In a post-pandemic world, many healthcare organizations feel the stress of staffing shortages, burnout, and low engagement. Since 2020, a survey from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found over 100,000 RNs alone left the field to pursue new career paths. Beyond its financial implications, turnover has a significant impact on productivity. It can gradually decrease the motivation of previously committed employees, setting off a chain reaction that directly influences patient care.
After 7 years of collecting survey data, we’ve crafted 5 strategies to improve retention:
- Effective Onboarding and Orientation: These programs should not only focus on the technical aspects of the job but also instill a sense of belonging and purpose within the organization. A well-structured onboarding process can help new hires adapt quickly and feel valued.
- Continuous Training and Development: Provide access to workshops, courses, and certifications that allow employees to enhance their skills and advance in their careers.
- Work-Life Balance: Implement flexible scheduling options, offer mental health resources, and encourage self-care practices. A healthier work-life balance can reduce burnout and turnover.
- Competitive Compensation and Benefits: Healthcare professionals often face high-stress levels, so offering competitive pay, healthcare coverage, and retirement plans can be a significant factor in retaining top talent.
- Open Communication and Feedback: Regularly solicit feedback through surveys and one-on-one meetings to address issues promptly. Engaging with staff in this way can help identify and mitigate problems before they lead to turnover.
Why Does it Matter?
CMS acknowledges the strong link between staff turnover rates and the quality of patient care. Healthcare providers with lower turnover rates tend to achieve higher levels of patient satisfaction and better patient care outcomes. To tackle this issue, CMS is implementing the Nursing Staff Turnover Measure as part of its Value-Based Payment (VBP) program, starting in FY 2026. We will delve deeper into this measure in future blog posts.
If you're not engaging employees and regularly surveying for feedback, it's time to start! We're here to help.