Organising orientation adds value to allied health workforce planning across four hospital and community settings

Mr Mian Wang1

1NSW Health, Westmead, Australia

Background

High turnover of allied health professions is costly. On-boarding costs have risen from $56,000 in 2015 to $120,000 in 2017. Succession planning is often poorly timed and lacking sustainable strategies for retention. Organising Physiotherapy INduction Interactions and Orientation for New Staff (OPINIONS) is an initiative reviewing the induction of new staff. An evaluation of the initiative’s effectiveness will be presented.

Method

A single site retrospective observational study investigated four hospital and community settings. Four focus groups of senior allied health professions scaffold local action areas using results from a cultural competency framework rating scale. Groups were followed up by a clinical educator for 12 months through local group coaching.  Data analysis reflected on staff turnover, costs of new staff on-boarding, days to fill positions, and unplanned leave for 12 months following the initiative. A descriptive analysis of staff engagement was measured through staff surveys.

Results

Preliminary data revealed a reduction in staff turnover from 11 to 9% between 2017 and 2018 whilst recruitment costs reduced for new staff. Staff engagement improved in the first three months of the initiative. All staff reported on the importance of prioritising staff well-being following the initiative. Unplanned leave reduced by 0.31 days per fortnight. Time taken to induct rotational staff increased but total days to induct new staff reduced by 21 days. Days to fill positions reduced from 91 to 77.

Discussion

This study reviews the outcomes of the OPINIONS initiative wherein effective collaboration between allied health clinical seniors and managers. As on-boarding costs continue to rise, service managers should consider building on local and timely recruitment and retention strategies for allied health clinicians as an investment into their workforce. Further research into the initiative can build capacity in improving outcomes for workforce planning, developing enabling leaders and facilitating sustainable allied health workplace cultures.


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