Turnover and Retention Strategies among Mental Health Workers

Author(s): Debbie L. Young

Background: The purpose of this study was to explore retention strategies that healthcare administrators use to retain mental health workers in community mental health clinics. The study was guided by the question What strategies do HCAs use to retain their MHWs with more than 2 years of experience?

Methods: A qualitative case study analysis was performed. Interviews were conducted with six healthcare administrators at Fort Worth area community mental health clinics. Interviews were coded using thematic analysis. To increase the study’s reliability and validity, the interview guide was field checked by experts and member checking performed on interview transcripts.

Results: The healthcare administrators identified six strategies for retention: providing good benefits packages, promoting worker health and wellness, providing competitive salaries, giving workers flexible scheduling options, incentivizing workers with rewards and positive reinforcement, and maintaining open communication channels.

Conclusions: The results from this study have positive implications for mental health workers, patients, and community mental health clinics. The strategies identified in this study can be implemented to increase worker satisfaction and reduce turnover. In doing so, patients will receive higher quality care and organizations will be more attractive to prospective employees.

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