IHS Successful Retention Practices
Retention Brief
Volume 2
Issue 8
August 2015
Taking the Next Step

The IHS Division of Health Professions Support (DHPS) is pleased to bring you the August and final Retention Brief in our eNew series this year. Thank you for your support and interest — we hope you and your colleagues found this year’s eNewsletter content to be helpful in addressing the challenges of retaining valued health professional and clinical staff.

Nurturing talented employees is a great way to reduce employee turnover and to encourage top performers to continue their careers within the Indian health system. As your employees advance in their careers, they will look for new challenges both within and outside of the organization. By taking a proactive approach in career development and communication, you can gain employee trust and help promising individuals reach their potential.

Be a Career Builder

A supportive leader identifies an individual’s drive and commitment to improve and then finds ways to provide that person with career development opportunities, such as additional training, more responsibility or by suggesting a new, more suitable assignment.

Promoting Career Development and Communication

A great way to retain quality staff members is to act as their mentor and advocate. It is the responsibility of a leader to make opportunities work toward the employees’ best interests under any circumstances. Top performing employees will find greater satisfaction at a workplace where they see a path to achieving their professional aspirations and have a leader willing to support them along the way. Helping individuals reach their potential is important, even if they outgrow the facility or reach a higher position than the leader.

Promote an open dialogue with your employees about their career plans, including setting short- and long-term professional goals. Through good communication, you can


understand your employees’ career goals and help them identify leadership development or other professional development programs that would enhance their professional skillsets. Use your network to promote the strengths of top performing employees to other departments in your facility or other Indian health facilities in your area and spread the word about a staffer with great potential who wants a new challenge. Encourage your employees to stay within the Indian health system or the public health field and, if possible, make introductions with recruiters to ensure they get the help they need along the way. Be realistic, but don’t limit your employees; encourage them to seek positions that may be out of reach but could eventually be obtained with continued effort.

Final Feedback

Great talent calls for great mentors. Help your employees find the career path they want within the Indian health system by helping them set and achieve career goals. Check in with talented employees on a regular basis to see how you can help advance their careers. Nurture your professional relationships with employees and colleagues in the field. As staff look for a new challenge, those who trust in their leader for support in reaching their potential will be more motivated to stay within the organization.

Set the Right Course

Strong leadership involves understanding what your organization can do well and devising a strategic plan to accomplish organizational goals. It’s important to focus on building good communication skills that will allow you to clearly articulate your ideas and decisions to staff and inspire them to take an interest in achieving the best outcomes. By placing an emphasis on being accessible to all staff members, you can share your vision with them and provide them with a path to meet their needs while helping achieve your organization's goals.

Making the right decision for your facility overall may require you to make changes among the staff and the way the facility works. Explain any necessary changes upfront and have the staff work with you to implement those changes. This will foster confidence, dedication and a team environment within the workplace.

Career Development

When you implement a career development strategy, you are investing in your employees and making it easier for them to have the career they want within the Indian health system. By your example, they will be inspired to mentor other talented employees as you have mentored them.

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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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