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Retaining Employees in the Medical Field


Managers are never happy when a skilled, high-value employee decides to resign. In every industry this presents a hassle, an expense, and sometimes a personal loss. But in the medical field, this can blow can strike especially hard. Rare skills can be very hard to find in this profession, and overlapping skill sets—like the perfect blend of clinical expertise, experience, and empathy—can be even more elusive. So to keep your hiring expenses and headaches under control, you’ll need to work hard to hold onto the talented team members you already have. Here are a few simple moves that can help.

Listen Carefully…Before it’s Too Late

If you ask your departing employees what pushed them out the door, most of them will provide any or all of these three reasons: 1.) A salary that’s too low, 2) An excessive, intolerable, or uncompensated workload that interferes with mental and physical health, or 3) an unacceptable company culture. These are all common reasons for a resignation, and there’s a strong chance you’ve heard these complaints—perhaps from this very employee—in the past. Listen closely and read between the lines and you won’t miss this message in the future.

Complement Exit Interviews with Stay interviews

Of course you’ll want to present your departing employees with carefully drafted exit interviews that encourage honest and in-depth answers. But while you’re at it, consider circulating annual or semi-annual interviews or surveys to the employees who remain on your teams. Ask them why they decide to stay and why they’ve been so loyal to the company, and encourage them to keep their responses specific.

Don’t Foster an Adversarial Relationship

Don’t nickel and dime your employees on expenses, supplies, or salary negotiations. If set up an adversarial dialogue and negotiate fiercely with them over every concession, you’ll make it clear that the two of you are on opposing sides and neither can win unless they do so at the expense of the other. This isn’t a healthy dynamic…for you. Your employees won’t ultimately suffer; they’ll just find employment elsewhere. But your own business, hospital, or clinic will suffer on multiple levels. First and foremost, you’ll be creating a deeply toxic culture that can’t be reversed or fixed without extensive effort and time.

Respect Their Time

When employees come to work for you they bring their talent, but they also bring their time. Ambitious employees who offer you three years, five years, or ten years of their productive working lives will need to be compensated with more than just a paycheck. Offer the training and exposure they need in order to grow, and when they’re ready to advance, provide an upward path. If you can’t, someone else will.

For more on how to respect and retain your most valuable human assets, reach out to the staffing and management experts at SCP.

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