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Thinking Out of the Box: Focusing on Retention Strategies

Posted by Patricia May on Jul 10, 2018 12:00:00 PM
Patricia May

Hospital Employee Retention Strategies

In today’s shortage of experienced operating room staff, ORs are attracting people with sign-on bonuses up to $20K, depending on the need and geographic location. But how do Operating Rooms retain staff long term and prevent them from moving on to the next hospital with a sign on bonus once their contract expires?

Time to Focus in on What’s Important:

One great way to gather insight into what is most important to your staff is by creating a focus group. These focus groups are most beneficial when they include members of different experience levels and employment lengths, so you can obtain a cross section of what the most important job satisfiers are to the different generations in your work force.

What makes your staff members feel appreciated? What makes them want to come to work each day? Most importantly, what makes them want to stay? You may be surprised to find that it may not always come down to money!

To get a holistic view of what’s included in your staff’s job satisfaction list, consider having them rank the following in order of importance: 

  • Work life balance
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Assistance with educational loan payment for those who have already completed higher education
  • Annual contribution to stock equity or profit sharing at a for-profit hospital
  • Incentives such as gift cards for exceeding monthly volume goals
  • Ability to leave early when cases are finished and not be penalized for hours not worked if scheduled for a 10 or 12-hour day
  • Financial Incentives

Once the focus group is completed, you will have a list of the top items your staff finds most important and would entice them to continue their employment with your hospital. The next step would be to strategize on how to present the top 2 or 3 options to senior hospital leadership for consideration.

Here are a Few Great Persuasive Arguments to Get You Started: 

  • Work life balance is becoming more important to most people. The stresses we all carry from day to day can easily become overwhelming and may cause us to make more mistakes. Implementing a program that addresses this much-needed perk can help address the dreaded OR staff burnout.
  • As more and more ORs are requiring the RN staff to hold a BSN or higher degree, educational cost reimbursement could be an excellent perk. This will not only help you hold on to your current staff but can also serve as a great incentive for new people to get on board!
  • Every hospital wants highly qualified experts to join their team and stay. That’s what makes your hospital great! Why not reward those experts by expanding the tuition reimbursement program to those who have already completed their higher degrees with a loan repayment incentive?
  • Everyone loves a good retirement plan! Why not meet your employees half way and reward their hard work with contributions to your hospital’s success?
  • If incentives for exceeding goals is on their list, you must make sure to be clear about the goals they are working to achieve. Everyone needs to be on the same page to reach and exceed goals, especially if they are in contention for a reward!
  • If leaving early is a major perk, you can achieve this by being creative. Solutions could include having one week per month where staff would not be required to stay past their shift. Another perk might be, as long as the staff has finished stocking and preparing the room for the next day, they can leave early and earn their full hours as worked.
  • If money comes up as a win for staff, an idea could be an additional $1,000 per year of employment, greater than 5 years, when goals are achieved. The staff member could have the choice to deposit the contribution into a retirement fund or take a cash payment over the course of the year. It would feel like your employees are winning the lottery by being a part of your team! Who wouldn’t love that?!

Keep Them Coming Back for More!

As you can see, job satisfaction means a lot of different things to different people. Everyone wants to go to work somewhere they feel appreciated and compensated for their hard work. The key is finding out what means the most to those who keep your ORs running like well-oiled machines, incentivize them to keep doing a great job and keep them coming back for more!

For more great information on employee satisfaction, be sure to check out this blog post:                            Suffering From Poor Staff Engagement? Here are 6 Tips to Boost Morale

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