Case Study: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Case Study: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital


Cincinnati Children’s Hospital (CCHMC) had an annual turnover rate of nursing-related staff that exceeded the United States average of 10.5% at nursing facilities. This high amount of turnover was placing undue stress on employees and there was a fear that patient care was being compromised.

  • The Work Institute implemented an exit interview program targeting five specific hospital units
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods used to identify supervisor ratings, turnover rates and costs, and employees' real reasons for leaving
  • Reduced turnover by as much as 34%, totaling about $257,000
  • Reasons for leaving changed from supervisor-driven to non-hospital-driven
  • Patient Services Division (most expensive employees to lose) turnover reduced 11% from 2007 to 2013

Every company loses employees, but successful organizations understand why and make improvements to retain their best employees. In 2007, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) identified this and entered on a path to understand its workforce and lower its human capital costs.

As the recession of 2007-09 loomed, CCHMC leaders found themselves with annual turnover rates of nursing-related staff that exceeded the U.S. average of 10.5% at nursing facilities. This high turnover was placing stress on employees and the hospital. To gain real insight, CCHMC needed to go beyond the numerical ratings-based surveys and gather both quantitative and qualitative workforce intelligence. In other words, they needed to find out why. To tackle the issue, CCHMC augmented its engagement studies with a new exit interview program outsourced to a third party, The Work Institute.

Together, they created a program designed to explore supervisor ratings over time, along with turnover rates and costs; to understand employees' overall rating of the hospital compared to the employees' intent to stay and his or her productivity; and to discern employees' real reasons for leaving. To see, understand and interpret this data, the departmental report summaries included coded responses as well as verbatim responses detailed by question. Further queries allowed a view by demographic factors in the departments of the hospital in order to find root causes embedded within the verbatim comments. After defining those issues, the team created an action plan for each issue.

CCHMC targeted five specific units within the hospital that were experiencing the most challenging turnover rate trends. Some of the initiatives they put in place included: a nursing career ladder allowing pay for experience and enticing nurses to obtain advanced degrees, and partnerships with a local university and the local union to provide increased tuition assistance for nurses.

Today, the hospital has continued to use exit interviews as an essential component of its employee retention and talent management strategy. CCHMC's revised, more deliberate HR initiatives have allowed the organization to be more competitive and cost effective. Employee turnover in the departments where it was disproportionately high was reduced with all of the associated cost savings and obvious increase in employee performance and satisfaction. As the organization has learned, implementing and sustaining human capital analytics is no longer an option. When combined with a hospital's financial metrics, there is a clear correlation between a hospital's talent management strategy and the hospital's bottom line performance.


  1. Case Study - CCH.pdf 11/17/2015 9:34:22 AM



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