Don't Go - February 2022

Don't Go - February 2022

Keep an eye out for an article I'm writing for ACHE's (American College of Healthcare Executives) Frontiers of Health Service Management (Consider joining if you haven’t!). The summer issue features actions organizations are taking to address workforce challenges. In it I will highlight six RWHC Member hospitals who are doing everything they can to attract and keep great people. These organizational efforts matter, and the crisis is real. For the dire predictions, look here in the WCMEW report (Wisconsin Council on Medical Education and Workforce) for the thousands of workforce shortages we’ll be facing in the next decade without serious and immediate interventions.

Increasing pay is one strategy, and an important one. Money matters. But we will not buy our way out of this crisis because it is not the only thing that keeps people from jumping ship for greener pastures.

An organization's leaders, YOU, directly impact hanging on to the employees you want to keep. Ponder your answers to the following questions to boost your retention impact through your actions.
  • Where can you show flexibility? I know a very high performing millennial who is probably going to leave her job soon. She does most of her work on the computer but the boss wants to “see” everyone in the office. In healthcare many cannot work remotely, but this is just one way we show flexibility. Where can you give control over in the “four T’s” of autonomy: time, task, technique, and team? These choices build motivation, and motivated employees tend to stay.
  • Do you use people’s names? This is one of those tiny things with big meaning. Knowing and saying someone’s name just feels good to people. It helps you too, especially if it is someone you tend to avoid. Saying someone’s name, with the intention to connect, can soften your struggle.
  • When did you last buy ice cream? My manager Darrell Statz just sent out an email as I write this, “Having Culver’s custard in the break room at 2:22 today for 2.22.22 day.”  That’s a throw down, y’all.
  • Who do you appreciate? Go out right now and find someone doing something well and tell them how much you value their contribution. Make your appreciation specific to them, their style, skill or special talent that they bring to it. Particularly notice those who you might otherwise walk right by. Notice someone outside your department and then send an email to their manager, copying the employee, about the great work you noticed.
  • Is there room in your heart for Z? I don’t mean sleep. I mean open your heart and mind to Gen Z, the youngest of our workforce. Perhaps in any generational difference, an essential quality is humility. We need young people to be successful, and they won’t do it our way. Befriend young people and let them know you are there for them and willing to change.
  • Are you actively minimizing drama? Drama often sounds like, “I heard…did you know…I don’t know about that new policy…,” etc. Instead of allowing information vacuums to be filled with stories, get in front of people regularly with the truth. Hold huddles to update people on what is really happening. My friend Cella brings humor to it with her phrase, “You have 5 minutes to complain; do it here and then we move on.” Less drama means more productivity and less people looking for other jobs.
  • Have you decided YOU want to stay? If so, think about why. If not, define why not and talk to someone about it. Too often people leave because they are not getting what they want without ever having asked for what they want. To that point, don’t wait for employees to come to you. Even a simple rounding question of, “Do you have what you need to do your best work here?” can give you insight into what might make an employee want to stick around.
  • What about the future? Now is hard. And what I have been hearing from people lately is they are weary of even talking about weariness. So look ahead and ask people, “If things were great two years from now, what will be different? What could we start on now to make this improved state come to life?”


Jo Anne Preston In Jo Anne's current role as Organizational and Workforce Development Senior Manager at the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC) her aim is to offer to leaders straightforward tools and inspire the courage to use them.
Leading The Way In Five Mintues A Day

Lead the Way in Five Minutes A Day: Sparking High Performance in Yourself and Your Team, by Jo Anne Preston is currently available for purchase.

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