Hospitals face unprecedented turnover, attrition rates: 4 survey findings

Hospitals today are facing higher turnover and attrition rates than ever before, according to a survey report from Leaders for Today, a hospital management staffing firm. What's more, increasing turnover isn't limited to certain healthcare jobs — it is affecting every role from the C-suite to the front desk and the front lines.

Survey data from LFT show hospitals will need to replace nearly half of their staff every five years. This challenge is compounded by a shrinking talent pool as more hospital employees retire.

"This study confirmed what is the worst-case scenario for many hospitals, they are losing critical employees faster than they can replace them," said Bill Haylon, CEO of LFT. "The average hospital has hundreds of open positions at any one time. How confident would you be in going to one of these facilities for care knowing they are so short-staffed at important positions?"

The report includes survey responses from 852 participants, including C-suite executives, clinical and non-clinical administration, staff physicians and staff nurses. The survey was administered in April 2017 to hospital workers across the nation.

Here are four main takeaways from the survey.

1. Continuity in hospital employment is lacking. Nearly 43 percent of respondents reported they have been with their current hospital for fewer than two years and 65.7 percent said they have been with their hospital for fewer than five years.

More than one-third (37 percent) of respondents plan to leave their current organization within the next two years, and 68.6 percent plan to leave within five years. The rapid pace at which all hospital employees are switching jobs is widening the knowledge gap.

2. The current hospital environment promotes high turnover. More than a quarter (27.4 percent) of respondents left their job for a promotion or a better opportunity for advancement. Another 14.4 percent left for better compensation. The largest proportion (58.2 percent) left for other reasons, such as long work hours, frustration and burnout.

3. The growing proportion of retiring employees poses an additional challenge. As the workforce ages, hospitals are looking at a significantly smaller pool of experienced talent to fill retirees' positions. The survey found 47.7 percent of respondents indicated they plan to retire within the next decade, while 22.1 percent expect to retire within five years.

4. The hospital hiring process needs a tune up. According to LFT, it appears that hospitals frequently lose candidates who land job opportunities more quickly elsewhere. Respondents cited speed and transparency as the top two frustrations with the hiring process. LFT suggests hospitals will be the most competitive for attracting top talent if they can optimize the hiring process and move quickly.

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