In almost every session this week at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat, the topic of workforce came up. From the opening session with the results of our just-released survey on executive compensation and retention, Trends In Specialty Provider Organization Executive Compensation & Retention: The OPEN MINDS 2019 Survey, with its focus on pending executive retirements, to preparing your workforce for value-based reimbursement (see Positioning Your Workforce For The Value-Driven Environment Of The Future), to building your next leadership team (see Building The Next Generation Of Leaders: How To Develop The Leadership Team You Need For Success).
The statistics paint a picture of the challenge. By 2025, there will a shortage of an estimated 250,000 behavioral health professionals, and the average turnover rate among direct health care workers was 20.6% in 2017, up from 15.6% in 2010 (see National Projections Of Supply And Demand For Selected Behavioral Health Practitioners: 2013-2025). The estimates of costs of turnover vary – but for health and human service organizations, 16-20% of annual compensation is an estimate of the costs of refilling each open position (see The High Costs Of Paraprofessional Employee Turnover – Sizing Up The Challenge).
OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Art Williams summarized the challenge:
The executives discussed the “employer of choice” concept—described as an employer with a good workplace culture that attracts and retains equally great employees—and its importance to recruiting and retention of talent. Most health and human services organizations are not “ready” for this level of competitiveness needed to win recruits and keep them in this marketplace. Earlier this year I covered this readiness gap, and reported that 84% percent of human resource departments can’t handle the recruiting needs of their organizations (see Building A Better Workforce: Talent Management Strategies For Recruitment, Retention, Burnout & Technology).
So, what are the essential elements in becoming an employer of choice? My takeaway of the day is that there are four keys that executive teams can adopt to increase their competitiveness in a competitive labor market: create a culture, improve recruiting efforts, and staff training and engagement.
Strengthen organizational culture—Attention to organizational culture is a central element in becoming an employer of choice. The solution: focus on culture building strategies like new executive hires that can drive culture; investments in tech; rewriting operational plans and workflows; improving communication with staff; and making retention part of the culture. Leadership want to constantly communicate an inspiring vision and shared values, while genuinely valuing the employees.
Improve recruitment efforts—This sounds obvious, but many recruitment plans have become stagnant. Leverage tactics like community outreach (especially at the university level), community participation such as advisory boards, a commitment to advertising and brand management, as the use of social media to spread that brand across non-traditional channels. Once new applicants and recruits are in the door, it’s important to respond quickly, and keep up that speed of communication through the onboarding and training process.
Engagement, engagement, engagement—Staff retention, as well as management, comes down to engagement, and whether you are increasing it, or decreasing it. Supervisors are the key to all of this (workers quit because of their managers, not their jobs after all). Many supervisors come from clinical backgrounds with no additional training, and others simply don’t have what Dr. Zeigler called “soft skills” (such as the simple ability to say hello and act interested in staff as individuals). In addition, organizations must invest in staff recognition programs, culture building (like retreats), and ongoing education and training to support both job skills and morale.
Dr. Zeigler wrapped the day with a great summation of the challenge—develop your staff training, document and announce staff accomplishments, give your staff the tools they need, entertain feedback…and do it all with energy.
For more on addressing the recruiting and retention challenge, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- Five Strategies For Retaining Your Workforce
- Reducing Paraprofessional Employee Turnover
- Leadership—The Other Talent Shortage
- 12 Innovative Ideas To Improve Recruitment & Retention
- Recruit, Engage, Retain, Repeat—How To ‘Sell’ Your Organization In A Tight Labor Market
- Staff Vacancies Just Got A Little More Important & Complicated
- High Turnover, The Other Staffing Issue
- Workforce Shortages As A Strategy Issue
- 75% Of Your Management Team Was Offered Another Job This Year
- Does An ‘Agile’ Workforce Want Your Jobs?
For more on how to build and lead your team, stay tuned over the next few days as we discuss leadership in the context of value-based reimbursement, changing regulations, and organizational challenges. You can follow us on twitter @openmindscircle #OMLeadership.