Skip to content
Case Study • Healthcare

Tackling Retention and Employee Engagement with Stay and Exit Research

Healthcare workers providing patient care bedside
Corvirtus Case Study


Corvirtus Case Study


Corvirtus Case Study

Shortfall of 10 million employees

by 2030

In the healthcare industry, every interaction with stakeholders is crucial.  Employee retention is not only beneficial for morale, but quality care. Medical errors remain one of the leading causes of death, and the failure to seek both preventative and reactive healthcare results in countless negative public health outcomes. Experience and builds consistency and the ability to consistently deliver patient-and-relationship driven care.

That is precisely why we support healthcare organizations to strengthen employee engagement and retention through implementing stay and exit interviews. These interviews serve as invaluable resources for healthcare leaders aiming to comprehend the factors that influence employee retention and turnover.

Stay Interviews: A Preventive Measure

What are the mindsets and perspectives of employees who thrive and flourish within their roles? What buffers stress and strain among tenured team members? Stay interviews  pinpoint key drivers of employee satisfaction and engagement, such as integrating work with life, building connections with leadership and colleagues, professional development opportunities, and recognition. By identifying these critical elements, which are often unique by organization and role, healthcare organizations can craft targeted initiatives, building a more engaged and committed workforce, and subsequently improving patient outcomes.

Exit Interviews: Learning from Loss

While preventing turnover is critical, there is invaluable learning to be had when an employee departs. Exit interviews are pivotal for understanding the root causes behind high turnover rates: be it poor management (what was missing?), low job satisfaction (what needs went unmet?), or inadequate training (by role, competency, or level). As a third party, we consult with healthcare organizations to gain insights from these interviews, driving meaningful changes that lead to a more stable and experienced staff, thereby ensuring continuity and quality of patient care. As a third party, we offer participants confidentiality and objectivity that's cannot be achieved by the employer.

The Proven Benefits

Organizations that invest in employee engagement and retention not only bolster their internal culture but also experience tangible business outcomes. There is a direct correlation between employee engagement and higher levels of patient satisfaction, increased profitability, and better patient outcomes. Notably, a survey by the American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration highlighted that 60% of healthcare organizations conduct exit interviews, while only 39% conduct stay interviews—a gap that offers opportunities for improvement. In addition, even a small reduction in turnover leads to significant to direct savings. Consider the cost of turnover for each of the following positions; keeping in mind that indirect costs to patient care and employee engagement cannot be fully measured. In total, the direct costs of turnover in healthcare are estimated to be $6.2 billion.

  • Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs): $13,400
  • Medical Assistants: $14,200
  • Nurses: $52,000

Exit interview

We supported two healthcare organizations with tens of hospitals and over 1,000 clinics and long-term care facilities. As a third party, exit interviews were deployed to former employees, usually through text message, shortly following departure. A dynamic survey was used where participants could select any number of reasons for leaving which informed follow-up questions for deeper understanding. What we achieved:

  • We surveyed over 20,000 exited employees across over 600 positions.
  • Burnout and dissatisfaction with one's direct supervisor were the main reasons cited for leaving, ahead of compensation. Intriguingly, over 60 percent of participants shared they would consider employment with the organization again if given the opportunity.
  • With location, department, and position specific reports, leaders were equipped with the data needed to make evidence-based decisions.
  • The exit survey was tailored over time to respond to changing dynamics within the organization. Corvirtus also led small focus groups virtually with participants in areas suffering from lower retention to gather a greater qualitative understanding of the reasons for exit.
Healthcare Counseling

What drives retention?

  • Stay interviews across a stratified sample of tenured strong performers were conducted in person and through a short survey.
  • Employees with average performance and tenure also participated to differentiate perceptions between the two groups.
  • Connection to the organization's mission and fellow coworkers emerged both statistically and qualitatively as the key differentiators of employees with greater tenure and performance. This was especially true for patient-facing roles.
Serious pharmacist on the phone at the hospital pharmacy

Strategic evidence-based decisions

  • The quality of one's relationship, and support received, from leadership was the greatest reason for turnover from the exit interviews. This guided leadership to invest and accelerate leadership development, particularly for mid-level leaders.
  • Because connection and belief in the organization's core values was linked to both tenured strong performers and exited employees who were willing to return, assessments and interview processes were tailored to more accurately measure potential to live those values.
  • Importantly, Corvirtus met with leaders at a regularly scheduled cadence to discuss changes and review executive summaries.
People in Conference Room

Ready to accelerate retention and patient care?