Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
Data empowers hospital leaders to reduce turnover.

The Success Story

Turnover can cost as much as 33% of the replaced worker’s pay. Find out the real reasons employees are leaving and reduce turnover costs by using exit interviews to drive organizational change.

The Challenge

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

The Solution

Work Institute implemented an exit interview program which yielded over 4,000 completed interviews. Robust action plans were developed for the five specific hospital units with the highest turnover rates.

The Impact

  • Reduced turnover by as much as 34%, totaling about $257,000
  • Decreased overall turnover as much as 70 percent
  • The reasons for leaving have changed from supervisor-driven to non-hospital-driven
  • Overall turnover for the Patient Services Division, which includes the hospital's most expensive workers to lose, went down 11% from 2007 to 2013

Commitment To Improvement

Every company loses employees, but successful organizations understand the root causes and make improvements to retain their best employees. In 2007, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center recognized that turnover was increasing and they knew they needed a proactive plan to address controllable issues impacting employee turnover.

Taking Action

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. CCHMC supplemented its organization-wide engagement studies by adding a new exit interview program outsourced to a third party, Work Institute.

Work Institute and CCHMC created a program designed to:

  • explore supervisor ratings over time
  • track turnover rates and costs
  • understand employees' overall rating of the hospital compared to the employees' intent to stay and his or her productivity
  • 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 to find root causes embedded within the verbatim comments. CCHMC targeted five specific units within the hospital that were experiencing the most challenging turnover rate trends. After defining the most important issues, the team created an action plan for each issue.

Some of the initiatives they put in place included a nursing career ladder allowing pay for experience and to entice nurses to obtain advanced degrees. CCHMC also developed partnerships with a local university and the local union to provide increased tuition assistance for nurses.

CCHMC's revised, more deliberate retention strategy 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.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Today

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.