Retain hospital employees with unlimited vacation

With patient satisfaction influenced more by hospital staff than by fancy lobbies or high-tech equipment, attracting and keeping a great workforce is a vital part of any hospital's success.

Hospitals looking to recruit and retain top talent should take note of Windsor Regional Hospital for inspiration. The Ontario, Canada-based hospital now offers its employees unlimited vacation.

"No maximum limit. All you need to do is to receive prior approval, as always, from your direct supervisor," Windsor Regional CEO and President David Musyj, a FierceHealthcare advisory board member, wrote this week in a Hospital Impact blog post.

Unlimited vacation not only led to "amazing" recruitment efforts but also solved problems with hospital employees not using all of their vacation days for potential emergencies and having to offer new recruits a bare minimum vacation entitlement to appease veteran workers, Musyj noted.

Vacation entitlement also can help hospitals increase pay satisfaction among their employees, according to new research published in the Journal of Organizational Behavior.

That's important because employees who are satisfied with their pay report less work-family conflict, the study found. A better work-life balance keeps employees happy and ultimately keeps them at their hospitals.

"[F]or others, the social aspects of pay and the things they perceive to be sacrificing for pay are stronger or act as additional incentives and disincentives," study coauthor Amit Kramer, an Illinois professor of labor and employment relations, said Monday in a statement.

Other ways to boost pay satisfaction and, therefore, work-life balance, include flexible work schedules and compressed workweeks, according to Kramer, who noted that such arrangements can be used to recruit and retain "high-performing, star employees" to offset related costs.

For more:
- read the Hospital Impact post
- here's the study announcement and abstract