Everyone is aware that high-turnover and poor retention rates in any company are bad for business and a clear sign of poor management and working culture, but how do you know how much nurse turnover is costing?
You can use an employee cost calculator to see how much nurse turnover costs you specifically, or you can look at the stats. For example, 50-60% of an employee’s annual salary is the direct cost of replacing that employee. If your nurse turnover is too high, you can guarantee it’s costing.
Why is it a problem?
Nurse turnover is clearly a tricky issue to solve. There’s expected to be a global nurse shortage of 9 million by 2030, and in 2018, 2,500 more nurses and midwives left the UK register than joined it for the first time. Many of those leaving the profession have years of invaluable experience, that cannot be easily replaced without significant time and investment.
The workload that so many nurses face is daunting, and the deficit of nurses reflects a sense of not feeling valued, having poor work-life balance, nurses being pushed into lower bands as well as the manifestation of various other daily pressures. Around 10% of nurses intend to leave the profession and 1-in-10 sick days taken by nurses are because of stress or depression. These rising rates of mental health-related sickness and leaving nursing altogether is symptomatic of a systematically poor work culture lacking in investment and poor retention.
What can you do about it?
If you recognise there’s a retention issue in your organisation, you’ve taken the first step in identifying the problem, but what steps can you take towards a sustainable solution? Nurse retention has taken a global downwards turn, with higher levels of nurse turnover, so taking action to improve things might seem like a drop in the ocean. However, setting a precedent for changing nurse’s working cultures is something that will be viewed as attractive to potential recruits and current staff in itself.
Have the right team.
Retaining your best employees is key to creating a working environment in which recruits see that great nurses are valued. However, it’s also important to know you’re hiring the right person who will be reliable and, if you positively impact the work culture, will be much more likely to stick around.
You can find the right recruits through your hiring process. Merely seeing a list of qualifications does not supply you with the knowledge of how committed someone is and other traits. Using tools such as psychometric testing will make sure the person you bring on board meets the right criteria.
Give your nurses incentive.
Hiring the world’s most dedicated nurse is only part of the challenge. They need to feel valued and need to grow whilst in employment. Investing in staff development and training one of the best things you can do to ensure this. It’s already in the job description that they need specific qualifications, but going above and beyond to make sure they get extra training will not only inspire loyalty but much higher levels of competency.
Also, consider which wellbeing boosting areas you can outperform other nurse employers. Perhaps changes to maternity leave policy, such as implementing opportunities for more flexible work for new parents.
There’s also been talk about companies adopting a four-day working week, instead of 5, at the same rate of pay. Recent research has shown that this model boosts productivity as well as employee wellbeing. However, this sort of work structure would be difficult to implement in the healthcare service; sick people can’t pick and choose when they need care, and there’s not enough staff to administer it. It’s still worth bearing in mind what a significant impact an employer prioritising their employee well being can have.
Taking actions such as the examples above will save you money in the long run, as you’re nurse turnover rates will start to decrease. You will be seen as a desirable employer who invests in their staff, and you can build a reputation for exceptional quality of care as well as being a quality employer.
To conclude, valuing and encouraging nurse wellbeing as well as investing in employee development are two practical steps you can take to reduce nurse turnover costs and improve retention. The issue of increasing turnover won’t be solved overnight, but by doing your bit, you can have a positive impact and set an example that will improve the overall culture.
Iverscare prioritises the wellbeing and safety of both staff and patients to ensure consistent high-quality care. If you are looking for a new role within healthcare, check out our latest vacancies.