Looking for better strategies to recruit and retain registered nurses?

The talent acquisition process has evolved significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many hospitals and health systems are finding that the recruitment and retention techniques they previously utilized are no longer enough to satisfy prospective and current employees. Faced with unprecedented staffing concerns regarding registered nurses (RN), organizations are seeking solutions that will help them recruit and retain this workforce.

Based on recent workforce trends, hospitals and health systems should consider the following strategies:

Enhancing Current Compensation Strategies

  • Increase market positioning to the 50th percentile (median) or higher, especially for critical roles
  • Consider introducing specialty pay to recognize specialized skillset requirements
  • Utilize sign-on, referral, retention and other bonuses for hard-to-fill roles
  • Ensure across-the-board or merit increases occur annually (expect 4% in 2022) to avoid market lag
  • Accelerate progression to midpoint for early-in-career RNs
  • Offer short-term, contract-based bonuses for vacant/night/weekend shifts
  • Create or enhance in-house travel nursing programs to provide additional opportunities for current RNs

Creating a Supportive Environment

  • Utilize workforce flexibility such as non-traditional schedules, remote work, weekender programs and other accommodations
  • Employ career ladders to support and illustrate development opportunities and career paths
  • Strengthen safety and quality processes designed to identify and correct the root cause and swiftly address issues
  • Allow nurses to work to the top of their license by providing clinical and/or clerical support where possible
  • Share your mission, values and diversity, equity and inclusion goals

Expanding Benefits Offerings

  • Consider enhanced benefit offerings such as on-site childcare, parking or transportation, home-buying assistance, student loan reimbursement, fertility
    benefits, expanded parental and eldercare leave, additional time off, or sabbaticals
  • Increase retirement contributions for employees who are further in their careers and/or for those who have extended tenure
  • Empower employees with cash and non-cash peer and subordinate recognition programs
  • Clearly and frequently communicate the value of employees’ total rewards packages

Encouraging Feedback and Collaboration

  • Utilize team-based care models
  • Support and encourage open-door policies
  • Encourage RN input and participation in policy-making
  • Provide opportunities to participate in management roundtables and the development of action plans
  • Increase opportunities for workplace committee participation and other developmental experiences
  • Communicate successes and failures
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