The healthcare industry has seen a lot of changes over the last few years, and HR priorities are changing right along with them. A recent report from Lattice reveals what HR professionals are most focused on in 2023: prioritizing employee retention over talent acquisition.


Lattice’s 2023 State of People Strategy Report collected insights from over 800 HR professionals from around the globe, including teams in North America and Europe, and synthesized the results into an overview of likely HR trends in 2023. Employee retention and engagement have surpassed talent acquisition as the focus for the majority of respondents; 39% called talent acquisition a “top priority” last year, but only 17% gave it the same importance this year. Employee engagement earned the top spot in the 2023 survey, named as a top priority 41% by HR professionals. Manager training (35%) and learning and development (34%) round out the top three for 2023.


These priorities reflect how healthcare leaders are trying to reorient themselves around a tight labor market and a few unusually challenging years that have seen high levels of burnout and frustration in the profession. With many healthcare professionals leaving the field altogether, organizations are concerned with stemming the exit tide and ensuring that critical talent has the support they need to stay long-term. As a result, 86% of HR professionals surveyed by Lattice say they’re putting more effort into improving employee engagement, while 83% say their companies are “somewhat” or “significantly” invested in retention than they were previously.


Retention efforts will look different for each organization, although some strategies are fairly effective across the board. Increased pay is one of the most obvious incentives to retain employees, but it’s not always possible to achieve. Other solutions might include better transparency (on pay and other aspects), career development opportunities, reliable support and time off, and clear career paths.


As we’ve all seen firsthand, retention is critical for every organization. Healthcare employees often enter the field with a sense of passion and purpose, but a poor experience or negative workplace culture can dull that enthusiasm and lead to them exiting the field. 2023 can be an opportunity for HR leaders in the industry to reshuffle priorities to focus on keeping top talent feeling positive and productive, while also thinking about long-term career potential. Handled well, it’s an opportunity to build a culture of care for everyone, both clients and employees alike.


By Tom Zeleny, NHA