Retaining your employees

Sept. 24, 2019
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Medical Laboratory Observer’s (MLO’s) primary audience is managers. Specifically, those who manage clinical laboratorians. A hot topic in the healthcare industry today is the rapidly aging and retiring workforce. With more than 200,000 registered laboratories in the United States,1 the need for clinical laboratory science professionals is prolific. While laboratorians will be retiring in droves within the next ten years, the incoming workforce looks bleak, with a desperate call for chemistry majors, medical technologists, and phlebotomists to fill the shoes of those who came before them.

Regardless of industry, finding a good employee can be challenging, but it’s keeping them that is the hard part.

Our August 2019 issue featured an enlightening article entitled, “A self-reflection on recruitment and retention” by Carleen Van Siclen, Manager of Laboratory Staff Education and Professional Development at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. It read, “You have heard the adage, ‘People leave managers, not companies,’ right? It’s a common phrase often heard when corporate leadership is discussed.

According to a 2018 Gallop poll, only one in three workers in the U.S. strongly agrees that they received recognition or praise for doing good work in the past seven days. At any given company, it’s not uncommon for employees to feel that their best efforts are routinely ignored. Further, employees who do not feel adequately recognized are twice as likely to say they’ll quit in the next year.2

Van Siclen goes on to say, “As a manager, how often do you take the opportunity to thank your employees for a job well done? Do you share how proud you are of your staff to others within the organization? What is the culture at your institution?” I’ve shared just three of Carleen’s many thought-provoking questions.

Our July 2019 issue featured a stimulating interview with ELLKAY executive Lior Hod. Hod was proud to share, “Since the time we started the business in my basement, we have always paid for lunch for our employees. We also provide cold drinks, the best coffee, bagels, fresh fruits, fresh-baked cookies, ice cream, and beer on tap. I like to create an environment that rewards the hard work of our employees. I believe that in creating an atmosphere that celebrates their dedication, it encourages them to not only have fun, but also strive for excellence.”

Not all of us have a beer budget, however, we all have time to say, “Thank you.” It’s important to remember that as leaders, we lead by example. If you are not professional, courteous, available, and grateful, how can you expect those qualities from your employees? After all, managers are only as strong as their team.

What do you do as a manager to acknowledge your employees and/or your professional teams? What has a manager and/or supervisor done to make you feel valued and/or important? I want to hear from you! Please email me at [email protected].


  1. Lab Florida. Types of Labs in U.S. Medical Diagnostics. Accessed August 26, 2019.
  2. Employee Recognition: Low Cost, High Impact. Gallup Web site. Accessed August 26, 2019