4 Best Staff Retention Strategies for Rehab Therapy Clinics

Need to reduce turnover and increase retention rates? Use these staff retention strategies to re-engage your PT, OT, SLP and rehab therapy teams.
A Human Resources Professional And A Physical Therapist Sit At A Desk, Talking. Illustrating The Topic: &Quot;Best Staff Retention Strategies For Rehab Therapy Clinics&Quot;

The average person spends roughly 90,000 hours of their life working, based on Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. With that much time spent at work, job satisfaction is paramount. 

However, burnout—which leads to staff turnover—is all too common in rehab therapy, especially during a significant workforce shortage. Even therapists who love their jobs can get burnt out, resulting in lower quality of care. 

With the demand for therapy showing no signs of slowing down, how can you reduce burnout and turnover?

Read on to discover four staff retention strategies for rehab therapy to elevate employee satisfaction while fortifying your rehab therapy practice.

Employee Retention: Start with Understanding Your Employees

The first step in your staff retention strategy is recognizing that your team isn’t one-size-fits-all. You should take time to genuinely understand your employees’ needs and preferences.

Each practice is unique, shaped by factors like location, size, values, and specialties. On top of that, every work environment houses individuals with distinct passions, preferences, and pain points. 

So, acknowledge that diversity within your clinic as you learn more about your team.

How to Identify the Needs of Your Staff

You can start with anonymous surveys, productivity metrics, and reviews that offer feedback. It may seem like a daunting task, but your practice management software should be able to help. For example, Raintree’s data-driven insights can help identify individual strengths and hidden roadblocks impacting your team’s productivity.

Other ways to foster a genuine connection include scheduling regular one-on-one meetings and casual coffee chats. Keep the environment a bit informal to encourage open and honest conversations.

Illustration: Three Individuals Talk While Drinking Coffee.

Avoiding Burnout: Addressing Staff Pain Points

Burnout’s a beast. Nearly half of healthcare workers feel it often or very often due to things like rigid schedules, compensation, and burdensome technology. Physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists aren’t immune. 

Not only does burnout hurt staff and contribute to dissatisfaction, but it also affects your bottom line. The good news, though, is that there’s hope. 

Here are a few ways to address all-too-common pain points among rehabilitation therapy professionals:

  • Offer empathy. Burnt-out staff crave understanding. Hear their concerns and integrate solutions into your practice.

  • Streamline your tech stack. Outdated or inefficient EMRs increase stress while stealing patient time. In fact, physicians spend twice as much time on administrative tasks as on patient care. A simple solution is automating tasks to allow more time for what matters: patients.

  • Prioritize work-life balance. About 77% of PT practices owners identified poor work-life balance as a top reason for employee attrition. As part of your staff retention strategies, consider offering mental health support, flexible schedules, and PTO so employees can breathe and recharge.

  • Create a culture of care. Build a caring environment by promoting open communication and fostering respect among staff in all domains of your practice.

Remember, it’s not just about listening but taking action. If you say you’ll do something, be sure to follow through—and quickly!

Keep Employees: Boosting Motivation and Fulfillment

What motivates your staff? Competitive salaries, location, and benefits packages are top priorities for most employees. Culture, management, and work-life balance also motivate (or de-motivate) therapists working at your clinics. Sometimes, employees may need a boost to reignite their passion and rediscover their ‘why.’

Regularly assess and communicate the holistic benefits you offer, such as opportunities for growth, professional development, and a supportive work culture. Consider flexible schedules, mentorship programs, tuition reimbursement, or wellness initiatives. An environment with avenues for professional development where individuals feel valued contributes to a sense of fulfillment. 

Remember that engaged employees are more productive. They also contribute to higher patient satisfaction and revenue, so keeping your employees motivated actually saves you money!

We had a lot of people looking to understand other opportunities within the organization, bi-directional. Clinicians looking for non-clinical roles. But also, non-clinician roles or non-licensed roles asking, “What else can I do here? I’m a PT tech. How would I go about learning to be in recruiting or a non-licensed clinical role, where I am more patient-facing?”

Hiring Processes: Attract and Retain Talented Therapists

When hiring, aim for quality over quantity. Negative patient experiences due to unhappy, unskilled staff can cost you dearly with lost patients, bad reviews, and lost revenue. Plus, hiring and training new employees costs thousands. 

Talent pools are shrinking, and turnover is soaring. As of July 2023, there were 1.5 more vacant jobs than unemployed people in the US, emphasizing the need for strategic hiring. The right people can give your team new energy to boost productivity, while the wrong fit can have the opposite effect.

Start by building a strong brand that offers tempting benefits and fosters a culture people crave. By prioritizing things people truly care about—like well-being and flexible schedules—you can attract top talent. Look beyond resumes and seek cultural fit, empathy, and unique contributions. 

💯 Practical Advice
Look for rising talent at local colleges or universities. New graduates are excited to get out in the workforce, ready to learn everything they can!

When onboarding new hires, make them feel welcome, introduce them to your culture, and train them well. Support them every step of the way. Happy, confident rehabilitation professionals make a thriving team that boosts productivity as well as loyal patients.

Staff Retention Strategies: What Works

Employee retention isn’t an option—it’s a necessity. Keep these tips in mind as you work to implement or improve your staff retention, important strategies include:

  • Understanding your employees, their unique needs, and the atmosphere you want your practice to exude.

  • Addressing any staff concerns or issues as soon as possible. Make it known you are working on a solution. 

  • Putting protocols in place that keep employees motivated and fulfilled. Offer great benefits, culture, and work-life balance.

Remember: Happy and highly motivated employees are your practice’s greatest asset!

Here at Raintree Systems, we help physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and multi-disciplinary practices grow and succeed with scalable and robust software solutions. Raintree offers the only ONC-certified EHR system designed specifically for rehab therapy. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo and learn why high-growth PT, OT, SLP, and multi-disciplinary practices choose Raintree.

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