CREATES: An approach to employee retention

A simple acronym can help your practice retain staff.

How many of you have had turnover, Covid and other illnesses, care for family issues, other organization pirating our staff, work from home (WFH) issues, burnout, and employees leaving for hire paying jobs? It seems to be a never-ending battle to deal with employees, turnover, burnout, and related stress. Turnover is expensive. The Society for Human Resource Management estimates turnover costs between 70% and 200% of an annual salary due to recruiting, interviewing, training, and lower productivity rates – you don’t write out a check for that amount, you just use or loose resources. What can be done to retain physicians and knowledge workers?

First is the hope that your hired right! If you are looking to hire, do it right!

An acronym that works for retention is CREATES! The breakdown is as follows.

C is for culture. How has your organization dealt with masks, vaccines, time off, wage and salary adjustments and bonuses? Have you been consistent, effective in communications, and transparent? Is your mission clear, understood, and lived? There is no right or wrong approach, just how your organization has done it.

R is for reward. What has been done for wage adjustments? How about recognition for staying, for a job well done? Recognition is accomplished with money true. But that is a small but necessary part. Customized benefits where you understand the needs of the various generations and so much more, read on.

E is for engagement. Do you listen to employees? Do you recognize their individual contributions to the success of each patient visit? An engaged employee, one who buys into the mission, sees a purpose for their efforts in improving patient care, and achieving a level of personal satisfaction is critical to your success.

A is for attention. Effective communication and transparency. Effective through various means including one on one exchanges, meetings, emails, texts, and the like will get and keep the focus on your mission.

T is for teach. Younger employees are hungry for more knowledge and for personal growth and personal development opportunities. A learning organization focuses on formal training, mentoring and effective coaching.

E is for execute. One of the biggest reasons employees leave is due to poor management. Doing none of the above. Are you a Theory X manager – authoritarian, micro-manager? Or a Theory Y manager – open, delegator? Now is a good time to take a serious look at yourself and how you work to develop managers, supervisors, and lead workers who you work with.

S is for schedule. Flexible time is critical for all. This includes days of or hours away to care for a circumstance outside of the office that is important to the employee. A goal of work life integration, going beyond just balancing.

This all leads to a question of meeting individual, yours, and your staffs, well-being. Gallup defines well-being around five major factors: career, social, financial, physical and community. An effective approach that CREATES a retention strategy will reduce costs, improve patient retention and treatment plan compliance, and well satisfied employees served by your medical practice.

Owen Dahl, LFACHE, CHBC is a consultant, author, speaker and professor with more than 50 years of experience in healthcare administration. He is an independent consultant based in The Woodlands, Texas.