By Mark Romano, Co-founder Motivation Medics Inc.
Every time a full-time healthcare assistant quits his or her role, it costs the provider roughly 25% of that person's annual compensation or more in turnover. In other words, if that assistant worked full time for the year, and made $42,000, the cost to the provider is around $11,250 if that healthcare assistant quits. Research tells us that turnover can range from as high as 40% to 100% annually, per facility. For facilities with high turnover, these numbers can result in large financial losses year after year and provide lasting negative effects on service delivery.
A recent report from Ontario outlines several key issues facing the recruitment and retention of future support workers. It reports that in 2015/2016 over 8000 students enrolled in personal support worker training programs, however in 2018/2019 only 6500 students enrolled in those same programs.
Fewer people are enrolling in support worker programs, and up to 40% of existing support workers are leaving the health care sector after graduating or within a year of training. On top of that, you have an aging workforce where 25% of support workers in long-term care will be retiring over the next ten years.
As the demand for skilled workers increases and the supply decreases, competition for those workers will become evident. Support workers will now have increased options to choose from when looking for employment in long-term care.
Long-term care providers who invest in retention strategies designed to support staff in the emotional demands of their role will benefit most now, and into the future. If staff is prepared for the emotional demands of their role and able to find meaning in their work, they're more likely to stay employed. A provider can expect to see up to 7 to 10-times return on investment annually by implementing this type of retention program.