7 Ways to Prevent Employee Turnover

Employee retention is emerging as a critical make-or-break factor for organizations across all industries.

According to employee sentiment surveys, 46% of workers are looking or planning to look for a new role in 2023.

Combine this intel with worsening labor shortages — brought about by the pandemic, an exodus of Baby Boomers from the workforce, and ever-widening skills gaps — and the urgency for companies to implement effective retention strategies only intensifies.

Organizations must actively reduce turnover risks to keep their skilled workforce and avoid today’s highly competitive talent acquisition frenzy.

So is your business doing enough to drive employee satisfaction and retain highly valued, in-demand talent?

We’ll explore the benefits of doing so and the primary reasons behind employee turnover and healthcare turnover, specifically. Then we’ll share seven practical, proven methods for employers to increase employee engagement and loyalty.

Let’s begin by discussing:

The benefits of higher employee retention

Employee retention refers to an organization’s ability to keep its productive, talented workers happy so they don’t leave for other roles. The benefits of higher employee retention rates include:

  • A more skilled & experienced workforce
  • Increased revenue
  • Better patient outcomes and satisfaction scores
  • Engaged, motivated, trustworthy teams
  • Higher employee morale, loyalty, and belonging
  • Strong, cohesive company culture
  • Greater work efficiency, productivity, and performance
  • Higher customer satisfaction and customer loyalty
  • Greater ability to recruit new talent and reduce staffing and training costs

Those gains are beneficial for any organization’s goals.

Conversely, employee turnover, which refers to the rate at which employees leave an organization and must be replaced by new hires, does the opposite.

The challenges of high employee turnover

Organizations with high turnover rates suffer from:

  • Diminished productivity
  • Loss of brand reputation, lower revenue, and decreased customer loyalty
  • Poor patient outcomes and lower patient satisfaction scores
  • Loss of proprietary or institutional knowledge
  • Understaffed teams and high employee burnout rates
  • Lower employee morale and hostile work environments
  • Higher recruiting and sourcing expenses
  • Increased training and onboarding time/expense
  • Difficulty attracting new talent

Preventing these adverse outcomes starts by understanding why your employees may feel dissatisfied.

The primary drivers of employee turnover

According to employee surveys and exit interviews, the most common reasons workers are leaving their jobs include:

  • Retirement
  • Career advancement/better opportunities for growth elsewhere
  • Higher compensation
  • Better employee benefits packages
  • Lack of workplace or schedule flexibility
  • Poor work-life balance
  • Feeling unsupported or overworked
  • Dissatisfaction with an undefined or non-inclusive company culture
  • Lack of employee recognition
  • Lack of teamwork and belonging
  • Worries about the company’s direction/financial stability/growth
  • Disagreements with management

These issues are widespread across industries and certainly impact healthcare turnover rates. However, 89% of healthcare workers considering leaving the field cite burnout as the primary motivator.

Why preventing burnout remains a top priority in healthcare

Healthcare workers are especially prone to burnout, or the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion resulting from chronic work-related stress and excessive demands.

Long hours, emotionally taxing situations, high patient caseloads, understaffed teams, and limited resources increase the desire among healthcare employees to look for new opportunities or leave the industry altogether.

Recent data reveals that:

  • 40% of physicians and up to 56% of nurses feel emotionally drained, used up, fatigued, and burned out a few times a week to every day.
  • 52% of nurses are considering leaving their current position due to insufficient staffing, work negatively affecting their health and well-being, and the inability to deliver quality care.
  • 28% of respondents in one survey admit they have quit a healthcare job due to burnout.
  • Passive job seekers (those not actively looking for a new job but are open to new opportunities) increased from 38% in 2020 to 47% in 2022.
  • 36% of hospital nurses say they will seek a new place of employment in 2023.
  • Less than 20% of nurses plan to stay with their current employer for more than three years; 30% plan to leave in the next two to three years.

- 800,000 RNs and 184,000 LPNs/LVNs indicate they are likely to leave nursing by 2027. That equates to ~20% of the US’ licensed RN and LPN/LVN workforces.

The most common motivators for nurses to change work settings, employers, or leave the profession are dissatisfaction with management (41%), better pay (38%), lower mental health risks (33%), and more flexible hours (32%).

These should be the first areas your retention strategies address.

Start with these employee retention strategies

Retention strategies have been such an evolving landscape the last few years, and we’ve been eager to share our findings to help organizations discover the right ones to implement for their teams.

Before we spotlight our most recent retention tips, let’s recap the ones we believe your team should add to their list first:

We won’t spend time exploring those ideas again here. We highly encourage you to click those links to dive into the research and insights behind why those employee retention strategies work and how to follow them.

How to retain employees in 2023 & beyond

Opportunities for talented professionals with sought-after skills arise swiftly and often. But employees who feel valued by their employers and engaged and satisfied in their jobs rarely leave.

These employee retention strategies will help you accomplish those goals and safeguard your organization from turnover:

1. Be transparent about your company’s goals & direction

Your employees want to know what your organization is working toward and how they can contribute to its success. So keep your team in the loop to manage expectations and anxiety and foster more engagement, collaboration, and teamwork.

Try to avoid the generic company email here. Aim to establish personal connections by sharing announcements in small groups on-shift or during manager one-to-ones, for example.

Always leave time to answer questions and listen to feedback. Professionals thrive at work when they feel a sense of autonomy and control. So actively involve employees in decision-making processes and solicit their input.

Empowering them with decision-making authority and involving them in key organizational processes increases job satisfaction and retention.

2. Ensure your compensation package is still competitive

According to [one study](https://www.forbes.com/sites/ethansteinberg/2022/07/28/want-a-pay-raise-switching-jobs-matters-much-more-amid-soaring-inflation-report-finds/), workers who left their employers for new opportunities during the Great Resignation increased their pay by ~10% — yet those who remained in their roles saw an inflation-adjusted loss of 2%.

Research highlights that a salary boost is the main reason 65% of professionals seek a new job. So companies are increasingly leveraging competitive compensation packages, including salary, bonuses, and comprehensive benefits, to lure away top talent.

Your compensation and benefits packages may have been competitive when your employees were first hired. But how do they fare now?

This is one of the most critical factors in employee satisfaction and retention. It’s imperative to align your salaries and benefits with other companies in your industry and region. Regularly accessing real-time labor market data can assist you with this task.

Other attractive employee benefits and perks include:

  • Paid parental leave
  • Childcare and eldercare stipends or discounts
  • Loan or tuition assistance
  • Milestone bonuses

3. Prioritize a healthy work-life balance

Employees must balance their work and personal lives to be happy and productive. Prioritizing a healthy work-life balance increases engagement and retention and reduces the risk of employee burnout.

To establish healthy work-life balances for your teams:

  • Offer flexible work arrangements
  • Provide generous PTO, including vacation and sick leave
  • Promote time-off policies and encourage mental health days
  • Discourage checking in when off — especially managers
  • Strongly limit overtime work
  • Give employees extra time off if they must work overtime
  • Allow employees to sign up for rotating shifts rather than assigning a set schedule when available.

Supporting work-life integration for shift workers is also one of the best ways to retain healthcare employees. HR can help develop policies and programs that support shift workers in managing their personal and professional responsibilities.

4. Prevent burnout with additional wellness resources

The nature of healthcare work exposes professionals to mentally and emotionally taxing situations and physical strain. But burnout can happen to employees in any industry.

To demonstrate that your organization cares about employee well-being, it should institute support systems, mental health resources, and wellness programs to help mitigate the impact of stress.

To support your team:

  • Give employees access to mental health benefits. This could include providing confidential on-site counseling or subsidizing the cost of therapy. It may also mean adding extra mental health PTO days.
  • Promote self-care practices during wellness programs that teach employees how to manage stress, practice yoga or meditation, take care of their physical health, etc.
  • Add employee perks like gym memberships, on-site Tai Chi classes, meditation app subscriptions, and more so they don’t neglect their health when stressed. Incentives for employees who engage in these activities or use wearable devices to track their physical health are highly motivating.
  • Foster a supportive work environment. Hold classes to improve your employees’ emotional intelligence and interpersonal dynamics, which may be causing friction or stress.
  • Encourage regular breaks and downtime. Give employees adequate time to rest and recharge. Stock your break room with healthy eating options.

5. Develop effective leaders

When organizations fail to provide clear paths for advancement and professional development, employees often become disengaged and seek opportunities elsewhere.

So as more Baby Boomers retire, filling high-level leadership roles from within allows you to retain experienced employees from younger generations and support their growth.

To invest in your leaders of tomorrow, today:

  • Create leadership development programs for high-potential employees and those most at risk of leaving for advancement. Engage in mentorships and peer-to-peer coaching to support their desire for professional growth.
  • Recognize and promote internal talent to fill leadership positions whenever possible.
  • Train and support existing managers to become influential leaders who inspire, motivate, and empower their teams.

Remember, dissatisfaction with management remains one of the top three reasons employees seek other opportunities. As the familiar adage highlights, “People don't quit companies; they quit bosses.”

So teaching your managers strong leadership skills further reduces the chances of turnover.

6. Participate in frequent performance reviews

Annual performance reviews are going out of favor because they don’t give organizations an accurate assessment or gauge of where employees excel and struggle.

Meeting more frequently allows your team to better connect with and engage with employees. In addition to constructive feedback, these one-to-ones can be used to discuss your employees’ interests, concerns, and short- and long-term professional goals. You’ll receive insight into your employees’ workload, job satisfaction, creative ideas, and more.

Learning these can help your HR and leadership teams ensure they do everything possible to keep employees happy and productive. You’ll know exactly how to motivate them to visualize their future with your organization, whether by discussing career path options, courses to take, mentors to network with, etc.

7. Listen to employee feedback, be flexible, & take action

Employees are more likely to stay with a company if they feel their voices are heard and their concerns are taken seriously. Regularly solicit feedback from your team and take action to address any issues they raise.

To open a dialogue with your employees:

  • Create communication channels for employees to provide suggestions, voice concerns, and share ideas.
  • Conduct regular employee surveys or focus groups to gauge satisfaction levels and identify areas for improvement.
  • Reserve a time each week/month to encourage employees to share their stories and experiences that highlight their meaningful work.

The work environment is rapidly changing, so flexibility and adaptability are vital. What works today may not work tomorrow, so be willing to change your approach as needed.

Actively address concerns and suggestions raised by employees to demonstrate that their voices are heard and that management supports them. Implement feedback-based changes to show your commitment to belonging and continuous improvement.

Aim for engagement, gain higher retention

In the wake of today’s talent shortages, employee retention is critical for organizations across industries. Healthcare employers, in particular, must urgently address turnover and burnout among their workforce or risk the dangers of understaffed teams.

Implement today’s strategies, and your organization will create a work environment that supports employee well-being, encourages professional growth, and promotes job satisfaction. These perks will build a resilient, engaged, committed workforce while preventing employee turnover and reducing costs.

Still, there will always be employees who aren’t the right fit for your organization and decide to leave. And that can be a good thing.

Relode leverages strategic sourcing to recruit for retention

By leveraging our human expertise, AI, and automation, our data-driven approach to identifying and sourcing candidates more likely to stay with your organization results in perfect-fit, Relode-Certified candidates.

We consider factors such as company culture alignment, long-term career growth opportunities, and a solid commitment to your organization's values and mission to vet and submit candidates eager to thrive on your team.

So in the event of employee turnovers, we’ll help you overcome staffing shortages, navigate the competitive talent acquisition landscape, and hire stronger candidates than those you lose.

Our 2023 State of Sourcing Report dives into the art and science powering Relode’s success. You can learn more by reading this post next: Trends in Talent Sourcing: Human Connection Meets Technology.