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Improve Employee Happiness to Calm Job-Hopping Tendencies

Why Your Nurses Might Be Job-Hopping – and What to Do About It

If you’ve noticed some job-hopping tendencies among nurses these days, you’re not alone. A recent Robert Half survey showed 64 percent of professionals across industries viewed job-hopping positively. And, in case you’re wondering, it is true that workers from the younger generations tend to job-hop more often than staff from previous generations do. Many employees believe changing jobs frequently leads to a higher salary, among other things.

But if switching jobs every couple of years benefits the individual nurse, there’s no doubt it’s bad for hospitals. Care continuity can suffer, and recruitment costs can skyrocket.


The Main Reasons Employees Job Hop

It’s easy to blame job-hopping on pay rates. Sure, if the hospital next door offers a considerably higher salary than your organization does, then you likely will lose some nurses. But a lower pay rate isn’t the only factor that can prompt a nurse to switch jobs.

The Robert Half survey indicated that most employees job-hop due to boredom, feeling undervalued or distrusting their organization’s loyalty to them. Savvy CNOs will address these key factors to calm job-hopping.


Counter Boredom by Offering Assignment Variety

Some nurses find their niche almost immediately. They may feel they were born to work in the NICU, for example, and once ensconced they never want to leave.

Other nurses, however, may need to sample a wide variety of work settings before they find their home. And even long-time nurses who enjoy a particular unit or setting may crave variety from time to time to relieve the boredom that can come from the repetitive nature of routine.

You can easily address the boredom factor by using your scheduling software to let nurses choose shifts on any unit for which they’re qualified. Gone are the days when you had to laboriously coordinate staffing across multiple departments. Today, you can allow nurses to see all the available shifts across multiple units and choose which ones they feel like working that month. Not only will this provide nurses with a sense of variety and engagement, but your hospital will develop a corps of cross-trained nurses who can float from unit to unit with ease.


Demonstrate How Much You Value and Appreciate Your Nurses

Allowing nurses to choose their own shifts and departments confers an added benefit: employee empowerment. Empowered nurses tend to feel more valued. And feeling valued can reduce job-hopping.

Want proof? A survey conducted on behalf of staffing company OfficeTeam found that 66 percent of employees who felt unappreciated would not hesitate to leave their jobs. Under-appreciation emerged as a key reason why staff across industries would be willing to change employers frequently.

Fostering a culture of appreciation should be an everyday job for any nurse manager, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Giving your nurses control over their work schedule conveys how much you value them as trusted partners.


Show Your Loyalty to Your Nurses

Many employers, hospitals included, expect loyalty from their employees without considering how they demonstrate loyalty in return. For example, the Employee Value Formula (Current Performance + Future Potential – Emotional Expensiveness) looks at the concept of value only from the employer’s side of things. But employment is a bona fide relationship between two parties that requires an exchange of value on both sides.

Because nurses may job-hop if they distrust their organization’s loyalty to them, nurse executives should demonstrate loyalty through a mix of initiatives that might include:

  • Family supports, such as on-site daycare, paid parental leave and assistance locating senior care resources for family caregivers
  • Educational support, such as tuition reimbursement and student loan repayment help
  • Career development, including clear-cut pathways for advancement, training courses and succession planning

You can structure these initiatives to reward tenure (as opposed to performance) in order to curb job-hopping. After all, if a nurse feels her organization is demonstrating loyalty to her, she is likely to respond in kind.

It’s hard to blame nurses (or any other employee) for job-hopping if it enhances their career through increased salary or advancement up the ladder. By addressing the most common causes of job-hopping, you can give nurses what they need to commit to your organization for the long term.

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