In the competitive healthcare industry, attracting and retaining top talent is crucial for outpatient healthcare facilities to succeed. High employee turnover can negatively impact patient care and staff morale, and cost facilities a staggering amount financially. Clinical facilities that prioritize building a strong workplace culture and supporting their employees are more likely to retain their best people.
To retain top talent in 2024, healthcare facilities need to renew their focus on creating a supportive workplace culture, fostering a healthy work environment, streamlining onboarding, offering continuous education opportunities, and prioritizing their employees’ health and wellness.
Understanding Employee Turnover
To successfully retain employees, outpatient facilities must first understand the driving factors behind employee turnover. For example, employee burnout is a real problem. Staff are typically expected to juggle a large patient load and tackle administrative responsibilities – all while facing pressure to provide quality care in a limited amount of time. This pressure can lead to not just physical burnout, but emotional exhaustion, as well. The result? Talented employees leave to find a healthier work environment elsewhere.
Additionally, and perhaps unsurprisingly, compensation is another pain point facilities can work to improve. While not all healthcare professionals expect a dramatic increase in salary, most will look for fair compensation in respect to their experience, skillset, and dedication to their jobs. Employees are also looking for the opportunity to grow within their roles or in their career trajectory, so facilities that offer continuous education are much more attractive to top talent than facilities that do not.
Overall, outpatient healthcare clinical facilities that do not invest in their employees’ wellbeing, compensation packages, and training or continuous education staff development opportunities, may continue to see great healthcare providers leave due to feeling unsupported.
Best Practices for Retaining Top Talent
Luckily, there are practical ways healthcare facilities can improve their retention efforts – which will require much more than the occasional employee appreciation email, gathering, or gift card.
To truly make an impact, facilities should start by simply listening to the reasons people are finding other work opportunities. This first step can be one of the easiest ways to help employees feel respected and valued in the workplace. Once the top factors are identified, facilities can begin implementing changes to slow the rate of turnover.
Some of these practical retention strategies include focusing on workplace culture, streamlining the onboarding and training processes, offering continuous education, genuinely prioritizing employee wellbeing, and more.
Focus on Workplace Culture
Creating an inclusive, supportive environment where employees feel valued goes a long way in employee retention efforts. Leadership should regularly collect feedback to understand what matters most to staff. Building trust enables open communication, which is critical for a healthy workplace culture. Celebrate diversity and make sure all employees feel welcomed and respected. Fostering collaboration through team-building activities and recognizing achievements regularly, and promoting from within whenever possible are also ways to create a truly healthy workplace.
Unfortunately, toxic leadership is all too common in the healthcare industry. With this in mind, outpatient facilities looking to retain top talent should also provide more training opportunities for managers and leaderships. This training can help improve accountability on all levels of decision-making, creating a more trustworthy leadership team employees want to work for.
Optimize the Work Environment
An employee’s physical workspace also impacts productivity and satisfaction. Ensure that your employees are happy with the facilities. Are they clean, comfortable, and designed with your people in mind? Ensure that your facilities have adequate space, lighting, and other resources to enable and empower staff to do their jobs effectively. Break rooms, outdoor spaces, and other respite areas are also important.
The onboarding process sets the foundation for new hires, so it is important to make sure it is streamlined and efficient. Make sure roles and responsibilities are clearly defined right away, and provide thorough training on all relevant systems, equipment, policies, and procedures. The onboarding program is a great opportunity to introduce new hires to teammates and assign mentors in order to facilitate a smooth transition. Remember to check in frequently with all new employees during their first few weeks to ensure they continue to feel supported in their new roles.
Offer Ongoing Training and Development
Investing in continuous education shows employees they are valued, but it also ensures your employees receive the most up-to-date training to do their jobs efficiently to maintain quality patient care. Hosting regular in-services, certification courses, and skills training are just a few practical ways to offer ongoing development opportunities. Also consider offering tuition reimbursement or support for advanced degrees to assist in retaining top talent.
Incentivize with Competitive Compensation
While meaningful work is important in healthcare, fair pay remains a top priority to most employees today. Conduct regular market analyses to ensure compensation and benefits are competitive for the area and industry at large. Consider sign-on or retention bonuses, profit-sharing, retirement contributions, and other perks to create a more robust compensation package that communicates to employees that you care not just about their professional lives, but also their personal ones. It’s also important to be transparent about compensation across the board.
Promote Work-Life Balance
Providing schedule flexibility and supporting work-life balance boosts retention, as it shows employees and candidates alike that their employer cares for their whole person – not just what they offer professionally. Enable employees to have a healthy work-life integration in order to avoid the dreaded burnout while still meeting those personal responsibilities. Consider options like job sharing, adjusted start and end times, flexible time off and remote work where possible.
Prioritize Employee Health and Wellness
The nature of healthcare jobs can be demanding and stressful. As part of retention efforts, promote physical and mental health through wellness benefits, counseling, support groups, or stress management training. Accommodating needs around chronic conditions, caregiving, and disabilities also goes a long way in showing employees that their well-being is valued. Unmanageable patient loads and staff shortages are major contributors to burnout, as well. Analyzing staffing ratios and adjusting as needed based on patient volumes allows teams to collaborate on solutions for high-stress periods.
Investing in Technology
Healthcare professionals are continuously adapting to numerous changes in the industry, especially in recent years. The rise of technology, like telemedicine, remote monitoring, digital file management and AI integration, can help support them as they face pressure to continue providing a standard quality of care.
A People-First Approach
A positive workplace culture that puts people first is key to retain top talent at healthcare facilities. By supporting employees’ needs, creating collaborative environments, and investing in their growth, organizations will be well-positioned to hire and nurture a thriving, engaged workforce for the long term.
Browse our blog for more advice on employee retention and improving workplace culture.