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The Squeeze, Vol. 14: Please Don’t Go

The Squeeze, Vol. 14: Please Don't Go.

The cards are being laid out on the table.

What’s going on?
Over the past 2 weeks, Becker’s Hospital Review has divulged the employee retention strategies of several healthcare organizations as “The Great Reshuffle” rages on.

ICYMI “The Great Resignation” has now been deemed “The Great Reshuffle,” as millions of people have left their jobs in search of more fulfilling roles that offer better work-life balance from an organization more aligned with their values. The healthcare industry has been one of the hardest hit, with almost 3% of the healthcare workforce quitting each month of 2022… and there’s no end in sight. Healthcare organizations are prioritizing employee retention as a result, and we’re seeing 5 themes emerging among their approaches. Here they are, with 12 examples of how various brands are taking part:

1. CULTURAL CONSCIENTIOUSNESS: The key to retention may be self-reflection.

  • Meritus Health has gone through a HR department rebrand in which leadership members are now called “coaches.” They’ve also renamed their “Employee Town Hall” meeting to “Team Huddle,” serving as a time of connection between coaches and their team members to reinforce that the coach is there to support and build the team up with the resources and knowledge needed to succeed.
  • Northwell Health is one of many organizations recognizing the power of gratitude, ensuring employees feel appreciated and valued for their work through awards, recognition walls, companywide shout outs, and other means.

2. EMBRACING FLEXIBILITY: “Have it your way.”

  • Advocate Aurora Health offers job-sharing where, for example, someone nearing retirement can pair up with someone younger who wants more time at home, and both go part-time.
  • Allegheny Health Network has created hybrid positions where nurses who typically have worked solely in direct care can spend some of their time in a research or teaching role, giving them “the best of both worlds.”
  • Banner Behavioral Health Hospital implemented 7 days on/7 days off schedules for its physicians, has increased telehealth options to allow physicians to work from almost any location, and are providing them the opportunity to move to different units based on clinical interest and need when they desire a change of pace.
  • St. Luke’s Health utilizes self-scheduling, enabling nurses to schedule in collaboration with their coworkers and supervisor in a shared decision-making model which balances the needs of the employee and organization alike.

3. ENHANCED BENEFITS: The full menu of perks and benefits is on the table.

  • Mass General Brigham operates 6 childcare centers that are managed by Bright Horizons, a national childcare services provider. Through the partnership employees can receive additional benefits including full-time, center-based childcare, center-based and in-home backup childcare, nanny services and tutoring.
  • Sterling Surgical Hospital in Slidell, LA is paying employees’ gas costs to come to work for the rest of the year.

4. MONETARY INCENTIVES: Because as we all know, money talks.

  • CHI Health nurses willing to work across multiple system hospitals get a higher percentage of their base pay. It’s a win-win as it gives CHI flexibility to allocate resources where they’re needed, and it offers nurses an alternative to travel nursing while keeping their existing positions.
  • Last week, the New York governor’s office announced the Health Care and Mental Hygiene Worker Bonus Program, in which the state will provide a $3,000 payout to certain employees who stay at their post for at least six months.

5. ALUMNI ACTIVATIONS: Further proof that you should never burn bridges.

  • CHI Health is considering opportunities for more seasoned nurses, such as those who have retired, to return virtually to mentor the less-experienced nurses on staff.
  • Northwell Health recently launched an alumni relations department which leverages the organizational intelligence and experience gained by team members who have left the organization to spread to those who remain. Alumni continue having a voice and contribution in helping Northwell with brand ambassadorship, new hire training, mentoring programs and coaching, and philanthropy, in addition to serving as a referral network for other hires.


What's The Squeeze?
The pandemic has lit a fire under the slow-to-change healthcare industry, which is now realizing that the old way of doing things won’t work for their workforce either. Organizations need to meet employees where they are and cater to their desires to curtail the staffing supply-demand imbalance.

That includes embracing shared governance models and ensuring that (autonomy-seeking) employees have a voice in the organization’s new ways of thinking. It could go a long way, as 52% of employees said their commitment to their role is driven by feeling meaningfully supported or valued.

At this point there’s plenty of data out there about why healthcare workers are changing their jobs, and it’s not all financially driven. In fact, higher pay ranks #4 on the list for nurses, and 50% of workers would willingly take a 2-5% pay cut if their new job could meet one goal that improved their work experience (e.g., better work-life balance). Health systems need to put strategies and tactics in place to match those motivations to be successful in retaining and recruiting staff. It’s mission critical because they can’t deliver patient care without them.

Though employee retention has long been considered more important (i.e., cost-effective) than recruitment, employers currently don’t have the luxury to only focus on one. The good news is that the two are interlinked and that with solid strategies like the ones mentioned above will come cultural improvements, which will in turn attract new hires. Stay tuned for our next edition of The Squeeze in which we’ll highlight some of the recruitment strategies being leveraged!

Related Insights.

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