DALLAS – Earlier this year in Dallas, the topic of workforce retention reverberated around the halls and into the educational session rooms at Medtrade. Miriam Lieber, president of California-based Lieber Consulting LLC and Scott Stone, CEO and founder of Moat presented on the issue that remains a persistent challenge for HME providers.
In 2022, voluntary turnover rose 20% on average and Lieber has seen the effects. “People left their jobs in 2022 for jobs with more flexible schedules and for work from home positions,” she says. “Moreover, employees left their jobs to work for companies that focus more on employees’ well-being rather than just the company’s needs.”
Lieber (pictured right at Medtrade 2023) points out that it costs up to 200% of a yearly salary to replace someone, so “it behooves all of us to focus on retention of employees, making sure we have the right people in the right seats from the outset.”
How can employers foster a better workplace culture? Lieber recommends that leaders engage in one-on-one meetings with staff. Not only should they review their work progress, but they should banter about things other than work. “The human side of the employee needs nurturing too,” Lieber says. “Leaders should provide mentors for new hires, at a minimum. They should also query staff about ways to discover their strengths and how they’d like to strengthen them.”
Many executives who spoke with Scott Stone at Medtrade were struggling with attracting and retaining talent. Execs wanted to know: “What do I do if I can’t offer their pay requests?; How do I deal with remote work environments?; and How can I shift my workplace culture to retain employees?”
“They felt like their companies could not offer competitive packages to prospective hires and for that, they were unable to attract or retain talent,” Stone muses. “While I would agree that employees are trading their time for money, the past few years showed our industry that employees also want to feel valued and have meaningful work—as well as be compensated commensurate with their efforts and experience. I believe the priorities are in that order.”
According to Stone (pictured right at Medtrade 2023), many executives think workforce retention problems amount to a personnel problem. However, Stone disagrees. “While pay range in a job posting gets people to the interview, it’s the company culture that is shared and experienced during that time that inspires humans to stand for something bigger than themselves,” says Stone, who has spent eight years in the healthcare space starting with the launch and scaling of Obi Robot, as well as Community Conscious, a disability focused marketing firm. “When companies focus on their culture, they create an environment of trust where employees can share their frustrations versus just quitting and not being part of the solution.”
One of the best ways to improve retention is to resist the urge to focus on short-term wins. Instead, Stone believes that systemic shifts are much more important. He puts it this way: “While there are definite wins you can make on a daily basis, I challenge businesses to aim for the company they dream of and make an action plan to get there. A company’s culture did not get formed overnight and therefore, it will take time to course correct as well.”