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Keys to Employee Retention–Tip of the Week


The shortage of nurses is nothing new.  Within a decade or so, unless the shortage is rectified, medical care is expected to be in a full-blown crisis.  After experimenting with huge signing bonuses, giving new hires SUV’s, sending them to the Bahamas for free vacations, and offering other cockimamie prizes, hospitals and medical centers recognized that nurses remained in their jobs long enough to collect the prizes and then moved on to other hospitals with better incentives.  Hospitals have also figured out what nurses want for a meaningful career.  As it turns out, they want what most employees want.  These lessons learned by hospitals translate into keys for retaining employees in all sorts of jobs.

They want better working conditions more than money:  less paperwork and more time to do their jobs; flexible hours, even being able to set their own hours; a say in what kind of equipment they need; being able to voice their opinion and it be heard; more authority; anything amounting to autonomy; an amount of work they can actually do with proficiency (instead of so much work that they can’t get it done no matter how many hours they put in); more training to do their jobs effectively; a “concierge” of sorts to help them balance their work lives and their personal lives.  One nurse summed it up this way:  “It’s important for me to know that what I do matters.”

She wasn’t just speaking for nurses.  She was speaking for all employees.  You may not be able to provide your employees with everything listed above, but you can do some of those things.  You can make them feel that what they do matters.  Who doesn’t want that?  Who won’t stay with an employer that gives its employees that feeling?  Of course, this way of doing things doesn’t just help employees.  It helps employers, not only with retention, but with making the best possible products and providing the best possible services.  As another nurse at a hospital where this philosophy has been adopted recently said, “Everyone is looking to grow–how can I make this place better?”

  1. John Phillips says:

    Thanks for the link.

  2. Imagine that. I have been a nurse for 30 years and Admin still hasn’t figured out what you so concisely stated. I HAVE BEEN SCREAMING IT FOR YEARS and so have the rest of the 2.5 million RN’s* (

    So I am getting out of nursing. Too bad for you. You lost a Great Nurse to Bureaucratic BS

  3. John Phillips says:

    I can understand your frustration, but I hope you’ll reconsider. We need nurses, good nurses. I’m sure 30 years of experience puts you in that category. Whatever you decide, good luck.



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