My team has been receiving many requests for ideas on how to reduce staff turnover. Our response? High turnover in a department is likely the symptom of a much larger issue, employee disengagement. A cultural transformation is needed in order to engage your employees.
When a department has high turnover, staff often have tunnel vision and can only see what’s right in front of them, whether that be a line of patients to register or a pile of denied claims to follow-up on. It’s hard to think “big picture” when you’re treading water to avoid drowning.
But problems associated with employee turnover and demotivated staff will continue unless leaders take a step back and work to address the underlying issues.
To transform a culture there are two key ingredients: connection to purpose and trust.
If your employees don’t have a connection to purpose, that is, they don’t understand the importance of their job and why they are doing it, your staff will not be motivated to achieve at high levels.
If your employees don’t have trust in your organization and in your ability as a leader to mentor, coach, and produce results, your employees will be motivated to pursue work elsewhere.
How do you gain trust and empower a connection to purpose? The answer may be simpler than you think.
It starts by listening. Some managers jump right to the conclusion that their staffing problems are the result of low salaries. If this is a true concern, HBI recommends doing a local compensation review. However, compensation alone is rarely the cause for high turnover.
Elicit staff feedback. Learn their challenges and daily struggles. Ask what ideas they have for improvements. Understand what motivates them. And assess where the gaps are located.
Often leaders think that monetary compensation (which is often not feasible) is the most desired employee motivator. However, staff often place more value in recognition and praise.
By sitting with your staff, I guarantee you’ll hear that staff want to learn more. Some organizations are hesitant to give their staff more learning opportunities: one reason we’ve heard is that leaders are worried if they invest in their staff, in terms of learning and training, they’ll lose even more staff. This is counterintuitive thinking. Investing in staff and satisfying their desire to learn and grow means staff feel fulfilled and happy. Not only are happy staff more likely to be loyal, but happiness is contagious and affects the working culture for the better.
Staff come and go, that’s inevitable. Creating a culture of purpose and trust for your current and future employees should be every leaders’ objective.
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