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Developing a retention strategy is one of the most important steps healthcare employers can take to protect their business. For one thing, turnover is expensive. Just replacing one RN can cost an average of $52,350. And not only does retention affect the stability of your workforce and continuity of care, but it also significantly affects your CMS star rating. If your rating drops, you could lose out on patients and residents.

If you already have employee retention strategies in place, they’re probably focused on creating a workplace environment that will encourage employees to stay. This is necessary—but it’s not the full picture. In fact, your entire staffing journey impacts your retention, starting as early as the first stage of recruitment. With the right strategies in place, you can hire for retention.

How Does Retention Affect CMS Star Ratings?

Star ratings from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are a crucial measure of quality for healthcare facilities. They reflect various factors, including patient experience, clinical outcomes, and now, employee retention rates.

As of July 2022, CMS began including workforce retention rates in their methodology for assigning a facility a star rating, along with nursing hours per patient per day for weekend shifts. In this new system, retention rates are considered an indicator of workforce stability and continuity of care.

In general, higher retention rates correlate with improved patient outcomes, satisfaction, and continuity of care. But for many employers, these updates mean it has become far harder to maintain a high star rating.

How Your Hiring Process Affects Your Retention

Recruiting and retention aren’t as separate as they might seem. Ideally, your hiring strategy should help you find candidates who are already likely to be highly engaged workers. This is your opportunity to make a strong first impression and set the tone for a long, fruitful tenure for your new employees.

Let’s explore some ways to improve retention through hiring.

5 Ways to Hire for Retention

1. Connect With the Right Candidates

The first step to hiring candidates who will stick around is making sure they have the skills and confidence to succeed long-term. You can improve the odds of finding these candidates by clearly defining all relevant skills and responsibilities in your job description and other recruitment marketing materials.

Additionally, you might consider revisiting your interview style. Try adding in behavioral interview questions, or giving candidates the opportunity to interview with peers. This can give you deeper insight into a candidate’s personality and behavior, and give them a chance to more realistically consider how they would fit into your company culture.

2. Provide Comprehensive Onboarding

Robust and well-structured onboarding establishes a foundation for a successful employee journey. Workers who have received strong onboarding are more likely to feel confident with their new duties, and are therefore less likely to quit due to stress or lack of supervision.

In healthcare, employers can improve onboarding by going beyond the information laid out in the employee manual. Try assigning onboarding buddies or peer mentors to help new workers feel supported and secure. With a stronger sense of belonging, workers are more likely to feel that they’re committed and valued members of the team.

3. Keep an Eye on Compensation

Revisiting your hiring process offers an excellent opportunity to evaluate your compensation and benefits package. Needless to say, staying competitive with compensation is key to attracting and retaining talent. If you’re failing to attract enough qualified candidates, one part of the problem may be your compensation—which will also contribute to turnover.

Take the time to routinely assess industry benchmarks and ensure that your compensation aligns with market standards. Just remember that while compensation is important, it’s not the only factor influencing recruiting and retention. Perks, work-life balance initiatives, and company culture all contribute to employee satisfaction, and, ultimately, retention rates.

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4. Engage Your Workforce With Technology

If you’re using a hiring platform like Apploi, you’ll be able to automate your candidate engagement with customized, hands-off message blasts. Regardless of what platform you use, you should be engaging your candidates through email and, ideally, SMS. And there’s no reason for this to stop after you make a hire.

Your candidate communication system should easily transition for your internal workforce. Consider using your messaging tools to periodically check in on workers with anonymous job satisfaction surveys, opportunities to lodge concerns, and a clear way to request meetings with HR. These messages will work best when they’re supplementing regular meetings with supervisors—automated messages are a powerful tool, but they should never replace face-to-face communication.

5. Track and Analyze Your Data

To be sure that you’re continuing to improve, track your retention metrics over time, along with other key indicators like employee satisfaction, time-to-fill, and frequency of last-minute call-outs. This information will give you a better chance at identifying patterns and potential issues, so you can make adjustments as needed.

Don’t be afraid to modify your hiring process based on this data. This could involve revisiting job descriptions to better represent the skillsets you’re looking for, updating your interview techniques to assess cultural fit, or implementing new technology to improve your candidate screening. By continually revisiting your hiring process and related data, you’ll ensure that your team is doing all you can to implement new solutions and cut down on turnover rates.

Engaging and Retaining Your Workforce With Apploi

In today’s competitive healthcare landscape, retaining top talent is crucial for organizational success. The good news is that you don’t have to leave it up to chance. With streamlined tools designed to help manage your workforce, all the way from recruiting through scheduling, it’s entirely possible to hire to retain.

Interested in learning more about how you can recruit, hire, and onboard healthcare staff quickly? Contact us today for a free demo of our end-to-end talent management solution.

Melanie Boroosan

Over her six years in healthcare administration, Melanie has managed human resources, legal, compliance, payroll, and recruitment efforts at a corporate level. This oversight granted her a deep appreciation for the unique needs of healthcare managers, and for the direct ways that business operations affect the wellbeing of each employee. As Apploi’s Director of Healthcare Innovation, Melanie draws from her experience in healthcare HR and ancillary long-term care to pursue a vision of holistic healthcare staffing. Her work is rooted in the knowledge that great care begins with improving quality of life for all healthcare workers.