It may come as a surprise that, at a time when there’s a national healthcare talent shortage, there are only 40% of healthcare companies say they have a talent strategy[1]. That means that six out of ten healthcare companies have no strategy for retaining and attracting talent.

It also means that by mending your talent strategy, your business can stand out from other healthcare companies. For, in order to convince future healthcare talent you’re a healthy place to work, you must cure the place you work.

Continue on to discover timely insights into healthcare talent and a five-part strategy to better support them.

Healthcare Talent Is Unwell

Healthcare workers are relied upon to support the health of patients. However, it isn’t easy for healthcare talent to fulfill their roles (or do so to their fullest capacity) when they don’t receive the same support.

These statistics show a glimpse of healthcare workers' cumbersome circumstances.

  • 83% of nurses feel anxiety, 81% are exhausted, and 77% feel overwhelmed.[2]
  • 50% of healthcare workers reported burnout, with the highest levels among nurses (56%).[3]
  • 47% of healthcare workers say they plan to leave their current role within two to three years.[4]
  • Healthcare workers in the U.S. experienced a staggering 249% increase in injury and illness rates in 2020—while serving those in need.[5]
  • Less than half (45%) of clinicians felt valued in 2021.[6]

Lawmakers are also sounding the alarm[7] about the healthcare industry.

In a Senate HELP committee hearing in early 2023, Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders I-VT. was quoted as saying, “A shortage of healthcare personnel was a problem before the pandemic, and now it has gotten worse.” Sanders later adds, "Health care jobs have gotten more challenging and, in some cases, more dangerous.”[8]

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Discover how to mend your talent strategy to protect the health of your people—and your business.

Improve How You Attract & Retain Healthcare Talent In 5 Steps

Retain your talent by hearing what they need and showing that you care with these five steps. In doing so, you will simultaneously attract top, new talent who sees your commitment to building a healthier workplace.

Step 1: Take Your Team’s Temperature

Before you instill new policies or benefits, gain clarity of what your people are struggling with so you can provide them with the support they can use. Begin with a set of temperature checks. Issue a pulse survey[9] to understand your team's sentiments and what needs are not being met.

Use the survey to gather insight into workers’ overall well-being by asking questions relating to various elements of well-being[10], like psychological and economic well-being and domain satisfaction. Include multiple choice questions to get better insights on your overall population, but also include 1-2 short-form questions to get specific suggestions and/or unique needs you have yet to consider.

And don’t stop at a survey. Consider hiring an outside party to host focus groups. With a third party, your staff will feel more inclined to provide honest feedback. Keep these groups small (6-12 people). If you only host one group, ensure equal representation across roles and seniority. For multiple groups, bucket similar functions together, as their experiences may differ from other cohorts.

Pro tip: have any Employee Resource Groups (ERG) in your healthcare business? Connect with the leaders of ERGs, as they are more likely to gain honest feedback from their members.

Step 2: Make A Diagnosis

Like a clinician with a patient, diagnose what your staff needs based on the tests you’ve administered.

While you want to see overall trends, you also want to spot specific trends across demographics. Separate your data (i.e., race, gender identity, etc.) to investigate whether particular populations struggle differently than others so you can make more informed decisions. Have you issued a survey before? Compare your results to a prior survey to discern any significant changes.

As you analyze your data, send your staff a thank you email for participating in the survey and/or focus group, and let them know what to expect next. A thank you, albeit a small gesture, shows your team you appreciate their time and sets their expectations for further communication.

Once you have your stats and trends, communicate these back to your team so your people feel heard and understood. Let them know that, based on the diagnosis, you’ll begin working on an appropriate care plan (and give them a timeline). And don’t forget to keep the door open for questions.

Step 3: Create Your Care Plan

Now, get creative. Take all of your insights, feedback, and suggestions, and turn that into a care plan.

Focus first on the areas you saw the most significant need for improvement. Your care plan might include standard upgrades to your benefits and policies, but you could benefit from thinking outside the box to fit employees’ needs.

Consider some of the following upgrades (depending on what your data is telling you):

  • Professional Development: 83% of clinicians say training must be overhauled so they can keep pace with technological advancements.[11]
  • Double Down on Inclusivity: A study by the Harvard Business Review found that “if physicians felt the organization didn’t have an inclusive culture, that increased their risk for considering leaving 5.5-fold.”[12]
  • Boost Retirement Offerings: More than half of Americans say they've fallen short of the amount of retirement savings they planned to have by now. With PNC Fiduciary Investment Services, you'll find a customizable suite of investment advice, annual employee education, and fiduciary support to help participants meet their goals.
  • Peer Support Groups: Baylor, Scott & White Health, deemed one of the best workplaces in healthcare by Fortune for multiple years, created peer groups for colleagues to confront traumatic patient outcomes, serious professional challenges, and other crises.[13]
  • Child Care Options: Healthcare workers who experience high levels of childcare stress are 80% more likely to experience burnout[14] and reduce work hours or leave their roles.
  • Student Loan Support: More than 43M Americans carry student loan debt[15]. By offering refinancing options (one of PNC's many financial wellness offerings), it allows borrowers to combine multiple loans into a single loan, making payments more manageable.
  • Advanced Technology: Many of LinkedIn’s top 2022 healthcare companies[16] note access to the latest technology to make their jobs more manageable and provide better services to patients.

And when you lack creativity, get inspired by seeing what the best workplaces in healthcare[17] are doing to attract and retain their employees.

Step 4: Present—& Pursue—Your Care Plan

Be realistic with your care plan. You may not be able to overhaul everything, and that’s okay. Create a short-term and long-term strategy, and be sure to have reasoning as to what comes first or why another change may take longer.

Once you have your care plan, communicate it to your staff. Consider hosting a town hall to announce the plan and accept questions. Regardless of how you first communicate your care plan, share it multiple times and across various channels.

Have multiple places where employees can see what to expect, whether that’s a printout in the break room or a message in Slack. And, should new resources be available for employees to access once announced, make sure they know how to access their new resources.

Continue to follow up with your team to encourage them to take advantage and provide updates on any additional changes.

Step 5: Integrate Retention With Attraction

If you’ve taken your team’s temperature, made an accurate diagnosis, and put thought and action into your care plan, then chances are it’ll be well received by your team.

Now, show the commitment you’ve made to your employees by plugging new changes and benefits into places candidates are. (Think: website, social media, job postings, and even in the interview process.)

Once candidates enter your hiring funnel, don’t forget all the efforts you put into improving the well-being of your team. Ensure the application and interview experience is a good representation of what it would be like to work for your company. (Think: considerate response times, stress-free applications, etc.)

A Final Note

Remember, as a leader, you’re also part of the organization. Consider yourself and your needs throughout this process, too. And once a care plan is out into the world, be sure to take advantage. Your employees will be looking to you as an example, and you deserve to support yourself, too.

And remember, if you need additional support, PNC Bank is here to help. Healthcare businesses like yours are a top priority for PNC, as we strive to create proposals that meet your objectives while saving you time, stress, and money. Visit PNC's Financial Solutions for Healthcare Professionals for more information.