Importance of Employee Retention

September 22, 2014 in Best of Both, leadership, management, work by MyBestofBothWorlds

Welcome Back to Management Mondays!

Today’s topic is the importance of employee retention.

Management Mondays

The importance of employee retention is critical to successful organizations.  As a manager-don’t you just dread getting a resignation letter?  Talk about a time-consuming process. I know I don’t like to get them.  It means usually losing someone who brings a certain degree of value and expertise to the department.  Now the long bureaucratic process commences.  Paperwork has to accompany the resignation letter, another form to fill out to request a replacement, you may even have to present a committee (which is scheduled to meet next week) to convince the powers that be that you NEED to re-fill this particular position, then you secure the appropriate approvals, get the job posted by Human Resources, place an on-line, print advertisement, maybe even send out an e-mail blast to you network of colleagues.  Then you and or your Human Resources recruiter must screen resumes and you must decide which ones are now worthy of an interview.  Scheduling the interview, coordinating the time with the appropriate supervisory member to participate (because we can’t forget about succession planning) and then the actual interview with the candidates.

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The process which is described above is labor intensive and requires many hours from your already busy schedule.  So this column will be part one of three about retaining employees and how to get star employees to join your team and then we will delve into the importance of the on-boarding / orientation process.  No matter how great your organization is, there will be turn over for various reasons related only to the employee’s personal life.  But keeping the turnover rate as low as possible benefits all involved, most importantly the patients you serve.

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Not convinced yet that employee retention is in your best interest, think about the money spent on the above process, now add in the hourly rate you make, the HR person, your supervisor, the hospital vacancy committee, the time spent checking references, back ground check, the cost of the candidate’s physical exam, drug screening, etc.  According to Corporate University X-change, organizations spend an average of 1.3 times the average salary for each healthcare worker they need to replace.  That’s not in my budget—is it in yours?  Probably not.

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My personal management philosophy is that we spend MANY of our waking hours at work, usually more than at home.  I feel personally responsible to make a place that employees want to come to work NOT have to come to work.  My expectations are to promote an atmosphere were in general people are happy and content.  I think it’s great if people are friends outside of work, but that is not a requirement.  We don’t have to become personal friends to be professionals that function as a team to provide high quality, compassionate care to our patients.


I have shared this sentiment many times during my tenure at various meetings, or small group encounters, even one on one.  It bears repeating at multiple opportunities so your staff understands expectations.

With this frame of reference, creating an environment of respect, open communication and good morale takes work and effort.  Communication skills are of the utmost importance, not only for you but for those supervisors that are directly over the line staff members.  According to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics voluntary statistics for healthcare the third quarter 2014, there is a 3.6% turnover rate on average in the industry.

For example, a Gallup reported that “employees don’t leave companies, they leave managers and supervisors. The impact that a supervisor has in today’s workplace can be either very valuable or very costly to the organization and the people who work there.” So keeping this in mind—guiding your supervisory staff along the same path is vital.  Having regularly scheduled supervisory meetings to keep them in the loop and then requiring them to have divisional meetings, in addition to a departmental general imaging staff meeting keeps information at the fore front.  People at all levels want to feel involved.  This leads to engagement.

If your company has organizational development classes, make it mandatory for the supervisory staff to attend.  If there are classes appropriate for line staff members, make whatever arrangements you can(without  sacrificing patient care) to get them to attend.  These “non-productive hours” are so valuable.  Employees will begin to feel appreciated that the company they work for “cares” about developing them as a professional.  Many of the organization development classes, like time management, conflict resolution etc. have techniques that can be used outside of the work environment enriching the employee’s personal life.

If your facility does not offer this type of training reach out to your vendors, for lunch and learns, on-line CE credits, conferences that your staff can attend.  There are many resources available if you inquiry—this does take time and effort as mentioned before—but in my opinion working on employee retention is a much better way to spend your time as it benefits those employees you already have and through word of mouth will attract similar professionals.