The Role of Staffing Automation in Reducing Turnover

Kathy Douglas RN, MPH-HA, Chief Clinical Officer with ShiftHound

In the constant search for cost savings in healthcare operations, employee turnover is a culprit many would like to address. In acute care, turnover rates run around 20%, in long term care the number jumps to 70%. While opinions on replacement costs vary, between 50% to 150% of annual salary, there is agreement that employee churn is an expensive drain on the bottom line.

It may not be immediately intuitive that implementing the right staffing automation solution can significantly impact turnover. What motivates an employee to stay or leave a job can be complex. Given the many factors that influence turnover, it is not surprising that an initial response to staffing technology being part of the solution would be one of doubt or even dismissal. On closer examination however, compelling evidence of the relationship between staffing solutions and turnover can be uncovered. Let’s take a look at a few.

Employee Engagement
The more engaged employees are the less likely they are to leave their job. Bringing transparency to an organization’s staffing needs helps staff see beyond their individual situation and understand the bigger picture. It can let them know they are trusted and valued members of the team and invites them into the process of helping solve staffing needs.

Even with a multi-generational workforce, they all share a common interest in more autonomy and say over their schedules. Giving them the opportunity to be active participants in the schedule process is a powerful way to give them some control over their lives. The right staffing solutions can allow self scheduling, make it easy to pick up open shifts, offer a say in floating options and let staff work out swapping shifts with other colleagues. All of these functions can be managed with system security settings that assure staff can only make appropriate choices or requests and manager approval options assure good oversight.

Manager Satisfaction
Often described as the hardest jobs in healthcare, how a staffing solution can support this difficult role is critical. Staffing technology can be a big time saver for managers. With instant access from any mobile device, they can stay constantly informed on their staffing situation. The ability to see and act on staffing decisions from any location, get alerts, approve requests, make schedule changes, have real-time updates and instantly communicate with staff brings new levels of efficiency to their job.

Manager Effectiveness
Linked to manager satisfaction and thus turnover is how effective they feel they are in their role. Staffing technology can help them make better decisions by displaying meaningful data at the point of decision-making. With such things as overtime, seniority, date last called off, number of hours worked, pay rates and license expirations all at their fingertips, they can have more confidence in the decisions they are making and save time searching for information.

Supporting New Managers
Its not only staff who leave but managers as well. When a manger departs an organization it can cause chaos. Filling those shoes as quickly and effectively as possible becomes a priority. Staffing technology provides consistency around scheduling that allows a new manager, once quickly trained, the ability to view the situation for their part of the organization and quickly begin managing effectively and efficiently.

Monitoring Turnover
Retaining staff helps an organization in so many ways. Often managers get employee churn data on a monthly or quarterly basis from HR. But with today’s staffing solutions, turnover data is a click away. By staying informed with turnover information, they can more easily recognize trends and take earlier actions to manage turnover.

When an organization is looking to increase staff retention and reduce turnover, one of the things they should consider is looking closely at staffing solutions to support their efforts. Whether moving off of paper or replacing a costly outdated technology, when identifying requirements for staffing automation, be sure that the many ways these solutions can help with turnover are part of your selection criteria.

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