The reputation of a toxic working environment spreads quicker these days than black mold. With the online workplace rating information sites that tell all, social media and even professional platforms accessible to anyone who might be looking to change or enter the healthcare field, employers need to strengthen their company culture now. This is especially true for healthcare organizations with hiring and retention issues. Look within to find the reason you can’t secure the excellent nursing staff upon which reputations are built.
Your healthcare organization’s culture significantly impacts employee satisfaction. If your nursing staff is dissatisfied and sees no other recourse than to leave, they will. And according to statistics, they are. That directly and negatively affects patient care. Hiring becomes difficult as word gets out that the company culture is not employee-friendly.
If you want proof that company culture matters, look no further than a recent article published in Business News Daily. A group of potential employees were surveyed and the majority indicated they look for a positive workplace culture before pursuing employment there. Those surveyed agree that fair and competitive compensation, along with benefits, are attractive. Keeping employees happy requires a positive workplace environment.
The Struggle to Retain Depends on Your Company Culture
Healthcare workers are already struggling even under the best of environments. In the wake of the global pandemic, short staffing, erratic work hours, scattered and disorganized work spaces, lack of proper equipment and on and on cause many a great healthcare worker to run for the exit door.
According to Altarum, the healthcare economic monthly newsletter, hospital employment has decreased a whopping 94,000 since February of 2020. 8,000 of those who left their employment in healthcare did so between August and September of 2021. That’s staggering.
What’s more the shortage is predicted to become critical within the next three years. At a time when the huge baby boomer population begins aging out and taxing the system, data shows a need for 3.6 million more healthcare workers by 2026.
You Must Make the Effort to Improve The Culture of Your Healthcare Organization
How can your healthcare organization prepare for what appears to be a dire situation? It’s imperative to the foundation of patient care and the success of your healthcare organization that you hire and retain quality nursing staff. How do you do that? Recognize and repair what’s broken in the culture of your healthcare organization.
Attracting good people to fill your nursing staff needs requires a diligent effort on your part to determine what your company culture needs to look like. Some serious attention to detail is necessary and you may not be popular as the changes unfold. But, rest assured you’re doing what you need to do to create a culture and environment that’s in it for the long haul. You and only you must make the effort to improve your company culture.
Here we offer some tips and strategies to help you create a company culture and workplace environment to which outstanding nurses will flock.
Be Clear on Your Vision and Values
You can’t be intentional about company culture without a clear vision of who you are and what you stand for. Only then can you engage employees in your mission and only then can these employees see the way to their success. Your vision for your company is multi-faceted and should include your core values, how you define success as far as patient care and what you see as excellence in nursing staff performance. The real challenge is in getting your vision and values across to your staff in a way that is easy to understand. Incentivize your staff through recognition and reward.
Those among your nursing staff who clearly embody your mission, vision and values are the best example for others. When you reward excellence you’re sending a clear message that these are the attributes you recognize and want the team to share. Call out these standard bearers at staff meetings and praise their contributions. Let those who rise to the occasion know you see their hard work and applaud their efforts.
Boost Your Branding
While you’re striving to create a values-driven culture don’t neglect your healthcare organization’s brand as it is seen by the rest of the community. Form partnerships with community organizations and get out there so you are seen. Encourage service among your non-medical staff. Show that you really do care about the health and wellness of the entire community. This type of messaging promotes a strong company culture and speaks to the heart of every caregiver and puts you at the top of the list with the caliber of new hire you want and need.
Communication break down signals a fissure in your company culture. When you can’t communicate effectively and positively with your nursing staff things can go from bad to worse real fast. Suddenly there’s a revolving door and staff turnover is rampant.
Work on your communication skills and learn the best ways to get your point across in a positive and healthy manner. Remember not everyone hears things the same way. Ask questions and follow ups to ensure all of your nursing staff understands what’s expected and how they fit into the healthcare organization’s vision. This promotes ownership of the organization’s big picture and your nursing staff sees how to work toward the vision of excellence. By clearly communicating expectations your staff understands they have a stake in the outcome, which in turn promotes dedication and loyalty.
One of the biggest threats to your healthcare organization’s company culture is nursing staff burnout. When burnout hits a stiff member they don’t just become complacent they begin to lean into apathy. Even the best healthcare workplace environment suffers staff burnout from time to time. The best way to prevent it from turning into a full on inferno and affecting a majority of staff members is by getting ahead of it.
When you foster connections through mentorship programs as part of your new hires’ onboarding program, they have an automatic “touchstone”; someone they can turn to when the going gets rough. Just having this type of support helps when the stress of professional caregiving becomes too much. In addition to a mentor, provide your nurses with opportunities for self-care. Provide counseling, offer PTO for a “me day” and even the occasional spa treatment. Show your nurses they are valued.
Ask for Assessments from Patients and Staff; Then Act on Them
Busy administrators don’t always have the time to pay attention to every detail but if you want to embrace a healthy and desirable company culture that’s exactly what you need to do. Streamline your efforts by requesting feedback from your staff and your patients. You may be surprised by what you find out-good and bad.
If you see a need for action do so immediately. Your staff and your patients place an inordinate amount of trust in you. The best thing you can do is let them know you take their words to heart.
Transparency Leads to Trust
Obviously some of what happens in the workplace needs to be kept confidential. And if it involves patient care HIPAA prevents you from sharing any of it. But when you are in the hiring stage new hires appreciate transparency as it pertains to their day-to-day duties as a member of your nursing staff.
Every healthcare organization has certain protocols and procedures. Let your potential new hire know these things along with any other pertinent information before the onboarding process. Not only does this present your healthcare organization as an open book (insofar as staff duties) but also demonstrates your desire to communicate effectively from the start.
Recruiting and Hiring Strategies
So as you can see culture and hiring go hand-in-hand. You can’t hope to attract great new hires for your nursing staff and expect to retain those wonderful nurses unless you fix or improve your company culture. Things like a toxic work environment, poor communication, zero incentives for a job well done and poor growth opportunities are not employee problems. They are organizational issues that must be corrected.
In addition to boosting your desirability and recruitment strategy through enhanced company culture there are some hiring tips to help you once you attract these outstanding potential new hires.
Sell a Career, Not Just a Job
Generate an awareness for growth opportunities within the healthcare field and make sure they understand the opportunities for growth your organization provides. Every new hire wants to know there is a future. Help them see the rewards of such a career long term instead of just “the job” for which they’re interviewing.
Today’s healthcare organizations offer incentives beyond the competitive salary and amazing benefits. In fact for those healthcare workers looking for a job knowing the compensation and benefits going into the hiring process helps but other incentives really sweeten the pot. Here are some ideas beyond salary and benefits your healthcare organization may wish to consider:
- Unique training and certification opportunities
- Ways to earn additional PTO
- Flex schedules and shifts
- Special bonuses, perks and rewards
And remember, if you can’t quite meet their salary needs, ask them for other options to help them out.
Make Technology Work For You
A virtual platform for conducting your early interviews is a great idea, for a few reasons. It opens up the field of candidates to those who may want to relocate and allows you to interview without placing the burden of travel on them. Virtual interviews save time and money. And it allows both the healthcare organization and the nursing staff candidate to see each other and determine the fit with the company culture.
Involve Current Staff
Your current nursing staff is better equipped to see your candidate on the job and promote the company culture. They know how things work and can offer a peek inside the job. There’s no more valuable recruitment tool than an outstanding member of your nursing staff.
And not only are your valuable employees great when it comes to encouraging the candidate to come on board, but they very likely have a network of potential job candidates. Offer referral bonuses to your current nursing staff as extra incentive.
Finally, if you have an opportunity for a promotion or even a lateral career move for current nursing staff try to fill the opening from within first.
Don’t Forget About Temporary Staffing
Short term temporary staff fills an immediate opening and allows you the opportunity to see how the new staff member meshes with the rest of the healthcare team and your organization. Overtaxing your current staff in order to cover a shortage is never a good idea, even temporarily. With today’s nursing shortage you certainly don’t want to risk losing a valued member of your nursing staff. But when you fill your opening with a traveling nurse or a nurse from a medical staffing agency your current staff won’t be spread too thin.
Additionally some of the temporary nurses may prove to be an excellent fit and mesh seamlessly with the rest of the healthcare team. This temporary staff member may fill more of a permanent place in your healthcare organization.
Choosing a partner for sourcing potential new hires is crucial to your healthcare organization’s success. When you partner with BOS Medical Staffing you can rest assured your new nursing staff hire is exceptional and exceptional staff promotes a highly desirable company culture. Contact BOS Medical Staffing for your hiring needs.