Alegent Health Care Clinic located in Omaha, Nebraska named one of the "Best Places to Work" in Omaha has not always been this way. A couple of years ago the company consisted of about 8,900 employees to include physicians within their 200 locations.
The turnover rate was 24 percent and this cost the company roughly $15 million a year. After realizing that the HR department need some "acute care treatment" Alegent began forming an employee-retention task force. Since the task force has come in and made changes the turnover rate has dropped significantly. So how did Alegent's practices match with the recommended retention practices covered in Chapter 5 and why was Alegent's broad-based approach to the nursing retention important?
How did Alegent's practices match with the recommended retention practices covered in Chapter 5? To begin let's look at the drivers of retention. The drivers of retention are: organizational and management factors, work relationships, job and work-life, rewards: compensation, benefits, and performance, career training and development, and employer policies and practices. It is important that Alegent first looked at these drivers to discover the key areas that needed the most focus.
Alegent chose to change the employee communication program, the reward and recognition program and the Nurse Retention program. Dave Gambino who is the Vice President of marketing and business believed making these changes would work because he believes that happy employees will deliver exceptional customer service and stay around (Employee satisfaction, 2003).
For the communication program an Employee Relations Council was formed and this served as a liaison between employees and senior management to address employee concerns and issues. The counsel consist of various professions throughout Alegent's departments within the organization. Alegent than began to revamp the rewards program by initiating "Alegent One" an employee recognition program that provides a way to not only recognize employees but also allows for peer-to-peer recognition (Employee satisfaction, 2003).
Some of the rewards included monetary awards ranging from $5-$1000 and recognition at the annual dinner. This was a way of Alegent saying thank you to its employees. The biggest change of course was the Nursing Residence Program which offers several different programs to ensure the nurses happiness. This program helped turnover rate drop to 7.6 percent. The program tackled residency issues, scholarships, training, career advancement, and school loans.
The residency program is a year long mentor program that assigns new nursing graduates to a workplace mentor. the scholarship program serves as a tuition payment program which is offered to nursing students who are offered employment within Alegent's Acute Care and Senior Health Clinic in exchange for tuition payment which is forgiven over 3 years of full time (Riley-Nocita, 2003). The Nurse Refresher Course (training) is for nurses who have been out of the health care setting for five years.
The career advancement program provided the opportunity to employees who sought to become registered nurses (RN) by paying for tuition, books, fees and employees received a $700/monthly stipend. This also intelled a three year commitment. The last program was the Loan Forgiveness Program. This program assist nurses in repaying outside student loans as long as the nurse commits to work full time. Night shift would receive $10K and dayshift $5K over a five year period. Now this leads into the next question….
Why was Alegent’s broad-based approach to nursing retention important? This approach was important during this time enrollment in nursing school had dropped by 21% and the number of registered nurses under the age of 30 had dropped by 48 % (Nurse Retention, 2007). Because of the high turnover rate that Alegent had they had to do something that would attract nurses to one work for their company and keep the staff that they currently had. These programs gave a sense of job security and showed effective management throughout the organization which are two of the things that the text states leads to less turnover.
To conclude, Alegent Health Care realized that they had a tremendous problem within their HR department which caused a high turnover rate. They immediately sought help and initiated programs that decreased their turnover rate drastically. By initiating programs such as the Nursing Residence Program, Alegent is now one of the "Best Places to Work" in Omaha.
- Employee satisfaction is key to success for Alegent health. (2003, Oct 1). Health Care Strategic Management, Retrieved Dec 6, 2012, from http://www.highbeam.com
- Mathis, Robert L. and Jackson, John H. (2011). Human Resource Management. Mason, Ohio: South-Western, Thomson.
- Riley-Nocita, Suzanne (Jan, 2003). Ideas in action - case example. Hospital Connect, Retrieved Dec 6, 2012 from http://www.healthcareworkforce.org