Healthcare Is Bad at Hiring — Here’s a New Solution

High employee turnover has plagued healthcare organizations for decades, and the problem is about to get worse. Baby boomers are retiring. Fewer young people are entering the field. And with the massive transformation in how care is being delivered, organizations need to hire for new types of roles.

For healthcare organizations, turnover is hugely expensive. It can cost upwards of $100,000 to replace a single nurse, according to a study in the Journal of Nursing Administration — and that’s not taking into account onboarding and training.

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Healthcare executives are well aware there’s a problem. More than eighty-five percent of organizations view workforce retention as a “key strategic imperative.” And yet when it comes to taking action, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are doing — nothing. According to a recent study by NSI Nursing Solutions, fewer than half of all hospitals have retention strategies.

Hiring Isn’t Working

It’s clear from healthcare’s sky-high first-year turnover rate — one study found that 28.3% of employees leave before one year — that the typical approaches to hiring and onboarding are in dire need of upheaval.

For example, hiring is often left up to the human resources department with little input from the hiring manager, which may not be informed on the kind of talent needed or the cultural fit of a particular department.

Even direct managers are not good at predicting the right people for a given job, according to the Gallup Organization, which found that “[unconscious] bias can manifest at work leading to a myopic, homogeneous workforce.”

A New Solution

Human hiring decisions are flawed. Data, AI, and predictive analytics can help.

A meta-analysis of 17 studies of applicant evaluations, first published in 2013 in the Journal of Applied Psychology, found that a simple equation outperformed human decisions by at least 25%. Interviewers are too often “distracted by things that might only be marginally relevant, and they use information inconsistently,” according to the study’s authors.

By using data and predictive analytics, healthcare organizations can generate customized predictions for each role in each department in each location. Many times, the outcomes will be a surprise to hiring managers. The cost savings related to lower turnover will be a surprise too — a very welcome one.

For more about the scale of the healthcare workforce challenge, and how data analytics can help, download Workforce Strategy Comes to the Fore: Finding a New Way to Hire Is Mission Critical for Health Leaders.