Healthcare News & Insights

Hospitals face hiring issues: How to respond

If it’s been harder for you to find quality staff at your hospital for all levels, whether it’s fellow executives or front-line nursing staff, you’re not alone. Hospitals are currently experiencing high levels of turnover. That, combined with a smaller talent pool, has made hiring difficult. 

A new report from Leaders for Today, a healthcare staffing firm, illustrates the scope of the problem for facilities. The firm surveyed hundreds of healthcare professionals, including C-suite executives, clinical and nonclinical administrators, nurses and doctors, to gauge their attitudes about being employed at hospitals.

And quite a few of them are fed up with their current positions.

Among the respondents, 37% plan to leave their current hospital within two years – and almost 69% are planning to leave within five years.

Trouble with staffing

Turnover is rampant throughout hospitals. More than half of those surveyed have worked for at least five different hospitals through their entire career. Just under 4% have worked at the same hospital for their whole career.

Two-year turnover is highest at both the clinical (47.4%) and nonclinical (42.5%) administrator levels. After five years, clinical administrators (66.9%) and C-suite executives (66.3%) have the highest turnover rates.

As you may expect, younger people are the most frequent job hoppers in hospitals. Nearly 53% of people under 30 have switched jobs at least once, and almost 83% of workers under 40 have done so.

Unstable staffing levels affect hospitals in many ways. They’re a significant contributor to rising burnout rates for doctors and nurses, which can hurt a facility’s quality of care. In addition, high turnover leads to understaffing – another factor that has a negative impact on care quality.

Burnout and long work hours were some of the top reasons why hospital workers left for a different position. Other reasons cited by survey participants included a promotion or better opportunity for advancement (27.4%) and better pay (14.4%).

Aging employees

Besides turnover, hospitals also must deal with another issue that reduces their workforce: retirement. Almost 48% of respondents said they planned to retire in the next 10 years. In other industries, only about 20% to 25% of employees typically retire in a 10-year period.

Even more alarming, 22% plan to retire within five years.

This means significant talent shortages are on the horizon for hospitals. So they’ll have to figure out how to better manage existing openings while anticipating more of them that must be filled down the line.

Next steps

Hospitals that want to buck the trend, and retain and attract talented employees need to heed some advice: Take the necessary steps to reduce burnout among staff (such as hiring more people and providing ways to relax onsite) and make sure there are ample opportunities available for employees to advance their careers and improve their skill sets while keeping them engaged.

Another idea: Look at ways to streamline your hiring and onboarding process. Over 92% of survey participants said a slow response time during this process could cause them to change their mind about working for a hospital. Improved communication is also a significant factor, as 50% of respondents take their name out of the running after not hearing back from a potential employer.

To survive in an industry that’s focused on quality and safety, it’s essential for hospitals to work at closing the talent gap and decreasing turnover among staff.

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