Nurse Retention Rate Improvement Secret: Analytics - InformationWeek

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4/29/2014
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Nurse Retention Rate Improvement Secret: Analytics

Predictive talent analytics and big data software help Tenet Healthcare reduce nurse turnover by 44%.

EHR Jobs Boom: 8 Hot Health IT Roles
EHR Jobs Boom: 8 Hot Health IT Roles
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With more than 63,000 employees -- and more on the way due to its recent acquisition of Vanguard Health Systems -- Tenet Healthcare wanted to reduce the number of employees who left the organization soon after being hired.

Too many high-quality nurses were moving to other organizations after receiving expensive training -- a cost and inconvenience to patients and other staff members. Tenet is a for-profit operator of 77 hospitals, 189 outpatient centers, and the business process services provider Conifer Health Solutions.

Hiring new staff is expensive. Conservatively, it costs $10,000 in direct recruitment fees to replace a nurse. However, when an organization adds indirect costs such as lost productivity, hiring agency nurses until a new employee arrives, and educating new nurses, it can actually cost $42,000 to replace a medical or surgical nurse and $64,000 to hire a specialty nurse, the American Organization of Nurse Executives estimated a few years ago.

Tenet noticed many employees quit after about three months, said Dina Dunn, vice president of human resources for hospital operations. Others left after approximately a year. "We were either recruiting the wrong people or putting them in the wrong job," Dunn told InformationWeek. "They were assuming one thing, and when they got there, it was something else."

To improve this process, Tenet turned to PeopleAnswers (which Infor acquired in January 2014). The software integrates predictive talent analytics and big data to help organizations determine the characteristics of top-performing employees and discover the best-suited jobs for candidates.

"We're able to save considerable dollars to decrease turnover. We're able to increase revenue by putting the right person in the right role," said Gab Goncalves, senior vice president of human capital management strategy at Infor. "Because it's a pure science approach, it scales across different industries. It scales across different cultures and different countries."

[For more staffing advice, see How To Recruit Top Talent For Dull IT Projects.]

Tenet's nurses took a 30-minute assessment test, creating "behavioral DNA," or a thumbprint that PeopleAnswers then matched with individuals' performance data. Analysis provided Tenet with a list of characteristics common to the best-performing nurses within each specialty, such as surgery, emergency department, and obstetrics.

"What's interesting is how unique these models are. There are literally millions of calculations the software's doing behind the curtain," Goncalves said.

When candidates apply for a nursing position at Tenet, they take the 30-minute assessment test to see whether they're a good fit for one of the open nurse jobs, Dunn said. The assessment tool is linked to Tenet's applicant-tracking system.

"When we first implemented this -- and how we came to a full blown implementation -- was our pilot program had 50% reduction in [its] 90-day turnover. That was a pretty easy sell," she said.

After the full implementation, Tenet slashed nurse attrition by about 44%, the company estimated.

Since the pilot, Tenet expanded the program to improve onboarding. Though most onboarding occurs online and helps new employees navigate benefits, insight into personal preferences helps managers welcome their newest team members, Dunn said. For example, some prefer a lunch with all their new colleagues, whereas others enjoy smaller get-togethers staggered over a few weeks.

In addition, all staff -- from janitors to hospitals' C-suite executives -- take the assessment, she said. The first Vanguard hospital will go live on the PeopleAnswers software in May, with the rest following quickly.

"We will roll it out fast because we know it works," she said. "Often you find yourself looking for that true partner. PeopleAnswers has been a true partner for us."

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Alison Diana is an experienced technology, business and broadband editor and reporter. She has covered topics from artificial intelligence and smart homes to satellites and fiber optic cable, diversity and bullying in the workplace to measuring ROI and customer experience. An ... View Full Bio

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