When finding qualified staff is an issue in your industry, it’s vital you do what you can to hold onto your top employees. The healthcare industry–including mental health providers–isn’t immune to staff shortages. In fact, there are a number of reasons that lead to a lack of staff in the healthcare industry, including government regulations, limits in applications at schools and training programs, and high levels of burnout.
With so many factors affecting access to skilled individuals–combined with an increasing demand for healthcare and mental health services–you’ll need to be strategic in retaining your top employees. Among the things you can do to retain your best staff members that don’t involve higher salaries:
- Incorporate work-life balance
- Recognize and reward employees for their hard work
- Listen to employees about their concerns
Incorporate work-life balance
Burn-out is a huge risk in the healthcare industry, where employees deal with patients facing a wide range of physical and emotional difficulties, and work can be a cause of stress. Additionally, many staff members likely have families at home they must care for, on top of their work duties.
Incorporating work-life balance into your practice can prevent staff members from feeling overwhelmed, and protect you from having to replace qualified staff members who burn out. There are many things you can do to foster work-life balance, including:
- Offering flexible work arrangements
- Allowing for remote work where possible
- Providing on-site childcare if possible
- Offering paid parental leave
- Increasing the number of vacation days
Recognize and reward employees for their work
Employees who feel valued stay longer. Take the time to recognize the professionals you work with for their valuable work and contributions. This will increase engagement and show your team that they make a difference. Types of recognition can include:
- Recognition dinners
- Awards for service
- Gifts (such as a dinner out)
- Additional days off
- An annual staff retreat
Listen to employees about their concerns
Employers often think that because they are open to ideas, employees will come to them with their concerns. Listening to employees means checking in with them to find out how they’re doing and what challenges affect their ability to do their jobs effectively.
Rather than waiting for staff members to come to you when there’s an issue, reach out to them:
- Conduct surveys to find out what issues are pressing to your staff
- Ask how you can support them in addressing those issues
- Informally check in with staff to ask how they are
- Encourage open communication at meetings
There are many questions you can ask employees to better understand their challenges and motivations beyond “What issues do you have?” or “Are you happy working here?”
Here are some questions to ask to foster communication with your staff:
- What about this job makes you excited to come to work?
- What about this job makes you dread coming to work?
- If you were considering leaving, what would be the main reason for your leaving?
- If you were to consider leaving, what one or two things would make you consider staying?
- If you were to leave this practice, what would you miss the most?
- What is one thing you would change about this practice if you could?
Then, take action on what you’ve learned. If your employees say they want more professional development, see if there’s a way to offer some. If they want more work-life balance, review your policies and procedures to see if you can facilitate more balance. If they’re feeling stressed, look at whether flexible work arrangements or additional time off could help.
When it comes to having qualified staff on your team, it’s far easier and more efficient to retain your current staff than it is to find new people. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have to find staff, but it does mean you won’t be replacing staff nearly as frequently.
At Leichter Accounting Services, we understand the unique challenges that healthcare practices—including mental health specialists, physical therapists and chiropractors—face in their accounting and bookkeeping. Contact us to schedule a free initial consultation for your practice. We help clients across the US manage their finances and make informed decisions to grow their practices.