The Retention Reset: How to Win Your Employees Back - MedCity News

It is undeniable that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the face of healthcare over the past few years. In addition to affecting patients and healthcare systems everywhere, it has left a lasting mark on the daily experience of hospital staff. As a result, labor shortages and rapid turnover have compounded to form one of health care’s most pressing crises—one that we can do more to understand and change.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it was a shock to US healthcare because of the basic lack of preparedness. The influx of cases and the type of care needed to deal with this pandemic was far beyond the scope of what clinicians were trained to do and were prepared to expect. Today, we are experiencing the unpleasant consequences: many of our frontline health workers are feeling overworked and exhausted. The data proves this point – in the third part of Incredible Health Report on breastfeeding in the time of Covid-19, published in March 2022, 34% of nurses surveyed reported that they planned to leave their jobs by the end of the year, and 44% of them cited burnout and stress as reasons for leaving.

Today, organizations are doing everything they can to meet the needs of their teams. Like employees in all industries, healthcare workers value a variety of qualities in their jobs, from the environment to flexible schedules, competitive compensation/benefits, and more. Healthcare organizations have sought new ways to enhance their staff’s experience through these lenses, providing additional benefits and offerings. Unfortunately, a simple increase in benefits may have only a minimal impact to improve labor trends on the drastic scale we need.

These healthcare workers are essential to maintaining the infrastructure of our healthcare system, and their treatment will determine its fate. As we collect more data that point to further labor shortages, our industry must turn around and change the way we treat and retain healthcare workers to ensure a successful future of care delivery. Fortunately, we’re already seeing organizations take action to improve the experience of their frontline staff using their data and technology.

Understanding the impact of scarcity

How much or how little time clinicians spend doing the part of the job they are passionate about is directly related to physician and nurse burnout. Among all the other responsibilities that come with a healthcare worker’s job description, such as administrative tasks and documentation, actual floor time treating and interacting with patients becomes increasingly scarce, which can lower morale and rob healthcare workers of their sense of satisfaction .

Unfortunately, clinical jobs have lost the appeal they once had. In addition to the extensive paperwork, the pay level and the quality of the workplace continue to deteriorate. Staffing ratios and a lack of income predictability—especially for roles such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners—are key factors contributing to clinicians leaving their current jobs for better paying jobs or leaving the field altogether. These jobs were coveted for the promise of pay, along with the caring aspect that many applicants join the industry for, but higher pay can now be found elsewhere with much less demanding and dangerous work, more shorter and more structured shifts and fewer risks to personal health and well-being.

US public health infrastructure and rising costs play a large role in the strained supply of doctors. As costs rise and impact healthcare organizations, one major driver of labor issues continues to be the drastic overhead costs seen in healthcare, in addition to the costs associated with insurance and administrative fees. Rising costs come at the expense of paying clinicians for their primary responsibility of providing care.

Identifying issues to resolve

Labor costs account for approximately 50 percent of a health care system’s operating costs, and as a result, decisions made about productivity and labor management can have a significant impact on an organization’s ability to move forward. To maximize the effectiveness and engagement of current frontline staff, organizations recognize the importance of making staffing decisions using complete, comprehensive data they can trust.

Today’s organizations expect their clinicians to access and track very similar data across many different systems, involving different teams and with dramatically different expectations. This leads to inconsistent accountability, which can have a huge effect on a team’s ability to set and meet its goals. More than 60 percent of health systems today lack a consistent and data-informed process for establishing expectations and setting goals that can drive the necessary accountability. The most commonly cited root cause? Incomplete or old data.

As health systems strive to get the most out of their teams and retain their strong and experienced staff, it will be critical that they provide frontline leaders with support for their day-to-day operations. When faced with conversations about productivity and labor management, these leaders can feel as if the processes to drive improvements are looking at things through an exclusively financial lens versus one that can support operational needs and improvements. Instead of fueling this perception and creating friction, organizations should empower their teams with processes that support operational improvements and the needs of these leaders in addition to financial results.

How we can improve

One step organizations can take to improve the employee experience and increase retention is to implement technology that makes physicians’ jobs easier and helps management better understand their day-to-day work. Hospitals must find ways to make it easier for clinician managers to understand and manage their labor cost drivers so that it becomes easier for staff to make the right decision at the right time and improve. Data will become an important lever for organizations in their quest to retain their best talent and make them feel supported as they continue to make day-to-day decisions, freeing them to continue to deliver excellent patient care.

For organizations, data can do wonders to help with staff retention and satisfaction. Tools that offer in-depth analysis of financial data, staff engagement and other operational information can provide clarity on which staff may be feeling overworked and where there is room for staff realignment to reduce burnout and effectively manage each department . They can also provide insight into which clinical or operational areas may have opportunities for savings, preventing organizations from cutting staff due to budget. When staffing shortages are prevalent in these areas, these tools can help units manage patient care workloads within available resources, allocating staff more efficiently when they are needed most. This will ultimately help them keep employees happy, which can also help attract new talent.

In our experience, healthcare organizations are finding success using data and information to drive retention. One example is giving managers direct access to compare staff schedules with trend volumes to provide coverage, which can actually positively impact occupancy levels by enabling better staff utilization. Access to this information allows managers to more quickly adjust and delegate resources to meet needs during busy times, while reducing staffing levels during times of less need. This small change can have a big impact on employees who are feeling burned out. On a larger scale, on-demand staffing and ensuring schedule optimization can be supported by giving teams access to technology that demonstrates staff productivity. Other organizations are focused on understanding how to incentivize coverage of hard-to-fill shifts by rewarding in-house staff. Addressing the healthcare workforce shortage requires organizations to come together and test new strategies, using their own data to better understand what their teams need.

The healthcare labor market needs to make improvements to support its current workforce, but also to create a better environment for the clinicians of the future. We know people will continue to step up and look for the opportunity to help others and provide life-saving care, so we need to continue to find ways to support them with more intuitive tools and data they can use to take the right decisions. Changing the way we approach medical care and technological innovation will drive successful care delivery and address today’s and tomorrow’s labor management issues.

Photo: Aleutie, Getty Images

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *