Keep Your Nurse Practitioners from Jumping Jobs With These Retention Tips

Kara Malone

The job market is presently showing an engagement problem in tandem with historically low unemployment. This means that employees are well aware of their power; there are far more job openings than there is available talent. How can healthcare facilities work to improve employee retention while also increasing their new hire talent pool?

Employee Engagement Increasing – Sort Of

The latest Gallup Poll numbers have been trumpeting that employee engagement is increasing. But frankly, their numbers still illustrate that 66 percent of the American workforce is actively disengaged. When you add that figure to the very low unemployment rate in the U.S. it equals a high probability that your nurse practitioners are at risk for jumping ship well before you’d like them to.

On average, Becker’s says the healthcare industry is adding 35,000 jobs annually. That’s good news for the economy, of course, but look at all the turnover we experience:

  • annually, a hospital turnover of around 17 percent;
  • certified nursing assistant turnover of 23.8 percent; and
  • bedside RN turnover of 17.2 percent.

One of the latest cultural surveys on the healthcare landscape suggests 50 percent of  the industry says they don’t have enough staff to share the workload. This requires all team members, including nurse practitioners, to work harder. Putting this additional pressure on these teams adds to the flight risk. What can healthcare employers do to mitigate risk and retain their best and brightest?

NP Retention Ideas

We can take some interesting ideas from a few resources, including The Advisory Board. Check out the following suggestions:

  • Retention starts with recruiting! Identify what aspects of culture and strategy you want to emphasize and seek those specific qualities out in your candidates. Hiring should be looked at as a long game, so taking steps to ensure each employee is engaged with and part of the organization’s ongoing success is key.
  • Identify candidates who will stick. Keeping with the theme above, it’s so important to look for candidates that will be with your organization for years to come. Look for candidates with longevity at their previous jobs. This speaks to commitment and engagement. If it is not clear through their resume (ie: many locums roles), you can have a conversation specific to this factor and make a decision for yourself if they are making you feel confident about committing to your position in the long run.
  • Opportunities for advancement are crucial this day and age. Everyone should be offered a path of career development, including support for additional training and education, which proves to be seen as an investment in employees’ worth and an incentive to stay with your team. It helps employees feel that they are valued and an important part of the organization’s success, keeping them fulfilled and motivated.
  • Along the same lines, offer and improve tuition reimbursement to help nurse practitioners improve their skills. Consider accepting applicants with concrete job skills and then help them improve with access to advanced training.
  • Offer the right benefits. Benefits and perks help to keep employees happy, healthy, and engaged. Benefits extend past healthcare coverage and PTO. You could consider offering financial incentives for performance goals, flexible work schedules, opportunities to work remotely, generous paid leave policies. We are finding that flexible working arrangements rank in the top benefits for retaining talent.
  • Keep an open line of communication between employees and management. This helps to create a sense of community, allowing employees to offer ideas and ask questions as part of an ‘open door policy’. It builds trust and allows everyone to grow together.
  • Modernize hiring practices to make it easier for candidates to apply and faster to screen and hired. Today’s NP’s are eager to get started, so the days of 30-minute online applications should be modernized to 10 minutes on a phone, on the go. Reducing the days to hire is critically important in a market rife with healthcare competitors. Setting up technology to automate the hiring process, while using website online chatbots to engage visitors, are all smart ways to speed up outdated hiring practices.
  • Be prepared for turnover. At the end of the day, sometimes, turnover is inevitable – especially for star talent having a lot to offer. Continue to grow your ideas of retaining your employees, but keep your strategies in line should you lose a top player to their dream job.

Find Your Next Nurse Practitioner Today!

Work with MedSource Consultants to find and retain top talent. Talk with one of our talent specialists today to determine how we can help you in today’s labor shortage.