Top ways to boost healthcare recruitment and retention

Doctors discussing What will attract candidates to your healthcare organization and keep them — and current employees — in place? The answer is twofold, according to the Grant Thornton State of work survey.

As much as compassion is a draw to this industry, for the 831 healthcare respondents — workers and executives — compensation and benefits are highest in the list of reasons to either stay in place or find a new job. In the labor shortage environment that replaced the early-pandemic spike in unemployment, for the healthcare worker, job change is now a greater possibility. For the healthcare employer, job change is now a greater burden.

For the best chance of success in securing solid staffing, employers can learn from survey results what employees say is important in their job decisions.

Answers to ‘What’s keeping you?’ More than 5,000 respondents across business sectors, including the 831 in healthcare, ranked their priorities in a job. For healthcare professionals, staying with their current employer, at least for now, is for two top reasons — pay and health benefits. Their responses echo across sectors.

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Though compensation is above even health benefits as a reason to stay in place, healthcare employers lag behind employers in other sectors in providing bonuses. Offering this incentive could be a key to solving staffing issues.

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Another form of compensation — and another potential incentive — is more desired by healthcare professionals than by those in other sectors.

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Answers to ‘Why did/would you leave?’ Employees at risk of leaving include those who are on the fence, prime for a new employer to coax away by offering what is valued but not currently received.

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Of the 831 healthcare respondents, 21% had chosen to leave their previous employer for a job at a new company, and 5% had started their first job in healthcare after choosing among employers. They reported how they entered the search process.

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Most of those who took a new job did so with an increase in pay, addressing a top concern.

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Answers to ‘Why might you return?’ All might not be lost after losing employees to another employer. Many of the respondents in new jobs would consider a return to their previous employer, given the right incentive.

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Provide the reasons to come, stay or return
David Tyler“Make it easy for your employees to live their natural altruism at your organization. Prove your interest in what’s important to them, and make the trade-offs necessary to provide the truly valued forms of compensation.” --   David Tyler
Grant Thornton Healthcare Industry Leader
The healthcare workforce is uniquely vital. Healthcare workers have been hit hard by the pandemic, suffering the financial, family care and health reversals felt by all, but additionally experiencing burnout from the extreme pressures of providing care in overwhelmed facilities. Many felt compelled to leave their jobs, and some left the profession. In order to draw and keep skilled workers, employers need to seek — and continue to seek — insights about changing expectations.

The survey results revealed the top reasons that healthcare workers join, stay with, leave or return to an employer. Armed with this key information, take action to become an employer of choice:
  • Revisit your pay levels and health benefit program to ensure they’re competitive.
  • Consider increasing your bonus and incentive offerings, thinking beyond the traditional.
  • Make exiting your organization a pleasant experience, and ask exiting employees to keep in touch.
  • Communicate well and often with current employees, requesting and addressing responses.

For more strategies and examples of earning candidate interest and employee loyalty, see The evolving healthcare workforce: Caring for our caregivers.


David TylerDavid Tyler
Leader, Healthcare Industry
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