Caring for Healthcare Staff
Contributed by staff writer Amanda Fraraccio
In April, we found general retention guidelines applicable to almost any corporation. Are there specific needs for people in the field of healthcare? What can employers do to keep healthcare workers happy and productive?
Failing to retain team members can be costly. As turnover rates rise, the quality of patient care decreases significantly (Cooley, 2016). The top reasons people leave their jobs include team members feeling overwhelmed, not properly equipped for the task (Cooley, 2016) and perceived better opportunities, both domestically and abroad (Nguyen, 2017).
Healthcare employers can begin their retention strategy by hiring the right candidate for the job. Train supervisors/managers to properly evaluate candidates based on specific job requirements. Areas where turnover is especially high, such as the emergency department, intensive care units, and operating rooms, require specific characteristics of staff members. Employers can make better choices when they know how to identify those traits. Additionally, it can be helpful to allow potential candidates to shadow future co-workers to ensure fit on both sides (Healthstream, 2017).
Another central step is to streamline the on-boarding process for new hires. One study showed that more than 15% of new hires leave within the first three months. It is important to get employees connected and engaged quickly by getting them active on the job (Nguyen, 2017).
It is helpful during on-boarding to clearly lay out expectations. For example, the expectation on day 1, day 10, and day 30 should be discussed. Adding a personal touch to the process can also help a new hire feel valued. Some managers will ask questions about likes and hobbies and prepare a personalized welcome basket for the first day on the job (Healthstream, 2017).
In situations where third parties are involved, such as BB Imaging’s team members and partners, it is important to develop good relationships with providers who see staff members daily. Encourage providers to recognize a team member’s hard work, offer a thank you note after dealing with a particularly difficult patient, and/or recognize a staff member in front of peers at a staff meeting. These approaches can greatly increase feelings of connectedness and accomplishment (Mandavia, 2012).
Moving beyond traditional benefits is important. Allowing any amount of flexibility can go a long way. A staff member being able to come in an hour early or push their day an hour late so they can leave for a child’s dental appointment can be helpful for staff and patients' schedules alike (Mandavia, 2012). Other attractive benefits include employer provided wellness programs, PTO for volunteer work (Nguyen, 2017), and student loan repayment (Healthstream, 2017). At BB Imaging, one of our most popular benefits is providing an allowance for a monthly massage.
Another valuable tool is a “stay” interview. A stay interview gives real time information on how an employee is doing /feeling about their position (Nguyen, 2017). Questions at 90 days can be more general. As trust builds, inquiries at 6 months are likely to be more direct such as what would make you leave this position, what can help you stay, and are we fully utilizing your talents (Healthstream, 2017).
Healthcare is a complex yet rewarding field. There are many demands on team members. The customer is not just someone who is utilizing services, they are entrusting their lives to the judgement and expertise of these professionals. The strategies to care for front line teams can be most beneficial when they go above and beyond traditional means.
Cooley, J. (2016, January 27th). https://www.ceu360.com. Retrieved from CEU360.com: https://www.ceu360.com/4-employee-retention-strategies-healthcare/
Healthstream. (2017, June 16th). https://www.healthstream.com/resources/blog. Retrieved from Healthstream.com: https://www.healthstream.com/resources/blog/blog/2017/06/16/healthcare-employee-retention-best-practices
Mandavia, A. (2012, June 16th). http://www.physicianspractice.com/staff. Retrieved from Physicianspractice.com: http://www.physicianspractice.com/staff/keys-retaining-employees-your-medical-practice
Nguyen, A. (2017, November 29th). https://www.precheck.com/blog. Retrieved from Precheck.com: https://www.precheck.com/blog/healthcare-hr-and-employee-retention-6-key-factors-consider