How hospitals are battling employee turnover: 5 survey findings

Most hospitals and health systems are bolstering pay and benefits to help attract and retain talent amid increasing employee turnover, which is expected to continue to challenge the healthcare industry in 2024, according to a Dec. 13 survey published by Aon.

Five key findings:

1. Hospital turnover occurs most often among medical professionals with tenures of one to three years. The survey found that 62% of hospitals reported increased turnover among nurses, 41% experienced higher departures among non-physician clinical positions and 22% said that physicians are leaving more often than the prior 12 months. 

2. Over the last year, to address talent recruitment and retention, 70% of hospitals implemented or bolstered sign-on bonuses, 59% increased new hire pay, 54% upped minimum wage scales and 52% increased or added referral bonus programs.

3. In 2023, hospitals also provided premium benefits to reward employees. Following is a breakdown of the benefits hospitals reported they are offering to recruit and retain talent:

  • Tuition reimbursement programs (95%)
  • Flexible work options (93%, up from 78% in 2022)
  • Personal leave (84%, up from 74% in 2022)
  • Financial wellness/planning (80%, up from 72% in 2022)
  • Gender-affirming benefits (64%, up from 45%in 2022)
  • Enhanced behavioral health benefits (57%, up from 40% in 2022)
  • Reduced hours for benefits eligibility (53%)
  • Paid parental leave beyond state and city mandates (45%)
  • Student loan repayment plans, (44%, with an additional 37% considering this option in 2024)
  • Subsidy for adoption (43%)
  • Back-up childcare (34%)
  • Expanded fertility coverage beyond the medical plan (30%)
  • On-site daycare (28%)
  • Subsidies for back-up elder care (25%)

4. Aon also found that average annual health plan expenses per hospital beneficiary increased 6.7% year over year to $16,151 in 2023. Eighty-two percent of hospitals aim to pay 76% or more of their employees' healthcare costs and 13% offer a no-cost health plan option to some segment of their employee population. Seventy-six percent of health systems also provide a discount to employees to access their own facilities and providers.

5. Despite increases in total rewards, health systems remain concerned about their workforce heading into 2024. Top concerns include:

  • Access to mental health services (89%)
  • Employee burnout/workforce resiliency (8%)
  • Offering competitive total rewards to attract and retain talent (85%)
  • Increasing healthcare costs for the health system (85%)
  • Improving health outcomes (83%)

"The top priority for hospitals is to attract and retain front-line medical professionals in the face of a nationwide talent shortage and a surge of demand for medical care after the pandemic," Sheena Singh, senior vice president of Aon's national healthcare industry practice, said in a news release. "This shortage threatens to impact patient care and accelerate burnout among clinical staff. As a result, health systems have prioritized investment in total rewards and support for workforce resiliency and mental health." 

Click here to access the full survey from Aon.

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