Employee turnover rates are higher in healthcare than in virtually any other industry, including financial services, manufacturing, or education. There are many reasons, however, since the work healthcare professionals do is very different from work in other sectors, it can take a great toll on a person both physically and mentally.

Caring for residents, patients, and on some level their family and friends, is rewarding, but it can also be stressful. The 24/7 nature of healthcare services can result in unpredictable schedules. This unpredictable environment can lead to long hours that increases the risk of mistakes. Mistakes in this industry can literally be the difference between life and death.

For most, it can be easy to move to another organization, in fact, in areas with skilled healthcare worker shortages top talent is actively recruited. Nurses, for example, can find employment at many different organizations if they are looking for a better opportunity or more flexibility in their hours.

Although specific estimates vary, the nurse turnover costs between $42,000 and $64,000 per departure. For a large facility that employs 600 nurses and experiences a 20% turnover rate, the yearly estimated cost would be between $5 million and $7 million a year. In addition, it is also estimated that the average healthcare organization loses $300,000 per year for each percentage increase in annual nurse turnover. These costs are significant and indicate that healthcare facilities need to focus their efforts not only on recruiting, but also retention.

In a comprehensive study conducted by Rice University, the University of Pittsburgh, and Baylor College of Medicine, researchers found that attitudinal factors such employment satisfaction and emotional well-being are better predictors of turnover than compensation in certified nursing assistants working in long-term care facilities.

These findings are important because many long-term care organizations are unable to increase monetary compensation for nursing staff. However, they are able to make changes to improve their hiring process in order to increase employee satisfaction.

The first step toward decreasing turnover is understanding that not all employee turnover is the same. Overall turnover can be divided into two distinct categories. The first is involuntary, which is when an employee is released from their position. The second is voluntary, when the employee decides to leave.

Voluntary turnover can then be divided into two distinct categories, functional and dysfunctional. Functional attrition is when poor performers decide to leave the organization. Dysfunctional attrition is when top talent leave their positions.

Healthcare facilities must take steps to mitigate dysfunctional turnover early in the hiring process. This means re-examining different aspects of the hiring process, such as recruiting, selection, and onboarding. Focusing on these three areas will result in new hires who are not only a great match for their position, but are also more likely to stay with the organization.

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