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Boost Healthcare Talent Retention

with Internal Comms

The Story

82% of healthcare executives say that difficulty hiring and retaining talent is a key business risk, according to a recent PwC Pulse Survey.


On top of a light blue background is a stethoscope graphic. The chest piece of the stethoscope is dart board with a dart hitting the red bullseye.


Behind the Headline

The talent crisis in healthcare isn’t new, but it continues to accelerate as increasing patient demand and pandemic-related burnout collide with the ongoing provider shortage.




Clearly, the stakes could not be higher for healthcare organizations to keep the staff they already have.


Of course, practical support — from the staffing structure to digital tools to compensation packages — is critical, especially for recruitment. But research shows that it’s the organizational culture that can make or break the loyalty of everyone from nurses to security guards.


That’s a leadership challenge. And a communications opportunity.


A study published in JAMA Health Forum found that healthcare workers cited feeling valued and effective teamwork as factors that mitigate burnout.


A recent Press Ganey study of 410,000 healthcare employees similarly found that organizations’ commitment to excellence and focus on patient care were top drivers of loyalty.


Shaping a culture that builds loyalty and reflects your mission, purpose and people starts with communication that goes far beyond internal newsletters. Rather, it’s a mindset that should inform every employee touchpoint.


Here are four cornerstones of culture-building communication:


Tell stories with heart. Storytelling is a way to focus on the humanity of your work — likely the very reason your employees chose to work in healthcare. A mission statement is great, but stories of the day-to-day impact you are making — whether you’re a large insurer or a small private practice — are what bring that purpose to life and stay with your staff after a long day of focusing on the details. Include these stories in team meetings and leadership presentations, and reference them in emails and updates. Excellent patient care is your “why,” and every communication should be rooted in that shared purpose.


Applaud achievement. Want to bond a team and boost loyalty? Make it a habit to recognize staff in communications and train managers to do the same. An individual win encourages the whole team and is another way to highlight your heart and values in action.


Invite personal connection. Healthcare organizations may be juggling shift workers, remote workers and employees who are patient-facing all day. It’s hard to build camaraderie and a sense of belonging when workers are scattered and don’t have a chance to share something about themselves outside of work. (There’s a reason the water cooler is so important!) So, think strategically about how to emphasize breakroom-style connection. Perhaps it’s a few Slack channels dedicated to book recommendations and pet photos, a contest, or a page on your intranet dedicated for employees to chat outside of work hours and topics. Maybe it’s re-prioritizing fun teams or company-wide events. The point is to honor their humanity and personal life outside the office and create space for employees to engage personally with colleagues throughout your company.


Stop talking. Create intentional time and space in your communications to simply listen. Your staff will tell you what’s not working. And by letting them know their on-the-ground insights matter, you’re telling them that they matter – a powerful way to build loyalty.


The tools and tactics will change for each organization – and we love talking about that too.

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