hiring nurses: Nursing culture quiz resultsYou already know how difficult the current healthcare recruiting climate is. Between a growing skills gap and historically low unemployment, hospitals, senior living facilities, and other organizations are having trouble hiring efficiently. And this problem is particularly painful if you’re focused on hiring nurses.

With an expected nursing shortage of about 1.2 million by 2022, we wanted to better understand what healthcare organizations are doing to hire, keep, and grow nursing talent. Last Nurses Week, we launched a “Nurse Culture Quiz” to look at nursing culture and determine whether healthcare organizations are creating work environments that attract or repel nursing talent.

With more than 100 respondents, we dug into the data to give you a glimpse at how healthcare organizations are doing at building a culture that fuels best-in-class nurse hiring.

Here are some of the most important and interesting takeaways we found:

Changing Demographics

Naturally occurring changes in workforce demographics are making it more difficult to attract and retain nurses in 2018. Every industry today is dealing with the challenge of an aging baby boomer population and healthcare is no different as nearly 30 percent of respondents say their teams are mostly in the mid- or late-stages of their careers, and only about 40 percent felt they had a good mix of ages in their workforce. Without a good mix of ages in their workforces, healthcare organizations can’t effectively fill senior roles from within as baby boomers vacate. This forces organizations to expend crucial resources on attracting, engaging, and hiring outside talent.

Further, about 35 percent of respondents say the majority of their nursing staff are either millennials or recent graduates, suggesting these organizations might lack the resources to effectively coach and mentor a young staff. This, in turn, can make future recruiting efforts more difficult as career growth and development remains a high employer value proposition for millennials and Gen Z.

Learning and Development

With unemployment low and demand high, it’s a job seekers’ market, and nurses can be more selective about which organizations they want to work for. Career growth is a top employer value proposition, but results from the quiz suggest organizations aren’t doing enough to make learning and development a selling point in their job descriptions.

More than half of respondents, about 56 percent, do not have a formal plan in place for training and developing their nurses, outside of regulatory compliance requirements.

Further, our respondents’ answers suggest many organizations are also lacking in their coaching and mentoring efforts, with 70 percent admitting to having only informal and unstructured one-on-one meetings, or none at all. Only about 1 in 4 respondents reported having a formalized plan for regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings with between nurse managers and team members.

Employee Engagement

Understanding and improving employee engagement is one of the most important responsibilities a talent manager has in healthcare. Not only does engagement have a direct impact on recruitment and retention, but more importantly, it directly impacts performance and quality of care.

According to quiz respondents, healthcare organizations have room to improve when it comes to employee engagement, especially when it comes to measuring their current efforts. While 40 percent of respondents say they regularly send out engagement surveys, a little less than 40 percent said they don’t send these surveys consistently. Further, nearly 25 percent say they don’t send out engagement surveys at all.

One way healthcare organizations have tried to increase nursing engagement is through collaborative staffing models, and a majority of respondents (53 percent) said they are leveraging this tactic. Collaborative staffing models also have a direct impact on day-to-day staffing levels, as an overwhelming 85 percent of respondents who did not leverage a collaborative staffing model also reported having a problem with nurses frequently calling in sick or missing shifts.

Retention and Vacancy

The most important takeaway from our quiz data comes around retention and vacancy.

More than 40 percent of respondents reported having a nursing turnover rate between 11 percent and 20 percent. These organizations are not only struggling to keep their nurses, but they’re having trouble hiring new ones after the roles open up — less than one-third of respondents have a nurse vacancy rate of 10 percent or lower. One-in-four have a nursing vacancy rate of 21 percent or higher, and most have a nurse vacancy rate of 11 percent to 20 percent.

What’s most shocking about these responses isn’t the high turnover rate or the high vacancy rate, but the fact that most organizations aren’t doing anything to fix the problem. Fewer than 25 percent of respondents reported having a documented nursing retention strategy in place, and about 40 percent don’t have any strategy in place, documented or otherwise.

How does your organization compare? Take our “Nurse Culture Quiz” for yourself and find out!

Read more resources from The Nurse Leadership Toolkit:

About Salvatore Trifilio

Salvatore Trifilio is a content marketer and former journalist who has written extensively on talent management and technology. Recently, Sal has focused almost exclusively on topics around recruitment marketing, talent acquisition, and employer branding for a wide range of industries and verticals. When he isn’t hammering away at his keyboard, Sal enjoys brewing beer and watching baseball.