The new rules for recruiting and retaining nurses
The bottom line is nurses are burned out and leaving their jobs. In the midst of this staffing shortage, providers must reconsider their recruitment strategies to secure the best talent in today’s already competitive nursing job market. Let’s explore a few strategies for success.
Nurses’ professional expectations have changed. So too have the techniques medical centers and other organizations must use to recruit them and keep them on staff. These organizations face unprecedented challenges: In a recent McKinsey & Company survey, “29 percent of responding RNs in the United States indicated they were likely to leave their current role in direct patient care, with many respondents noting their intent to leave the workforce entirely.”
Our 2021 article, Ten recruiting strategies to attract nurses, provided a foundation for nursing recruitment. Now as we approach 2023, providers must reconsider their recruitment strategies to secure the best talent in today’s already competitive nursing job market.
Five workplace strategies that create successful nursing teams
Great advertising isn’t enough. Today’s nurses need substantial evidence and results; therefore, recruitment and retention must go hand in hand. Here are five steps you can take starting today to get your nursing recruitment program on track for lasting retention and success.
1. Facilitate desirable professional experiences
Organizations must make “the value proposition and pathways for a nursing career more visible and clear,” as McKinsey describes. Taking simple steps that improve nurses’ daily lives goes a long way in boosting recruitment and retention.
For example, formalize efforts to prevent burnout among your staff and share those efforts with potential hires. Provide a workplace that doesn’t just encourage professional respect but also takes steps to ensure it. Demonstrate to job candidates that employees have a voice in terms of the direction their responsibilities will take them.
2. Prioritize inclusivity
Inclusivity involves more than diversity, and it can contribute to more successful hiring and retention when aligned with workplace results. “People want not only to be hired, but included,” says Eileen P. Williamson, MSN, RN and author for Nurse.com. “Inclusion underscores that when we hire someone from a diverse group we do so because we want what he or she offers, not because we have a certain employee mix to meet.”
Adapt your management style to prioritize inclusivity within your team. Develop clear policies about inclusivity and support in the workplace. Encourage existing staff to be welcoming to potential employees of all backgrounds. Ensure your existing employees take proactive steps to accommodate new employees as well.
3. Provide real flexibility
Flexibility must become more than a talking point. Adopt techniques that allow for scheduling flexibility and accommodation for unique circumstances (e.g., family emergencies).
Most importantly, listen to the needs of staff and even potential hires. “Listening to caregiver needs is the first step to greater workplace flexibility,” as Becker's Hospital Review describes. Demonstrate to potential hires that your senior staff is “doing the work” to accommodate nurses and other employees in these areas.
4. Invest in truly helpful technology
Technologies should be resources that help patients and the teams that support them first, the organization and its KPIs second. Prioritize technologies that augment nurses’ labor, making their jobs easier with less risk of error. Solutions may include nurses’ stations that nurses can customize or dashboards that help nurses quickly and easily find the information they need, among others. Mobile devices that nurses can use to access EHRs from anywhere in the facility are also helpful, and they make for marketable workplace advantages when connecting with potential hires.
5. Personalize career development
Demonstrate to potential hires that your environment provides a pathway to more professional opportunities. Formalize learning experiences that matter to employees. Allow nurses to shadow senior team members in ways that yield results for them. Prepare senior team members for these roles. Provide nurses with compensation packages that scale with time, experience, and professional growth as well.
Substance makes the difference
Nurses need to see that their workplace is one where they will be respected, have opportunities to grow, and be a part of a team that prioritizes their unique needs. Certainly, the methods for targeting and engaging nursing candidates online and in person are important. But it is the substance of your workplace and the experiences it supports that make these campaigns effective.