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The struggle against COVID-19 is far from over. But we are now at the stage where we can begin to reflect on the lessons learned from the crisis and consider what should be changed and improved. How you respond will not only have an important bearing on the quality of care you offer but also your ability to attract and retain talent.

With no indications that the pandemic will be over soon, healthcare workers are feeling overworked and undervalued. Although the healthcare industry remains active and generates career opportunities, healthcare talent shortage is slowly becoming evident. Employers should give focus on what the healthcare workforce needs and work on a strategy to attract and retain healthcare employees and be able to stay ahead of competitors.

employee retention in healthcares
employee retention in healthcares

The Randstad Employer Brand Research provides valuable insights into what sector employees want from their employers, what concerns them, and what motivates them to stay in or switch jobs. This year’s research includes specific questions about the experiences of healthcare workers working through the COVID-19 pandemic.

4 ways to reduce employee turnover in healthcare

From the analysis of the findings and their implications, four priorities for action stand out in understanding what the healthcare workers want and what effective retention strategy works best for them.

1. tackle stress through active employee engagement and a readiness to respond to concerns

The pandemic has highlighted the resilience and resourcefulness of healthcare workers in the face of seemingly impossible demands. As the Randstad Employer Brand Research underlines, what employees want in return is full support from their employers – active engagement, open dialogue, and a readiness to respond to concerns.

Encouragingly, most healthcare organisations would appear to have got this right – 67% of healthcare employees now feel more loyal to their employers as a result of the support they’ve received during the pandemic. However, it’s clear that support and resulting loyalty are much lower in some regions than others.

Without the necessary support, employee engagement declines and an inherently stressful environment can turn into a toxic one. A highly-stressful work environment could exacerbate the already unsustainable levels of burnout which could encourage many professionals to leave their jobs or abandon their careers in healthcare altogether.

2. create a compelling working environment and work-life balance

Attractive pay and competitive benefits packages are the most important attributes when choosing an employer for some doctors, nurses, and most other healthcare professionals we surveyed. This is followed by work-life balance and a positive work environment.

While work shifts can limit flexibility to some extent, flexible working hours encourages employees to work in more agile ways. Nearly three in ten healthcare employees are attracted to organisations offering remote working that makes use of video connectivity. This includes frontline medical practitioners as well as administrative staff. In turn, workflow systems and greater use of contingent talent could help to meet peaks in demand without overloading permanent employees.

To support the healthcare well-being and mental health, working environment and work-life balance should come together. The strains of the pandemic have highlighted the importance of monitoring individual stress levels, encouraging people to talk about their concerns, and intervening early.

The past year has also underlined the value of being able to step away from the stresses of work. Employers can support this through development opportunities and training, wellness programmes, and setting clear boundaries.

3. help anxious workers to feel more secure about their jobs

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a significant proportion of the healthcare employees we surveyed (14%) reportedly worked longer hours than normal.

What we didn’t expect to see were such high levels of job insecurity. One in five respondents who’ve continued to work as normal during the pandemic felt anxious about losing their jobs in 2021. This is a reminder that contract terms within healthcare can often be loose and uncertain. The need to boost job security is heightened by the fact that the fearful workers are nearly three times more likely to plan to change jobs over the next six months.

4. promote the benefits of technology to win workforce buy-in

Technology can play a key role in helping to make workloads more manageable. Yet the use of the latest technology is near the bottom of what makes an employer attractive among virtually all the different types of healthcare workers we surveyed.

It’s therefore important to explain the benefits of technology more effectively. This includes how it could help take care of the routine administrative work and enable employees to make more productive use of their working hours.

An engaged healthcare workforce is the lifeblood of a healthy healthcare organisation. To reduce the employee turnover rate in the healthcare industry, employers should give importance to mental well-being as it is equally important as the physical health of the healthcare workers.

download the full copy of the global healthcare professionals 2021 employer brand report.

healthcare trends 2021
healthcare trends 2021

To find out more about what healthcare talent wants and how to attract them, download the Randstad Employer Brand Research 2021 global sector report on healthcare professionals.

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