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Applicant Tracking System Recruiting & Hiring Healthcare

5 HR Strategies to Attract and Retain Top Healthcare Professionals

July 20, 2023
6 min read

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The healthcare industry knows all too well how difficult it can be to find and retain excellent employees, especially since 2020. Hospitals see an incredible 100% turnover every five years and lose as much as $9 million annually due to turnover. The industry was the second-hardest hit during the Great Resignation, behind only food service and hospitality.

In 2021, 27% of registered nurses (RNs) left their roles. Even today, McKinsey reports that 40% of RNs working in direct patient care say they plan to leave their jobs — a number that rose 5% from fall 2022 to March 2023. Experts also expect a shortage of physicians by 2025.

Staffing shortages persist across healthcare facilities for many other essential roles as well:

  • Certified nurse assistants
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Ultrasound laboratory technicians
  • Pharmacists Nurse practitioners
  • Physician assistants
  • Physical therapists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Administrative staff
  • Food service staff
  • Housekeepers

If you think that looks like just about every role in a healthcare facility, you’d be correct. So how are HR professionals responding to the volatile market?

Find out in today’s post, where we’ll cover what healthcare professionals want in an employer in a post-pandemic world. We’ll also look at winning strategies health systems use for hiring and retention.

Did you know hospitals see 100% employee turnover every 5 years? Beat the trends and retain your healthcare workers:

Understanding the Current Challenges

To attract and retain healthcare professionals successfully, start by getting context around the challenges companies are facing today.

  1. High-turnover industry: Employee turnover in healthcare has risen since 2010, a decade before we saw it skyrocket during the pandemic. Today, it remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  2. Burnout: Lots of healthcare employees are quitting due to burnout caused by heavy workloads, long hours, and a lack of appreciation from their employers. When that happens, it only increases workloads and continues the cycle of burnout for those left behind.
  3. Retirement: Retirement was a top reason healthcare workers left their jobs over the past few years. More staffing shortages due to retirements are expected in the coming years — almost 45% of doctors are 55 or over, and nurses are 57, on average.
  4. Smaller talent pools: Many workers who left their healthcare roles started jobs in different industries altogether. Combined with retirements and fewer workers entering the healthcare industry, recruiters are choosing from fewer candidates overall.

Healthcare isn’t an industry many people enter on a whim. Usually, it’s because they feel a deeper connection to their work. That’s why many of these challenges are related to how your employees feel when they’re at work.

Luckily, that means improving the work environment alone can improve recruiting and retention by leaps and bounds. Let’s get into a few key components of talent management for hiring and retaining health systems employees.

5 Expert HR Strategies to Win and Keep Top Talent

One of the benefits of employee retention is that when you focus on keeping your people, you also appeal to candidates who are looking for an employer that values their work. And fortunately, healthcare professionals are letting employers know what they need to stick around.

Learn some creative ways to retain employees, attract new ones, and shape a workplace that meets their needs.

1. Flexibility

Giving workers more autonomy can counteract burnout and make your healthcare organization an attractive employer. When it comes to flexible work, you’re probably thinking of working from home. That’s certainly an option for many roles, like medical billing and coding, customer service, or data analytics. And today, even physicians, nurses, therapists, and other professionals can benefit from the flexibility of remote work thanks to telehealth services, which 88% of Americans want as an option post-pandemic.

But remote work isn’t the only option for flexibility. 86% of nurses say a flexible schedule is why they stay at their current jobs. More than 55% of workers with a flexible schedule reported greater work satisfaction, and 50% said they experienced better quality of life and more control over their workload and work-related stress.

Did you know hospitals see 100% employee turnover every 5 years? Beat the trends and retain your healthcare workers:

Healthcare Retention Tip

There are many ways to offer schedule flexibility to your hospital employees. For example, Henry Ford Health increased flexibility for their nurses with options to work:

  • In inpatient, outpatient, or virtual settings
  • Only on weekends
  • On a fixed-term basis with the option for long-term permanent positions when it’s up

The strategy succeeded in bringing back 25% of the nurses who left the organization. Another hospital system rewards nurses for having flexible schedules by incentivizing shifts on nights and weekends, increasing rewards as they work more shifts.

2. Competitive pay and bonuses

Competitive pay and bonuses will always be a top reason employees switch jobs. That’s even more true for in-demand healthcare professionals who have seen their workloads increase and work-life balance decrease. In response, 68% of hospitals have increased nurses’ pay and starting salaries.

Healthcare Retention Tip

This strategy isn’t just for new hires. Recruiting and retaining employees in this industry requires staying on top of market trends in pay and bonuses. You should always assume your people are looking for a new job, talking to recruiters, or both, which means they know exactly what the competition has to offer. Retain your workers by regularly evaluating and adjusting current employees’ pay rates to keep them in line with the market.

3. Employee recognition

75% of nurses who quit in the last 18 months say feeling undervalued played a role in their decision. A simple solution to boost employee morale and job satisfaction is more recognition. Acknowledging great work, simple appreciation, and a larger culture of recognition are also one of the best ways to support employee well-being.

Healthcare Retention Tip

The best HR retention strategies understand that employee experience, engagement, and recognition are closely linked. If you recognize employees for their work, but employee engagement doesn’t seem positively impacted, you might need to adjust your strategy or look at other factors that affect engagement.

4. Faster hiring

When you’re vying for a smaller talent pool, hiring faster can be the difference between winning top candidates and losing out to your competitors. Kaiser Permanente now hires nurses 30% faster with methods enabled by technology. The company allows candidates to apply to facilities rather than individual job posts and submit pre-recorded answers to hiring managers.

Healthcare Hiring Tip

Hire faster with a shorter interview process. Take a second look at your process and consider whether you can eliminate a round of interviews or reduce the number of people on hiring panels.

5. Healthcare talent management software

These strategies for recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals can all be enabled by technology. Invest in talent management software for your health system so you can:

  • Hire and support remote employees with robust digital processes from applications to the onboarding process to performance reviews
  • Effortlessly stay informed of current trends in pay with integrated Payscale data
  • Kick off an employee recognition program for an instant morale boost
  • Optimize hiring processes with automated workflows and bias reduction tools

When they’re not stressing about unpredictable schedules and feeling unappreciated, it’s easier for your essential workers to hold onto their innate passion for their work. That sense of connection is the foundation for strong employee engagement, the key differentiator of safe, innovative, thriving companies.

You can get a read on what your employees are missing, improve your approach, and execute new strategies with healthcare HR and talent management software. Attract top healthcare professionals and encourage employees to stay by:

  • Posting accurate, engaging job descriptions with the help of integrated AI
  • Reaching a wider audience of job seekers with Text-to-Apply
  • Sending tailored emails and texts with dynamic communication tools
  • Making smarter hiring decisions with Interview Scorecards
  • Giving useful performance feedback regularly
  • Conducting regular, thorough performance reviews
  • Recognizing their incredible contributions on a daily basis

See firsthand how ClearCompany can help you recruit, recognize, and retain passionate, curious, prolific healthcare employees. Start upping your healthcare talent management strategy ASAP — get a demo of ClearCompany today.

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