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5 Ways to Keep your Best Healthcare Providers that Don’t Include a Raise

July 17, 2019

Medical Practice ChallengesDependable healthcare providers are increasingly difficult to find, so once you have hired, trained and on-boarded an employee, you need to do everything you can to retain them for the long term. Every time you have to hire a new nurse or medical professional, it costs your facility money; recent research suggests locating, screening and hiring a single nurse can cost your facility over $14,000. A physician or specialist is even more costly to replace; if you lose one of your doctors and you’ll need to fork over a hefty $58,000 in recruitment, screening, onboarding and credentialing costs to replace them. Since the replacement process is so incredibly costly, it pays to retain your best employees as long as you can. 

The current nursing shortage means that your nursing staff may be the most important team to focus on of all. The shortage is making it more expensive to identify and hire skilled nurses; retiring baby boomers, a growing older population and even a shortage of nursing students entering the profession have all led to an ongoing emergency for facilities. This shortfall is not going away; it is expected to intensify in the coming years, so retaining the nurses and specialists you have worked so hard to hire is essential if you want to continue to offer stellar patient care. 

Retention is About More than Salary

Offering a salary increase seems to be the most straightforward way to make sure your employees stick around, but a recent survey of nurses indicates that job satisfaction is linked to far more than just money. Satisfaction with an employer is the primary reason that healthcare providers, staff and administrators give for moving on, or for staying in place, so learning what factors matter most to healthcare employees is the key to ensuring you stay fully staffed with a quality team. Each of the following factors doesn’t increase a provider’s salary, but does significantly boost their job satisfaction, commitment and loyalty to a job. 

Opportunities for Advancement

According to the American Journal of Nursing, a prime indicator of job satisfaction for nurses is the ability to continue to advance their careers. New nurses want to become established, while experienced nurses are interested in advance certifications and techniques and in moving into both nursing management and administration. Brands that offer room for advancement, that look to fill new vacancies internally and that have an ongoing investment and commitment in their providers’ success are far more likely to keep their most important employees. The ability to work to their full potential and at their highest level of education was the second highest indicator of satisfaction for nurses, second only to providing high quality care and making a difference for patients. 

Educational Support and Ongoing Learning

Facilities that offer ongoing opportunities for learning for providers at all levels are more likely to create a loyal bond and to ensure that important staff is retained. For new nurses, employers that offered residency programs, provided guidance and mentorship and that made the progress from student to working professional a seamless one were highly sought after and most likely to remain with their employer. 

Experienced nurses pointed out the ability to access continuing certification and classes for career advancement as one of the strongest reasons for loyalty and satisfaction. Nurses wishing to move on to advanced levels, who want to begin working as travel or remote nurses or who are working towards a specialty give facilities that offer educational opportunity the highest marks. 

For physicians, access to other, more experienced doctors and surgeons, the availability of observation and teaching opportunities and the overall attention paid by a facility to ongoing education for providers is a key indicator of satisfaction and success. 


Since so many providers are focused on education, a flexible schedule that allows for classroom and practical attendance, events and training is another essential. Brands that make it easy for a staffer to continue to learn and evolve will find they retain far more of their staff. Flexible hours and time set aside strictly for education and who make it easy to attend lectures and classes support an individual’s initiatives and will earn their loyalty. 

A Chance to Make a Difference

In a 2018 survey of over 10,000 working RNs, NP and CNS providers, the top reason given for job satisfaction and happiness with an employer had nothing to do with salary at all. Up to 50% of nurse managers, nurse practitioners and certified nurses indicated that their top reason for satisfaction was the ability to effectively help patients and to make a difference. Less than 5% of nurses indicated that salary was a key reason for satisfaction; this low number holds true for doctors and specialists as well. 

Healthy Relationships with Administration and Coworkers

The communication style, the overall feel of working for a specific facility and the relationships formed with other providers and staff also feature significantly in how healthcare workers feel about their employer and job. Facilities with high levels of retention have supportive, positive relationships in place. Those with dysfunctional relationships, with negative cultures or that produce a lot of strife and tension will find they also have high, costly turnover rates when it comes to nursing staff. A messy office system or back of the house can lead to strife between providers and staff; it can also contribute to frustration for your providers, since they may have to revisit the same topics again and again. 

Rewarding and Retaining your Medical Team

Providers themselves have spoken, and while a competitive salary is part of any good compensation package, the ability to help others, to be flexible enough to continue to learn and a supportive environment are all critical factors that impact satisfaction. The culture of your workplace, makeup of your staff and the level of communication and relationship-building your facility offers will also impact your overall retention of your hardest to replace employees. Since replacement is so costly, facilities can’t afford to ignore the non-monetary factors that matter most for their in-house teams. 

The more adept you are at tracking patient care, processing bills and payments and collecting revenues, the better equipped you’ll be to focus on retaining your staff. You’ll eliminate some of the most common barriers to a positive workplace culture by reducing redundancies, improving efficiency and freeing up your team to provide the kind of in-depth and outstanding care they crave. Contact us at 770-666-0470 to learn more about retaining your hard-won employees, or any hiring needs and the impact that your financials have on your workplace.

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