Abstract In the anonymous organization in which I have access to leaders of administrative leadership, one of the major Human Resources issues they report is a high rate of employee turnover. While high rates of turnover are to be expected in any healthcare organization that is located in a major city, such as this one, they can be extremely troublesome to administrators and to leadership. Whenever an established employee leaves an organization, the Human Resources department is then forced to expend the time and effort necessary to recruit, hire, and train a new employee to take their place. At the end of all this effort, the new employee may, for various reasons, not perform well nor fit in well at the healthcare organization, and decide to leave for another healthcare facility, and the cycle will begin again.
In the anonymous organization in which I have access to leaders of administrative leadership, one of the major Human Resources issues they report is a high rate of employee turnover. While high rates of turnover are to be expected in any healthcare organization that is located in a major city, such as this one, they can be extremely troublesome to administrators and to leadership. Whenever an established employee leaves an organization, the Human Resources department is then forced to expend the time and effort necessary to recruit, hire, and train a new employee to take their place. At the end of all this effort, the new employee may, for various reasons, not perform well nor fit in well at the healthcare organization, and decide to leave for another healthcare facility, and the cycle will begin again. Ultimately, the leaders I interviewed for this paper stated that there were two determinative factors in employee turnover: salary and benefits issues, and cultural fit, but they do not believe these factors are as important at healthcare organizations as they are at corporate, for-profit organizations.
One of the leaders I interviewed for this project, “Ms. Davis,” who is a Personnel Manager at a major research hospital, mentioned that her organization experiences very little employee turnover. Ms. Davis stated that she believes that this is due to a combination of factors. First, the physicians at her healthcare organization are affiliated with the university with which the hospital is connected, and they are often involved in the academic life of the university. As many of the physicians are also professors at the university, they often have tenure, and as such, are not inclined to leave the healthcare organization when they are merely dissatisfied with their levels of pay, or they do not feel as though they will fit in with the overall organizational culture. A second leader whom I interviewed, “Mr. Jones,” is a Human Resources Director at a large, public metropolitan hospital, and his statements concurred with many of the trends that I found in the available research.
Analysis of Findings
In the interviews I conducted with local organizational leaders regarding their employee turnover rates, two of the most prevalent themes that emerged were the tendency of employees to constantly change jobs when they believe that they can obtain a higher salary elsewhere, and the issue of employees leaving an organization because they do not believe they are a good fit for the organization, or because they do not get along well with their co-workers. In analyzing these issues with regards to employee turnover rates at health care organizations, it became apparent that, in many instances, a certain rate of turnover is to be expected at any organization. In the professional realm of healthcare, employee turnover rates can also be higher than those of other industries. For one thing, many health care professionals have jobs that are in demand in any region of the country, and so they possess a great deal of job mobility. In short, if a Registered Nurse, an X Ray technician, or a physician are dissatisfied with their present working environment, they typically have no trouble at all finding another position elsewhere.
Given that a certain rate of employee turnover is to be expected in any organization, and especially in the highly competitive health care field, a major question arises from this research. Are Human Resources departments obligated to invest a great deal of effort into employee retention, and to alter their pay structure and organizational culture in an effort to achieve higher rates of employee retention? To answer this question very succinctly, the answer is yes. High employee turnover rates can be harmful to any organization, especially one that is in the health care field. When any employee leaves an organization, Human Resources personnel must then invest the efforts necessary to recruit, hire, place, and train another employee. Further, high rates of employee turnover make it almost impossible for an organization to amend any issues with salary or with organizational culture that may be causing existing employees to leave the health care facility. When a health care organization must continually invest money in the recruitment and hiring of new employees, there is less money in the overall organizational budget to invest in higher salaries and improved benefits packages for employees. Further, high employee turnover rates can practically destroy an organizational culture. Organizational cultures, the health care industry or in any other sector, are dependent upon the retention of the individuals who comprise the overall work culture. When an employee leaves an organization, and another person must fill the ensuing vacancy, the entirety of the culture will then be altered. Thus, it is imperative for Human Resources department personnel in a health care organization to make the effort to reduce high rates of employee turnover, and increase rates of employee retention.
While a certain rate of employee turnover is to expected in any organization, higher than average rates of this phenomenon are a signal that there are issues within the organization that must be amended. In the conversations that I held with local administrative leaders in healthcare organizations, two major trends in high employee turnover rates emerged: overall dissatisfaction with salary and benefits packages, and a dysfunctional organizational culture. In regards to the first trend, there are multiple steps that Human Resources personnel can take to reverse such a trend, which might include offering competitive salaries to employees. However, if the underlying problem seems to be a bad organizational culture, there may need to be a longer-term project established to alter that culture.
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