COVID-19 revealed an industry secret that had been brewing for some time: great talent is opting out of the healthcare profession.
A recent healthcare article by the National Library of Medicine reports that, among primary care clinicians and staff, “Prevalence of burnout, low engagement, and turnover were high, with 53% of both clinicians and staff reporting burnout, only 32% of clinicians and 35% of staff reporting high engagement, and 30% of clinicians and 41% of staff no longer working in primary care in the same system 2 to 3 years later.
However, good leadership can improve retention in the healthcare industry by addressing the impact of burnout and adopting specific retention strategies.
Burnout Affects Caregivers, Patients, and Retention
Burnout in this industry presents a complicated challenge that affects leaders, healthcare workers, and patients in three ways. Healthcare leaders must pay attention to how they:
- Balance staffing and organization need.
Administrators must staff appropriately to care for patients or risk experiencing declining patient numbers. This effort requires positioning top talent in critical positions, mindful that even the best performers and most generous budgets cannot sustain frequent overtime.
- Recognize high levels of exhaustion forcing healthcare workers to reconsider their work-life balance.
Exceptionally talented and compassionate healthcare professionals are also tired. Many of these caregivers put their health at risk through exposure to disease and putting off their needs for exercise, nutrition, and rest. As COVID-19 swept through the nation, many reprioritized their life goals and left the profession.
- Identify burnout’s effect in every aspect of healthcare.
Burnout adversely affects the quality of patient care, leading to increased turnover and a destabilized workforce. Additionally, healthcare leaders face substantial costs associated with hiring and onboarding new staff.
How can a healthcare leader solve these challenges?
5 Ways to Improve Retention in the Healthcare Industry
Improving retention in the healthcare industry starts with adopting retention initiatives like these:
- Hire the candidates with the best fit. Remove hiring biases by leveraging AI software that will standardize and streamline your hiring process from application to onboarding.
- Emphasize onboarding, regardless of the job. Devote ample time to training and development in every department, including food services and custodial and primary care personnel.
- Identify individuals’ strengths and rely on them. Focus on the specific skills needed and position talent to respond.
- Listen and act on what you hear. When talking with clinicians and staff, focus exclusively on the conversation, repeating key elements for clarification. Resolve their issues.
- Remain competitive. Your competition wants to attract your top healthcare performers to their organization. Unless you offer attractive salaries and benefits, your most talented healthcare workers will leave you.
When seeking to improve retention in the healthcare industry, leaders must do everything possible to retain top talent in the business. Rely on an experienced recruiter who can help you identify healthcare talent with the right fit for your organization.
Your organization, healthcare staff, and patients depend on it.