Humans are comfort creatures. It shouldn’t be surprising that we do our best work in stable environments, and we struggle in unstable ones. But how much of that is based on preference, and to what degree is stability a necessity for worker happiness?
This article will explore stability’s impact on employee well-being and how to offer better stability to your healthcare teams.
Why healthcare needs better stability
Workplace stability is undermined when staff turnover is experienced. When a team member leaves, it causes disruptions to daily functions, can shift work onto the plate of other team members, and can result in lost organizational performance. In any field, these changes can be felt throughout an organization and can cause some uncomfortable growing pains to your current workforce and clients.
For healthcare staff, these experiences are often amplified. Employee turnover can reduce staffing headcounts that impact the amount of facetime a patient receives with medical staff or the continuity of their care. Many healthcare employees have specialties or credentials that are hard to replace in their absence. And employee turnover can lead to the remaining healthcare staff feeling overburdened by their new workloads, which could result in higher accident rates.
Research on nursing stability found that healthcare organizations with the lowest turnover rates had the lowest patient mortality scores. On the inverse, organizations with higher turnover rates experienced 1.2 longer patient stays, suggesting a relationship between nurse job stability and the quality of patient care provided.
Yet, new numbers from the 2023 National Health Care Retention & RN Staffing Report found that hospitals are experiencing a 22.7% turnover rate, with an average RN turnover cost of $52,350. If employers want to hold onto their current workforce and nurture them into the future, it’s clear they need to focus on cultivating stability.
Ways to foster healthcare workforce stability
Many healthcare organizations wonder how to foster stability during times of constant change. Although employers can’t prevent turnover or create total stability, they can take actionable steps to stabilize their workplace and stimulate employee engagement again.
1. Offer learning and education opportunities
Your recruitment strategy can play a big role in employee stability. Think critically about the benefits offered to your employees and whether they foster long-term stability and growth. For example, many healthcare roles require higher education or specialty credentials to be considered.
Some employers may offer loan forgiveness programs, education reimbursement, or pay for employee credentials to help their medical staff grow in-house. Additionally, partnering with local nursing or medical schools to offer internship opportunities that develop into careers helps foster stability as students graduate and become full-time employees.
2. Share roadmaps and plans for the future
Help healthcare staff envision their long-term career with you. When employers are transparent and communicate with their staff, it creates trust and reassures employees during times of change. Healthcare employers, from hospitals to small clinics, are encouraged to be more transparent throughout times of change—from explaining the reasoning behind a recent company decision to gathering staff feedback on a new policy. It helps when business leaders share plans and visions for the future with their staff because it helps staff feel prepared and focus on their role in reaching the shared goal.
3. Anticipate employee needs
Pay attention to the needs of your employees, and don’t always wait until they raise a flag for help. When workforces are slim, employees may be focusing on keeping their heads above water and they may not have time to ask for additional resources or support.
Healthcare facilities can anticipate their worker’s needs in a few ways, namely:
- Set up weekly check-ins between staff and managers to touch base and assess employee needs.
- Streamline resource access and ensure employees have access to proper tools, PPE, medical records, and electronic health systems from their first day on the job.
- Create thorough documentation and resources employees can leverage to easily find answers to common questions or company policies.
- Centralize employee onboarding and compliance training into a dashboard or portal, if possible.
4. Appreciate your medical workforce
Stability can be created daily by looking for ways to reward employee dedication, especially during times of transition. There can be done by offering retention bonuses that encourage staff to stay while the organization is going through a period of transition. If a healthcare facility recognizes some of its nurses or administrative staff are experiencing workplace burnout, they may offer additional vacation days, monetary incentives, gift cards, or even handwritten notes from hospital leaders.
Some facilities look for ways to appreciate healthcare staff better during working hours. This can be accomplished by offering healthy snacks in the employee break room, hosting social events at the end of the workday, or offering pins that employees can wear on their lanyards or scrubs that allow forms of self-expression.
5. Elicit employee feedback
One of the best ways healthcare facilities can address stability is to talk to their staff directly. Some medical staff may have fears about the future of the industry and want reassurance from their employees. Others may have ideas for engagement opportunities.
To address employee feedback, organizations need a way to systematically collect it. Healthcare facilities are encouraged to send out employee engagement and satisfaction surveys routinely to gauge the happiness of their workforce and address feedback head-on. Having a dedicated feedback channel encourages employees to identify and share career development ideas, and voice concerns about issues that could threaten the company’s stability.
Have a foundation of stability
Healthcare stability is an important issue that needs to be addressed in the coming years. It’s a challenge that threatens healthcare hiring budgets, staff burnout and turnover, and the quality of patient care. To create better workforce stability, healthcare facilities need to prioritize strategies that address the recruitment, onboarding, and daily job functions of their employees.
If you need assistance embedding stability into your hiring or onboarding practices, reach out to Insight Global. Our staffing experts are available to ensure you find top healthcare talent and create a stable work environment for your entire workplace.
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