IHS Successful Retention Practices
Retention Brief
Volume 2
Issue 7
July 2015
“By involving staff members in facility- wide reviews, directors can engender goodwill and gain insights into the reasons for employee turnover.”
Shared Decision Making

The IHS Division of Health Professions Support (DHPS) is pleased to bring you the seventh Retention Brief in our series designed to address the challenges of retaining health professionals and clinical staff.

Finding out why providers are leaving your facility and determining whether compensation played a role in their decision to leave is the first step in this process. By involving staff members in facility-wide reviews, directors can engender goodwill and gain insights into the reasons for employee turnover. By inviting staff members to analyze why providers are leaving and whether or not there is a pay gap between their own and competing facilities, directors can often lengthen retention rates for important staff positions.

Encourage Peer Review

As a clinical director, one good way to uncover reasons for employee turnover is to form a Medical Staff Retention Committee and invite medical staff and administrators to participate in it. Typically, a few members of the staff step forward to volunteer for the committee and begin to meet (weekly) during their lunch hour. During this time, they perform a comprehensive review of existing staff retention issues and salaries. A good source for comparison is the Physician Compensation and Production Survey produced by the Medical Group Management Association.

The committee’s analysis may well reveal that salaries could be increased by 50 percent of the pay gap between their facility and others that compete for their medical professionals. One


successful committee used six specialties to demonstrate their findings to their hospital’s executive leadership. Because hiring and retaining staff in these particular positions would lessen the need for more costly contractors, it was projected that a pay increase in these areas would not adversely impact the budget. The hospital implemented a salary increase in each of the six specialties examined, resulting in measurable success in the areas of recruitment and retention. This proven success enabled the committee to propose another new plan to the hospital’s executive leadership, which in turn closed 50 percent of the pay gap for the entire medical staff.

Final Feedback

By conducting exit interviews to determine why staff members leave their facilities, clinical directors can use that data to strengthen retention and recruitment efforts. Often, this may mean increasing compensation. And by involving medical staff members in an employee-based compensation review committee, the staff can become more accepting of the changes that need to be made. While individual personnel matters will always affect retention, staff members may be motived to stay if given competitive compensation.

Shared Management

When you implement the concept of shared management, employees feel they are part of a fair and equitable decision-making process and they become empowered by the organization’s willingness to let them help lead.

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The policy of the IHS is to provide absolute preference to qualified Indian applicants and employees who are suitable for federal employment in filling vacancies within the IHS. IHS is an equal opportunity employer.

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