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What We Learned About Attracting and Retaining People: Your Most Valuable Asset


October 10, 2022

Read about some important lessons Matchwell’s Director of Partnership Development learned while visiting Music City, USA for a frank discussion on vital engagement ideas for healthcare professionals. 


Music City, USA (also known as Nashville, TN) hosted a group of healthcare leaders to start a much-needed discussion on how we can save our healthcare workforce. Quint Studer and Dan Collard from Healthcare Plus Solutions Group lead a conversation on attracting and retaining our most valuable asset – people! One of the most poignant takeaways is that leaders should focus on their organizations’ unique needs based on their diverse workforce and the challenges weighing them down. With your organization’s culture and needs in mind, here are a few thoughts and ideas that can be implemented today.


Find their “why.”

We started the day by individually reflecting on why we got into healthcare and why we stay; a simple but powerful exercise for leaders to walk through with their teams. While everyone has their unique story, the theme that stood out to me was healthcare leaders show up because they feel they serve a larger purpose. Matchwell saw this same theme in our nationwide research– nurses and other healthcare workers went into the profession because they care and continue to show up every day because they care.  


Know what’s realistic.

Quint discussed optimizing human potential, reminding us that although we want to implement new processes to drive change and improvement in our organizations, we need to be mindful of what we’re able to do – even if it means breaking our plans into smaller pieces. Sometimes we’re so focused on what we want to accomplish and want to ‘go fast’ – but we have to make sure it’s doable, especially in light of the additional stressors our teams have seen in the last 30 months. 


Talk to your workforce.

We discussed the age-old saying that “people don’t leave their job; they leave their boss.” Although it can still be true, there are many reasons people are leaving, so let’s ask more questions without assuming we know why. We want to keep the right people on our teams because an engaged workforce will impact better clinical outcomes. We also want to account for the multi-generational workforce as well. Training and development are two factors that we know are important to Millenials, but if you’re not talking to your workforce, you won’t know. 


Don’t celebrate too soon.

Many organizations “declare victory” just by having resources available to their employees, when the more important measure is how much they are utilized. An example would be EAP benefits – look to see how many (not who) are taking advantage of this valuable resource. Did you know that although 72% of nurses have access to mental health support, only 10% utilize it? Find out today if your employees are taking advantage of your programs because if not, that could be a great place to start. 


Get rid of the rocks.

I’ll leave you with one more challenge based on an analogy that resonated with me. Dan Collard talked about “the rocks in our team’s backpack.” What things are causing additional strain on your workforce and what can you do about it? While you may be unable to remove all the boulders, some rocks or some annoying pebbles are hindering your organization’s success. As a leader, help to identify the rocks and remove the ones you can. 


Thank you to all the leaders who continue to show up every day and have these difficult conversations and the bravery to take innovative concepts back to their organizations. Let us know what you are seeing and doing as a healthcare leader to invest in your most valuable asset — the people of your healthcare system. 

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