LOWELL, Mass. ,

A national survey conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated finds that healthcare professionals are satisfied in their current roles, but – as the current job market favors job seekers – keeping staff happy requires work. While healthcare leaders continue to focus on the widening skills gap to attract both seasoned healthcare workers and new entrants into the workforce, they must also commit to retaining good nurses, doctors, and IT staff by providing the tools and resources that empower them to perform at their fullest potential – something only 41% feel in a position to do today.

To reveal what healthcare workers expect from an employer of choice, a study by The Workforce Institute and Regina Corso Consulting, “2020 Vision: Working in the Future of Healthcare,” measures employee satisfaction among registered nurses and IT professionals in healthcare and compares that with the steps HR executives say they are taking to recruit and retain best-fit talent.

News Facts

  • Job satisfaction among nurses and hospital IT staff is stable, but HR says monitoring employee turnover and retention remains essential.
    • Is it more important to retain top performers than hire new ones? Nine out of 10 HR executives (91%) agree that retention is most important – and 7 in 10 hospital IT staff (71%) are satisfied by HR’s efforts to retain top performers within their department.
    • Nurses, however, do not feel as confident as their IT colleagues: Fewer than 3 in 5 nurses (57%) believe their organization is doing all it can to retain good nurses, and HR executives themselves admit only 18% of employees in their organization are “very satisfied” in their overall careers, compared to 70% who are generally satisfied and 12% who are dissatisfied.
    • Even so, more than half of hospital IT staff (56%) and nurses (53%) strongly believe their organization is a “great place to work,” with around 4 in 5 hospital IT staff (84%) and nurses (78%) feeling empowered at work; IT staff saying they are confident that managers have the resources they need to make effective decisions for their department (80%); and 2 out of 3 nurses (64%) trusting that their organization has their best interests in mind when implementing new work processes.
    • Overall, satisfaction – i.e. believing their organization is a “great place to work” – is highest among respondents with a longer tenure (62% of nurses with 20+ years in their role and 61% of IT staff with 10+ years in their role), and those working for a small healthcare organization (63%, compared to 56% of respondents working for a mid-size or large organization).
  • Top talent is selective: 3 in 5 agree it is “very important” to work for an employer of choice.
    • Most of all, nurses want good managers (68%) and hospital IT staff desire trust in their work (76%). Two-thirds of healthcare employees highly value competitive benefits (68% of IT staff, 66% of nurses) and workplace culture (66% of nurses, 64% of IT staff).
    • Although good pay is the No. 1 reason high performers join and stay at an organization, 9 out of 10 nurses say paid-time off is “very important” (91%), as is schedule flexibility (87%), competitive benefits (84%), and schedules that consider employee preferences (76%).
    • Healthcare workers also define an employer of choice as one that focuses on professional development and empowers clinical staff to positively impact patient care by working at the top of their license – both are “very important” to 7 in 10 nurses (71% and 70%, respectively).
    • However, just 2 in 5 HR executives say their organization provides management mentoring (44%), career development in the form of job shadowing or mentorship (31%), or has redesigned roles to allow for greater growth potential (29%).
  • HCM technologies can impact the future of work in healthcare, but only 1 in 5 HR executives are “very satisfied” with their current system.
    • Nearly half of nurses think employers should make scheduling easy (47%), with 2 in 3 saying it’s “very important” to be able to swap a shift with a co-worker (68%) and 3 in 5 stating they should be able to manage their schedule from a mobile device (61%). But only 1 in 5 strongly agree that the human capital management (HCM) technology deployed at their organization today is easy to use, and just 13% say it empowers them to perform to their fullest potential.
    • More than 4 in 5 of hospital IT staffers (84%) believe maintaining investments in HCM technologies is an important business decision, and, for nearly 2 in 5 (37%), this is “very important.”
    • Around half of HR executives say they currently prioritize investments in workplace technology that will help hospital staff perform to their fullest potential (52%), including themselves: They find modern HCM technologies help them do their own job better by tracking employee skills, certifications and licensures (56%), automating the recruiting process (55%), and integrating payroll with HR and workforce management tools (54%).

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    “More than ever, the frontline workforce has freedom to be highly selective among a sea of employers actively hiring for open roles. Good pay alone isn’t enough to attract high performers in healthcare or keep your best nurses from leaving. To maintain staff satisfaction and engagement, work culture really does matter: from ease of scheduling and flexibility to training and development opportunities. These things are critically linked to an organization’s ability to retain staff, as are HR’s efforts to help current employees understand what is being done to maintain staffing levels and, in turn, manage fatigue.”
  • Nanne Finis, RN, MS, chief nurse executive, Kronos
    “Technology and the need for innovation in healthcare is driving positive outcomes. Healthcare IT – once considered a back-office function – is now a business-critical infrastructure driving work efficiency and effectiveness. In many ways, it is a differentiator as today’s most intelligent HCM technologies are empowering organizations to deliver an attractive work culture and unlock the true potential of their workforce. As we begin a new decade in which we will see adoption of modern workforce technologies surge, the future of work in healthcare is more exciting than ever.”

Supporting Resources


About The Workforce Institute at Kronos

The Workforce Institute at Kronos provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute at Kronos is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit www.workforceinstitute.org.

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

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Survey Methodology 
Kronos Incorporated commissioned Regina Corso Consulting to conduct a survey of registered nurses (nurses), human resources executives (HR), and IT professionals (IT) who work in a healthcare setting to understand what their thoughts are around the future of work and what it means to be an employer of choice in healthcare. This survey is among 355 U.S. respondents in total with 152 who are a registered nurse, 101 who are an HR executive, and 102 who work in IT. All respondents work at either a hospital, large health system, or long-term care facility. This survey was conducted online in August 2019.