Healthcare Orgs: Retain Talent in High-Turnover Environments
by Caroline Boyland June 27, 2022
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Healthcare and High Turnover
If there's one group of employees that has faced an entirely new set of challenges over the course of the last few years, it's healthcare workers. The long hours during the pandemic, combined with the uncertainty and obstacles brought upon by such a high-pressure environment, have surely taken their toll.
As you’ve probably heard, turnover rates have skyrocketed across the healthcare industry. Many individuals have left the profession altogether, and those who remain often feel overworked, under-appreciated, and underpaid. Hospitals, clinics, and care facilities are struggling to keep up with the demand for care while also trying to retain the staff they already have and cover the vacancies left by those who have left.
So, how can healthcare organizations approach this turnover obstacle to best retain employees?
There are of course varying approaches to talent retention, but many of these are rooted in strategies surrounding employee benefits. Enriching your benefits offering and strategy can work wonders when it comes to retaining (and attracting) healthcare talent.
Employee benefits for healthcare workers
If you’re thinking about incorporating new benefits into your employee compensation package, here are a few you can think about and how they can improve the mental and physical wellbeing of your healthcare workers:
- Comprehensive health insurance: This goes without saying, but healthcare workers know better than anyone the importance of comprehensive health coverage. If you’re currently only offering limited coverage, consider expanding that plan offering—many healthcare workers work closely with contagious patients, and put their lives on the line every day. Offering health plans that provide full, confident coverage will help ensure your staff will want to stay on your staff.
- Paid time off: Healthcare workers have always been subjected to long, around the clock hours—but this was significantly exacerbated when the pandemic began in March 2020. It’s widely known that many healthcare systems are shorthanded (due to aforementioned high turnover), but this makes it even more critical that you provide the employees on your staff with significant and enforced paid time off. Whether it's in the form of vacation, personal, or sick days, mandating that healthcare workers take the time to rest and recharge is a benefit you cannot afford to overlook.
- Retirement savings plans: Retirement planning can be challenging for healthcare workers, who often don't have the same level of job security as other professions. Offering a retirement savings plan can help attract and retain workers, empowering them with more confidence to feel secure in their future.
- Childcare assistance: Hospital and healthcare workers work grueling hours. Around the clock work and unpredictable hours means that reliable childcare is a top concern. Healthcare systems that offer onsite childcare or financial assistance for childcare costs can help retain employees who might otherwise have to leave the profession to care for their families.
- Tuition assistance: Many healthcare workers got to where they are by enduring years and years of schooling—and many others are interested in furthering their education. The problem with higher ed? Tuition costs can be astronomical—especially for med students. Tuition assistance can attract and retain employees who have student debt or who have a desire to pursue higher levels of education.
- Workplace perks: Healthcare isn't a sector that can easily implement flexible work policies, such as working from home or flexible working hours, given the nature of the job. However, there are still many low-cost perks that can brighten up the workplace, such as free coffee (absolutely necessary for employees working night shifts!), snacks, or even employee recognition programs.
- Wellness programs. The long hours and stress of the job can take a toll on healthcare workers' physical and mental health. Offering wellness programs, such as onsite fitness centers or meditation rooms, gym memberships or yoga classes, or even access to therapy programs can help employees stay healthy and engaged in their work.
Communicating employee benefits
Once you've designed a competitive package of benefits for your healthcare workers, the next step is to make sure that they're actually aware of what they're entitled to and making the most of it. It's crucial to ensure that all current or potential employees know about all the different benefits being offered and how to access them.
This can pose specific challenges in the healthcare profession for a variety of factors, such as:
- Shift working hours: One of the biggest challenges in communication for healthcare organizations is the fact that employees often work shifts, which makes it difficult to reach them all at the same time. This rules out some of the more traditional methods of communication, such as a "lunch and learn" session. To counteract this challenge, you can use a variety of methods to communicate benefits, such as an intranet system, posters around the workplace, or even direct communication via email.
- Distributed workforces: The term "healthcare workers" includes a wide range of employees with very different roles, from doctors and nurses to ambulance workers or hospital administrative staff. The benefit packages for each of these groups might be very different, and the best way to reach them can also change. It's essential to ensure that the benefits package is communicated in a way that is relevant to each group of employees.
- High turnover rates: The healthcare profession has a high turnover rate, making it challenging to keep employees up-to-date on changes to the benefits package. This is another area where an online system can be helpful, as it allows employees to access information about benefits anytime, anywhere.
Whichever channels of communication you choose, it's important that communication is timely, targeted, and frequent.
Benefits decision support
Making sure that employees are informed about their benefits is one thing, but it's also essential to ensure they have the tools and information they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. One way to do this is by providing employees with access to a benefits decision support tool, like Nayya. Nayya can educate, empower, and enable employees to pick the best benefit plans that best match their unique lifestyle, and health and financial goals.
By analyzing the employee’s personal profile and referencing it against the benefit options, Nayya can make the benefits enrollment process a breeze, saving healthcare workers time and ensuring they get the best possible value from their benefits. Nayya provides unique, comprehensive benefits education, so that employees not only have confidence when choosing their benefits, but peace year-round in knowing that their benefits have their back.
To attract and retain the best talent, healthcare organizations need to step up their benefits packages to remain competitive in the marketplace. And they need to do it in a way that the right benefits reach the right employees, maximizing their return on investment and enabling their workers to make the right decisions to make their benefits work for them.
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