How to attract, nurture and retain top talent in healthcare
For today's healthcare industry, finding and keeping top-notch physicians, nurses and other providers is key to patients’ wellbeing and high patient satisfaction scores. But competition for higher-quality talent is fierce and turnover can be high. According to Nursing Solutions’ 2016 Healthcare Staffing Survey, 67% of hospitals report rising turnover rates, with an average rate for bedside RNs of 16.4%. And according to the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, 20.4% of healthcare employees — one in every five — quit their jobs each year.
So how can an organization boost job satisfaction and retain talented staff?
David Wilkins, chief marketing officer at talent and learning management software solutions firm HealthcareSource, offers three key strategies to accomplish that goal: Attract and hire the right people for your organization; “grow your own” long-term loyalty; and keep the folks you already have.
Attract and hire
To effectively attract and recruit new talent, hospitals need to have 21st century technology. Wilkins suggests investing in sourcing-specific talent to identify and source potential candidates as well as search engine-optimized career websites and assessment technology to screen candidates against behavior markers specific to medical jobs.
“Integrate all of the above with strong applicant tracking and workflow technology to manage the hiring and onboarding process,” he tells Healthcare Dive.
Grow your own
As soon as employees are onboarded, hospitals should begin working with them to fill long-term talent needs, especially for hard to fill roles, Wilkins says. They may also want to create individual career paths that combine an employee’s long-term goals with the organization’s needs. These career paths can then be linked to development plans and specific learning activities so that the objectives are visible and actionable to the employee on an ongoing basis, he adds.
Regular appraisals of an employee’s performance can encourage feedback/communication and help to align career aspirations with a hospital’s goals, Wilkins says.
Keep folks happy
Make employees aware of opportunities for advancement and reward good work. Wilkins recommends hospitals make it easy for employees to apply for other jobs within the organization. He also encourages hospitals to invest in employee wellness programs.
That coincides with a report this past summer by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which found that employers are relying increasingly on benefits packages to attract higher-quality staff, especially when they aren’t able to offer a competitor’s salary. In fact, of the organizations SHRM surveyed, 33% reported having increased their benefits offerings over the past year.
“With more than two-thirds of organizations reporting difficulty filling full-time positions, competition for talent is high,” the report notes. “Therefore, it is important for organizations to offer a lucrative benefits package to retain and attract top talent.”
See the forest for the trees
“In the end, there is no panacea or special technique to get this right,” says Wilkins. “It’s like dieting; everyone wants the latest fad to drop 30 lbs after the holidays, but in the end, the best strategy is a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and sweating a little. Talent management in healthcare is no different.”
Executives that quickly fill slots with higher quality people will see less turnover, because people will have less incentive to leave, he notes. People will be working less overtime and won't be as likely to get burned out.
Moreover, hospitals that invest heavily in training and career development tend to be magnets for higher quality talent, making recruitment easier, Wilkins says. “If you invest in career mobility and enable people to grow into future roles, you will improve recruiting, through a greater stream of high-quality internal candidates for hard-to-fill jobs, and retention, by enabling people to grow within the organization instead of outside it.”
The trick is to see all of these pieces as interconnected and self-reinforcing, Wilkins adds. “The big difference between successful organizations and unsuccessful ones isn’t a particular approach or a particular technology within a given talent management pillar; it’s the ability to see beyond pillars and see how the whole is interconnected. … Those who do significantly outperform those who are looking for the next shiny penny within a particular solution stack.”