Employee Retention

William R. Pupkis, CMPE, Healthcare Consultant

Employee RetentionRecruiting new staff is much more expensive, stressful, and time-consuming than retaining your current employees. Losing a good employee means you lose that person’s knowledge, need to perform a costly search for a replacement, and have to take the time to train the new hire. Also keep in mind that the Baby Boomer generation (age 50+), who number 76 million, are approaching retirement. Their successors, Generation X, only number 44 million, which will leave a deficit in the workforce. In other words, once you have good staff, it pays to make sure they stay.

It has been my experience that people leave managers or supervisors more often than they leave practices or jobs. It is not enough for a supervisor to have excellent interpersonal skills. A manager plays a critical role in employee retention and must be able to convey clear direction and expectations to the staff.

During an employee’s first few weeks on the job, you need to provide him or her with constructive feedback. Both formal and informal reviews should be given to all employees throughout the year. Exit interviews with departing employees can provide valuable information to help you keep remaining staff; you will rarely receive a more significant source of data about the health of your practice. I have found the most common employee complaints to be:

  • Unclear job expectations
  • No feedback on performance
  • Job or workplace not as employee expected
  • Mismatch between job and employee (right person, wrong job)
  • Failure to hold scheduled meetings
  • Lack of a system in which employee believes he or she can succeed

When an employee is floundering, I look to the words of W. Edwards Deming, “What about the work system is causing the person to fail?” More often than not, the answer is time, tools, training, temperament, or talent. The easiest issues to solve, and the ones most affecting employee retention, are tools, time, and training. Employees who do not receive what they need to perform their jobs will move on to employers who can supply their requirements.

Employees want to feel valued, but that does not mean money is always the key issue. Relationships, job fulfillment, and recognition are just as important. A gesture as small as a surprise gas card or retail gift certificate in appreciation of a job well done can generate positive feelings. Something that costs very little, but can greatly contribute to employee retention, is instilling an encouraging work culture. Make an effort to establish a series of values, such as honesty, excellence, respect, teamwork, and a good attitude as the basis of your culture. A practice that can create a positive environment for its staff will have an advantage when it comes to attracting and keeping employees.

Remember that employees want to feel appreciated and need to receive clear guidance and performance feedback from their supervisors. Employers who listen to employees, respect their opinions, and base rewards on performance have a better chance at retention than those who do not. Implementing these strategies will help keep your turnover costs low and practice morale high.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, February 20th, 2014 at 5:47 pm and is filed under Practice Management. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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