will have specific areas of improvement that have the most profound impact on your staff.

Whether the employee resigning is a registered nurse or a front desk staff member, your practice should conduct exit interviews to determine the reasons why they left and how you can prevent turnover in the future. 

You can also conduct periodic satisfaction surveys to identify pain points among your team, enabling your staff to give feedback in a quick and convenient way. Surveys are also an excellent way to address specific issues in your practice. For example, if your nurse retention is lower than other types of staff, you can just survey the nurses to determine what needs to improve to reduce turnover.

9. Personally Express Gratitude and Appreciation

One of the most effective strategies for improving healthcare employee retention is expressing your gratitude to your team personally. As the practice owner or leader, your approval is extremely meaningful to your employees, and genuine recognition from you can be a significant motivator. 

A great time to recognize employees personally is during daily team meetings. You should aim to highlight the valuable efforts of your employees each day, validating their hard work and showing other team members what praiseworthy work looks like.

Enhance Your Practice’s Employee Experience with Weave

Improving employee retention in healthcare facilities leads to higher employee satisfaction and an overall better patient experience. At Weave, we provide easy-to-use online tools to help healthcare businesses achieve their goals, from reducing turnover to improving patient communication.

With Weave, you can streamline your phones, payments, appointment reminders, scheduling, and much more. Try our demo to discover how our simple, all-in-one communication platform can help take your practice to the next level.