Healthcare workers value pay, 'a recipe for disaster'

Healthcare employees are placing a premium on pay and stability in their jobs, and many feel their current employers aren't doing enough, according to Grant Thornton's State of Work in America survey.

The survey examined results from 5,000 U.S. employees overall and 500 from the healthcare sector. Healthcare workers rated their mental, financial and physical well-being worse in the last year and noted base pay was the top motivator for staying with a company, and 41 percent agreed they were paid fairly. Fewer healthcare workers felt their pay was linked to performance effectively than workers overall.

Thirty-nine percent of healthcare workers said base pay was what is keeping them at their organizations, and 36 percent cited benefits.

"A lot of emphasis on pay comes from third-party nursing. It's a recipe for disaster, as it puts a premium focus on dollars and cents among staff, as opposed to qualities full-time employees may not see, such as benefits," said David Tyler, national managing principal, healthcare for Grant Thornton.

Thirty percent of healthcare workers said their mental well-being was worse in the last year and 31 percent said their financial well-being was worse. Staff shortages were the most common stressor for healthcare workers and more than half of healthcare employees said workforce shortages were a cause of burnout. Just 17 percent said work-life balance was keeping them employed and 15 percent cited feeling valued as an employee.

Workers not feeling valued is a problem for healthcare organizations. Nearly one-third cited not feeling valued as a reason they would leave their organizations, which topped wages not keeping up with inflation, long work hours and job security concerns. On average, staff don't feel like their opinions are heard, according to the report.

"Management training, focused on more frequent performance feedback requests, could go a long way toward resolving this issue," Grant Thornton concluded in the report. "Many of these issues should be addressed not just by a human resources department but with the engagement of company leadership."

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