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Traditionally, January is one of the highest months for turnover. When January hits and your employees are thinking about their futures, will your company be where they want to be? We break down how to reduce employee turnover during the holidays. 

Why Is Turnover So High During the Holidays?

Employers typically have replenished budgets at the beginning of the year, which lets them expand their hiring. This leads to an uptick in jobs on the market and more opportunities for workers. On top of that, many people use the new year as an opportunity to reflect on changes they might make in their personal and professional lives. As a result, some of your employees might realize that they’re ready for a new opportunity—and that they have plenty of options.

Despite the number of candidates looking for new jobs, the new year is still competitive for employers. In January 2022, there were 11.3 million job openings, but only 6.3 million people who were counted as unemployed. This means that while more people are actively looking for jobs, there still aren’t enough candidates to fill every role, and hiring isn’t necessarily going to be easy. 

Even if you do hire successfully in the new year, turnover could continue to create issues. In fact, 40% of employees who leave their jobs do so within the first six months of employment. So while hiring is incredibly important, it isn’t a replacement for a good retention strategy. 

Learn More About Employee Retention

How to Reduce Employee Turnover During the Holidays 

Prioritize Mental Health 

It’s no secret that mental health can suffer during the holiday season. According to the American Psychological Association, a whopping 38% of Americans experience increased stress in this time frame. 

Healthcare workers’ jobs rarely slow down. If anything, the added stress of the holiday season can push nurses and other healthcare workers towards burnout. Mental health initiatives, such as workshops, free or discounted counseling, and more, can show employees that you’re there for them. 

You can also promote mental health by being clear about your rules for paid time off. Rest is vital when it comes to preventing burnout, and can help your retention in the long run. But it can be difficult to strike a balance between guaranteeing that your facility is fully staffed and ensuring that employees are able to take a sustainable amount of paid time off. Look at previous year’s PTO records to gain an accurate picture of how many employees take time off during the holidays. If necessary, you may have to use temporary hires or agency workers to fill in the gaps during the holiday season. Early planning is vital when it comes to both letting workers know how much they’ll have to work, as well as planning your own provisional hiring efforts. 

Learn how to reduce employee turnover by preventing nurse burnout

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Practice Two-Way Communication  

Communication is a vital part of preventing employee turnover. Your employees likely have increased responsibilities during the holidays—buying gifts, hosting family in town, and planning vacations. Since working during the holidays can cause so much stress, it’s important that everyone in your facility understands exactly how much time and energy they will spend at work. 

The earlier you communicate holiday expectations, the more confusion and tension you can avoid. Clearly state your holiday policies in the employee handbooks, such as the number of holidays per year they’re required to work, or “blackout” dates where employees can’t take PTO. Work with employees to the best of your abilities to account for religious observances, family emergencies, and more. 

These conversations are best had far in advance of the holiday season. Make sure employees know when they’re expected to work, deadlines for filing for PTO, as well as bonuses for shifts worked during the holidays. 

Adopt Flexible Scheduling

Flexible scheduling can always help with preventing turnover, but never more so than during the holiday season. 

Most of your employees will likely have things to do and places to be in their personal lives. Shorter and staggered schedules can help them fulfill both their work and personal duties. Job sharing, float pools, and even some work from home options can help you accommodate your staff. 

Learn how to implement flexible scheduling

Engage and Appreciate 

It’s always important to acknowledge your staff’s hard work, but especially during the busy holidays. 

One survey showed that employees are 2.7x more likely to be engaged if they feel recognized—and engaged employees are far less likely to leave their jobs. This means that you can reduce employee turnover just by showing appreciation. 

Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated: simply giving someone the spotlight in a newsletter can make them feel seen. Recognize your employees on social media, organize employee appreciation events, such as catered lunches or social outings, and generally give employees something to look forward to at work.

Better Hiring With Apploi

The holidays can put a lot of stress on your plate. But while managing personal and work lives can get overwhelming, hiring doesn’t have to be. 

The right software can help you hire quickly and reduce employee turnover at the same time. 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 hiring 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.