Survey: Impact of Diversity and Equity on Retention

Nov. 2, 2021
Press Ganey recently released the results of a new survey that uncovers the impact of diversity and equity on retention—healthcare has twice as many employees at risk of leaving if diversity and equity aren’t prioritized

On Oct. 27, South Bend, Ind-based Press Ganey, a healthcare company known for developing and distributing patient satisfaction surveys, released a survey uncovering the impact of diversity and equity on retention.

The survey states that “With today’s competitive job market and acute staffing shortages weighing on healthcare, Press Ganey’s findings suggest diversity and equity are strongly correlated to retention: 

  • Healthcare organizations had twice as many employees at risk of leaving if the workforce perceived diversity and equity weren’t prioritized versus workforces that do. 
  • The risk of leaving within three years is more than four times higher for healthcare workers who believe their organization doesn’t value employees from different backgrounds versus workers who do. 
  • If offered another job, healthcare workers are four and a half times more likely to leave an organization if they believe different backgrounds aren’t valued, or if the organization isn’t committed to workforce diversity, versus workers who do.  
  • Perceptions of diversity & equity are a bigger indicator of intent to stay with an organization among security personnel, nurses, and physicians than other ancillary staff.
  • While survey respondents indicated high levels of stress, stress is less correlated with intent to leave—respondents are most at risk to leave if they report that they do not like the work they do, or they do not feel their work is meaningful.”

In addition to the survey, Tejal Gandhi, M.D., chief safety and transformation officer at Press Ganey commented on the results in a blog post entitled, “Why Healthcare Diversity and Equity Are Central to Employee Retention.”

Gandhi writes that “Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture is not only a moral obligation—it’s imperative for business sustainability and delivering optimal health outcomes. The pandemic has caused a major staffing crisis across all roles in healthcare. While many factors have contributed to the emergency, new Press Ganey data on diversity and equity shows that employees’ intent to stay at an organization is associated with how they perceive the value their employer, managers, and peers place on the presence and treatment of people from different backgrounds. Notably, a diverse and equitable culture is correlated with a strong safety culture, which also impacts patient care outcomes.”

Further, “Globally, 86 percent of job candidates say diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is important to them. News headlines and clashes over racial issues in recent years have heightened awareness of systemic racism and lack of diverse leadership in industries, including healthcare. Individuals actively seek out companies that are truly invested in forming a diverse workforce and equitable career paths, and today are more apt to question token hiring decisions, uninspired diversity training, and uniformity in leadership ranks.”

Gandhi also gives tips in his blog for developing a stronger talent management model. Some key components include re-envisioning recruitment by modifying job descriptions with a paragraph on your organization’s DEI philosophy and requiring training for managers and workers on implicit bias and microaggressions. He also urges leaders to create steering committees and affinity and focus groups and to embed DEI into goals and performance reviews.

Gandhi concludes his blog by explaining that preventing employee turnover is “a high-stakes proposition,” especially as organizations continue to deal with COVID-19, and strategically enhancing DEI initiatives is a good starting place.

The survey reports that findings were complied from 118 health systems that incorporate diversity and equity into their survey methodology. The responses from more than 410,000 healthcare workers were analyzed from employee engagement surveys that were administered between Jan. 1 and Sept. 29, 2021. The results compare employees’ perceptions of diversity and equity and the individual, managerial and organizational level versus their intent to stay with their health system. 

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