Retention Strategies

Nursing Turnover Decreases Significantly while Retention and Job Satisfaction Increase

When the world's hospitals faced a shortage of nurses, one North Carolina health care organization learned that improving managers' leadership skills and emotional intelligence made a world of difference in decreasing turnover.

The Challenge

As a result of its extremely successful outplacement initiatives with Career Partners International, Novant Health, a North Carolina health care organization with 13,000 employees, came to Career Partners International for assistance with quite the opposite challenge: talent retention and expansion in the organization. Turnover of Novant's registered nurses was literally costing the organization millions of dollars. The company estimated that, system-wide, for every percent they could reduce turnover the organization could save $1.5 million annually. With such high stakes, Novant allowed Career Partners International to think out of the box and create a unique solution in hopes of reducing RN turnover by 20% annualized in selected pilot departments.

The Career Partners International Solution

Knowing that leadership skills and emotional intelligence are key factors in retaining employees, Career Partners International designed a pilot program for departments that had consistently high turnover. Since people typically join an organization for the job and often leave because of the manager, the first part of the program consisted of focus groups with staff nurses. 

Based in part on the issues that surfaced in the focus groups, the second component of the program administered a customized 360˚ survey to the managers in the pilot departments. The third part of the program consisted of three mandatory classes led by a qualified consultant within Career Partners International on emotional intelligence, managerial styles, and reading and interpreting the feedback from the 360˚ survey. Next, using all of the information gathered during the program and working with the Career Partners International consultant, the management teams from each department developed a team plan on retention and each leader developed his/her personal development plan. The program was rounded out with one-on-one individualized coaching over a six-month period to help mangers achieve their development and retention objectives.


Quantitatively, at the end of the pilot, turnover was reduced to 19.8%, down from 41%. Qualitatively, Novant's nursing staff began working more effectively as a team and was happier while the leadership skills and emotional intelligence of the management were enhanced. Novant plans to roll this program out organizationally and is thrilled that their corporate values of teamwork and personal excellence are being embraced by their nursing staff.

To learn more about retention strategies for your company or to improve your leadership development and other talent management strategies, please call 800-686-5999 or 919-401-4273.