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How can performance management software reduce turnover in healthcare?

19/06/2024 minute read Health and Care

A report from the CQC late last year highlighted some concerns in retention for staff across the healthcare environment. It showed that turnover rates for GPs increased by 2.3 percentage points, from 6.5% in June 2021 to 8.8% in June 2023. Turnover rates for call handlers had increased from 17.5% during 2020/21 to 28.3% during 2021 and 2022.

In today's fast-paced healthcare environment, reducing staff turnover is crucial for maintaining high standards of patient care and operational efficiency. In this article we’ll explore the ways in which a high turn over of staff can be detrimental to Healthcare organisations, and how organisations can increase retention to reduce these issues.   

A high turnover of staff in a healthcare organisation can be problematic for a number of reasons:

  1. Loss of Knowledge: When experienced staff members leave, the departure often leads to a loss of valuable organisational knowledge and expertise. Rebuilding this knowledge can be a time-consuming process that may span months or over years. This can result in a significant decrease in productivity and efficiency.

  2. Cost of filling the role and training: When a staff member leaves, the costs associated with filling their role can be in the thousands. These costs include direct expenses such as advertising the job vacancy and recruitment agency fees, indirect costs like the time and productivity lost during the recruitment process, and the training required to get the new employee up to speed. Which is why keeping an existing employee is nearly always more efficient and less expensive than hiring someone new. These individual recruitment costs are further exacerbated by the high number of unfilled posts in the NHS, which currently stands at 112,000 vacancies according to NHS Employers.

  3. Effect on reputation: When a few members of staff leave, it is often seen as part of the normal ebb and flow, however, when turnover becomes too high, it raises red flags. Prospective employees may perceive this as a sign of deeper issues within the company, such as poor management, lack of career development opportunities, or an unfavourable work environment, making it difficult to attract top talent. Healthcare employees are what keeps the organisation running smoothly, and losing good people and not attracting the right ones to fill vacancies can result in a low quality of care and loss of institutional knowledge.

    With websites like Glassdoor potential employees are able to find out why others have left, and if the reason is that they felt unsupported, unappreciated, or unmotivated at work it’s going to prevent the right people from wanting to apply for open positions.  
  4. Disruption to flow: An employee leaving and a new person starting doesn’t just cause a disruption to that one role, but all those who interact with the person in this role too, potentially causing a knock-on effect to multiple parts of the organisation.

    This transition period can lead to an adjustment phase where colleagues must recalibrate their workflows and communication channels to accommodate the newcomer. Team dynamics can be temporarily unsettled as existing relationships and understandings are reestablished. Consequently, this ripple effect can impact productivity and overall efficiency.

In order to keep turn over as low as possible employees need to feel supported, appreciated and know they have a future at their organisation. This can be achieved through continuous performance management, a practice in which managers and leaders don’t check in with their staff just once a year but have ways of regularly monitoring performance throughout the year to ensure productivity is high and no one is struggling in their role. 

In Healthcare this approach would be most effective with non-clinical employees whose hard work can often fly under the radar. This includes the tens of thousands of ward clerks, receptionists, medical secretaries, switchboard operators, facilities, porters, HR and finance teams whose work underpins the clinical teams. Installing a Performance Management System can make all this easier, and facilitates the following:   

Regular check in sessions
Managers sometimes get caught up and overlook checking in on their teams, which can leave employees struggling in silence. To tackle this, it's important for managers to have regular one-to-one chats with their team members. This approach improves communication and support within the organisation.

These meetings don't have to be lengthy; spending 15-30 minutes with employees every month or so should suffice for managers to connect and gauge progress. If any issues arise, managers can dedicate more time to resolve them with individual employees.

Although managers in healthcare might view monthly check-ins with each employee as time-intensive, showing employees that their manager is listening to them and is there to support them if they need it could reduce burn out, demotivation and resignations.

A fuller and fairer view of performance
In a busy healthcare environment with hundreds of employees, such as an NHS111 call-handling operation, managers don’t have the luxury of seeing everything an employee does every minute of the day, and with remote staff or multiple office locations many managers are no longer working in the same space as their team they see even less. This means they can’t always make a fair assessment on their employee’s performance based on what they experience of the employee alone.

By having a way to view feedback from a multitude of people who work alongside their employee’s day to day managers are able to get a much fuller view of how their employee is performing.

Recognising a job well done
Sometimes someone doing a good job can be overlooked in a large healthcare organisation, especially for any staff who happen to be working a different shift to their line managers. Our performance management solution allows team members or peers to record positive feedback about a colleague in just a few minutes, which gives the employees a boost and alerts their manager to their hard work.

Regular development discussions
Employees feeling uncertain about their future within an organisation could lose motivation and start exploring other opportunities. Promoting development conversations is crucial to showing that you value not just their current performance, but also their future development.

These conversations will help employees to see what a future at your organisation can look like and can lead to more of your people wanting to stay with you long term.

In conclusion, the right performance management software can play a crucial role in enhancing employee retention in the healthcare sector. By fostering ongoing communication, providing regular feedback, and recognising achievements promptly, organisations can create a supportive and engaging work environment. This approach not only boosts morale but also aligns individual goals with organisational objectives, leading to improved performance and job satisfaction.

Investing in continuous performance management is an investment in a happier, more committed workforce, ultimately benefiting both healthcare professionals and the patients they serve. Get in touch with our team today to find out more.