5 incentives offered by health systems to recruit, retain workers

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As hospitals and health systems grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are offering incentives to attract and retain workers. 

Five incentives organizations are offering:

1. Base wage increase for high-demand workers — Amid a critical shortage of qualified candidates, Lifespan raised the base wage for nursing and medical assistants, behavioral health specialists and residential care counselors in an effort to retain workers in those high-demand positions. Employees in the high-demand positions, which include members of Teamsters Local 251 at Rhode Island Hospital, will experience a minimum wage bump to $20 per hour or receive a 3 percent pay increase, whichever is greater, the Providence, R.I.-based health system said Oct. 29.

2. Raises for non-union employees — MultiCare Health System is offering a 2.5 percent wage increase for all non-union employees, including those who are salaried and paid hourly, part of a $53.5 million investment to reward and retain employees amid historic patient volumes and workforce shortages, the Tacoma, Wash.-based organization said Oct. 28. The investment also includes retention bonuses to employees in many front-line, difficult-to-fill hospital and clinical roles.

3. Bonuses for extra shift — Buffalo, N.Y.-based Kaleida Health rolled out a monetary incentive program to employees who pick up additional shifts. The program, which took effect Oct. 17, launched as a result of pandemic-related recruitment and staffing gaps, as well as a nurses strike that is still ongoing at Catholic Health's Mercy Hospital.

4. Longevity bonuses — Luminis Health is offering a bonus to full-time bedside registered nurses with more than two decades of experience, part of a $29 million investment in employee recruitment and retention, the Annapolis, Md.-based health system said Oct. 26. The investment will affect about 6,700 employees in various ways.

5. Minimum wage increase — Avera Health is raising minimum wage to $17 per hour, part of a $50 million investment in employee recruitment and retention, the Sioux Falls, S.D.-based health system said Oct. 6. The investment also includes appreciation gifts, as well as raises of at least $2 per hour for current employees.

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