Personnel retention is one of the more pernicious issues that face executives, managers, and administrators. It takes time to bring even someone experienced up to speed at a specific organization. When they leave, so does that training, as well as the knowledge of how the organization and its processes work. Replacing people is expensive and time-consuming.
An organization is always better off focusing as much on retention as on hiring, so the best matches you find stay a long time. But what are the compelling things healthcare employers can offer? The site Health eCareers ran a survey of 19,754 healthcare job seekers early this year.
Part of the survey looked at the tools used to attract and retain employees — the things that seemed to motivate people most highly. Here are the top ten things employees mentioned employers offering, along with the percentage of the employees that mentioned each.
- Flexible work hours (25%)
- Increased compensation (18%)
- More vacation/paid time off (16%)
- Training and certification courses (15%)
- More interesting or challenging assignments (10%)
- Flexible work location/open to telecommuting (8%)
- High-level recognition (6%)
- Stock options/equity (5%)
- Promotion/new title (5%)
- Retention bonus (4%)
This is different from asking people what might motivate them. Instead, the list is of the tactics that employees noticed employers using, so it isn’t a compilation of the most effective practices. Instead, it shows what managers and executives think will attract and retain talent.
There are some patterns in the directions organizations have taken. For example, if you combine these into categories of like actions, you see the following four strategies, listed from most to least common:
- Flexible working arrangements
- Professional development and opportunities
- Official recognition
The division may sound familiar to people who have studied organizational psychology and HR theory. Although most people have some degree of monetary drive — they have to live in the world and might want to advance their comfort or security — on the balance there are other things of equal or greater importance.
Assuming for a moment that organizations will provide the conditions and benefits most wanted by employees, there is a significant desire for the flexibility to deal with family issues and have an adequate work-life balance.
Compensation is important, although a monetary emphasis also is due to another circumstance. According to the full report, “With more available jobs than professionals to fill them, salaries are on the rise.” In short, there’s a bidding war for help. That is an example of why you can’t assume that employer strategies necessarily strictly match employee preferences.
In that context, professional development might be even more important than it seems on the surface. People are interested in their long-range career development as well as the satisfaction of dealing with greater challenges.
In last place is official recognition. Certificates and mentions might be good, but employees may have more interest in substantial rewards.
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