Since 2020, 18% of healthcare workers have quit their jobs; and it’s predicted that 1 million new registered nurses will be needed by 2030 to meet demand. You don’t have to do much sleuthing to uncover why; clinicians have been strained to their limits among labor shortages, burnout, and demands for the wages, flexibility, and support they rightly deserve.
One result of ongoing turnover within the industry is that clinician no-call and no-shows have become more prevalent than ever. This concern is particularly relevant in the flexible staffing space where temporary healthcare workers are placed at different facilities across the country based on demand. Though the model of flexible staffing has been used to address the clinician shortage in the past, it carries with it its own risks of absenteeism because of the transient nature of the industry.
The consequences of absenteeism in any healthcare setting are impactful: increased workload for other staff members, greater inefficiencies, and even compromised patient care. As the sector moves towards a model of value-based care when patient outcomes are critical—and when your staffing firm is judged on the show-rates of your clinicians—reducing absenteeism has become more pertinent than ever.
So how can you reduce no-call, no-shows among healthcare workers and nurture a thriving workforce instead? Here are four strategies.
1. Start with onboarding
For any industry, a solid onboarding experience for workers goes a long way in maintaining high retention rates and limiting no-call, no-shows. This is especially pertinent in healthcare staffing, where temporary workers may be tempted to think of themselves as outside of the organization’s own team. Even if workers are placed at different locations on an ongoing basis, it’s important that clinicians still feel part of a team, as that connection and camaraderie are part of what keeps people engaged and showing up to work.
Take the time with each new hire to make them feel valued and seen for the unique individual they are. Educate them on any benefits you offer, opportunities for growth, and any mission / value statements that reinforce your company culture. Investing in strong onboarding can equip your healthcare staff with the support they need to show up for work—even on hard days.
2. Have clear attendance policies in place
Part of what a solid onboarding plan should include is clearly outlined workplace expectations and policies. Having a straightforward attendance policy will help healthcare workers understand what standards they must adhere to and know the potential consequences for not showing up to a shift.
Communicate from the start that you closely monitor show rates and explain what actions your company takes based on a number of offenses or outcomes. You can list policies such as automatic probation or suspension/termination after a set number of no-shows and make sure these policies are understood before a worker is fully onboarded. You may also decide to reward clinicians who have high show rates. When clinicians are aware of the policies in place—and potential consequences—it can help reduce absenteeism.
3. Recognize and reward
It’s not just about outlining potential penalties for no-call, no-shows, but rewarding positive behavior as we discussed above, too. Show appreciation for all your clinicians do by offering incentives for high show rates or perfect attendance. It may be public acknowledgement, bonuses, gift cards, or other creative ways to reward your staff.
You can also create opportunities for career progression with regular performance reviews. When healthcare workers know there are paths for growth available to them, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your organization and keep showing up for you—and their patients. Feeling valued can go a long way in helping boost morale and reduce absenteeism.
4. Provide seamless instant payments
The typical two-week pay cycle has become outdated in today’s labor market, where you’re competing with gig platforms for talent who constantly seek more speed, flexibility, and power out of anywhere they work. Instant payments are particularly beneficial in the medical staffing space, helping healthcare workers achieve greater peace of mind with increased cash flow, and motivating them to pick up more shifts. This positive cycle can help reduce absenteeism and improve retention rates at your staffing firm.
Leading per diem staffing agency StaffHealth saw the effects of instant payments firsthand by implementing Branch. Anthony Miller, Director of Operations, recounted that “same-day pay has been the #1 tool in reducing the level of no-call, no-shows,” citing that no-call, no shows went from 30% on any given day down to 5% because of the instant gratification of same-day pay.
Reducing No-Shows; Boosting Morale
As long as the shortage of healthcare workers continues, burnout and employee dissatisfaction will too, creating the need to proactively prevent absenteeism in healthcare settings. By improving onboarding processes, having clear attendance policies in place, rewarding high performers, and re-evaluating your workforce payments, you can not only reduce no-call, no-shows but foster a more positive work environment that supports the wellbeing of your healthcare personnel.