The Content You Need to Know

Shocking Number of Physical Therapists are Ready to Quit

The physical therapy industry is in a precarious spot.

There is a new generation of clinicians entering the profession. And expectations are very different than a decade, or even a year ago. Our recent data from the Corporate Quality Index shows that a shocking number of physical therapists are ready to resign and move on.

On this episode of Corporate Quality Podcast, Drs.' Gene Shirokobrod and Ben Fung, break down the latest data and its implications.

Tune on to the latest episode of CQP w/ your hosts Dr. Gene Shirokobrod and Dr. Ben Fung! For full report and on-going data please visit our Industry Report Series.

Turnover & Resignation Statistics To Consider

  • 68% of turnovers are voluntary turnovers. (SHRM, n.d.)
  • 37.9% of new hires resign within a year. Of which, two out of three often do so within the first six months. (Work Institute, 2020)
  • 64% of workers say they intend to resign from their jobs, citing the “lack of being heard” as their reason. (Achievers Workforce Institute, 2021)
  • While 60% of workers report that their company has actively asked for their feedback, almost all said that the organization did not take any action on their concerns. (Achievers Workforce Institute, 2021)
  • Burnt out employees are twice as likely to convince their coworkers to resign with them. (Limeade, 2020)
  • 38% of employees say they have encountered a coworker who encouraged them to leave their current positions with them. (Limeade, 2020)


Corporate Quality Podcast QR Code Episode 1

Not in an environment where listening to the episode works well? We have you covered! Check out the episode transcript below!


00:00.-1 Gene Welcome back to corporate quality podcast Dr. Gene Shirokobrod about here with Dr. Ben Fung. Ben, let's just let's just dive in there. There's there's so much data so much so much data we released recently released our corporate quality index in which.
00:07.4 Ben Yeah.
00:19.0 Gene We looked at multiple indices looking at really what what creates a quality corporate environment and we were focused on the physical therapy industry obviously because that's where we live with some extensions but this. Data set opened our eyes to what we thought was true but this showed us the reality is not only what we thought but in many ways worse. And also par for some of the other industries and some of the other data sets we saw so a lot to go over. Let's go over some of the biggest pieces that jumped out at us and to me we have to start with the turnover numbers and. A seemingly landmine field that's just waiting for the first 1 to go off and we have no idea what happens after that and by that I mean over fifty percent of clinicians told us that it. Any 1 point they're ready to leave so have have the work for is to saying that and at any moment at any moment I'm ready to to pack it up and and switch but let let's let's go over that 1.
01:41.8 Ben I'm done Yesterday.
01:48.6 Ben Um, that 1 is crazy so you for those of you new to the corporate quality index and and to this podcast. You know there's 10 primary index items that we cover in the corporate quality index and the 1 that we have historically taken most interest in at up doc is the intention to stay score. Um there's some other ones that are very much worth discussion but opening this episode with intention to stay is very important because it's not just um, like a 1 ne-dimensional question per se the way we were that question is ah we asked the survey participant. How likely are you to stay over the next twelve months and we have them rate at zero through 10. We've actually been able to parse out the data ah by size and scale and so by by size we mean employee number and by scale we mean by location set and we usually see results in kind of 3 ah, sometimes four forms but for for scale, it's greater than twenty locations or less than or unlisted and then for the human resource element of size is the the prototypical company size was right like like 1 through 10 eleven through 5050 1 3 hundred and ninety nine and 200 plus employees. And as much as you know at first when we first published the cqi that was ah late 2020 so we were really looking at a backdrop of of you know covid outbreak and there was this mass. Ah, you know, ah nonvoluntary turnover through a lot of healthcare and all of a sudden a mass hiring phase. So it wasn't surprising to see that at that time it was Fifty. 6 point six percent of the town was ready to walk away from their jobs with a mass majority scoring zero 1 2 or 3 not even talking about 4 or 8 where it's kind of that mess ___it. It's okay, you know this was like very very angry, very dissatisfied. Ah, workforce members. We're the the positive size we've dropped down 1 point six percent you know we're now at 55 percent. Um, you know hashtag sarcasm of our workforce is ready to leave and it's it's really bad for the smaller practice. Um. Those that are in the segment fifty four percent scored in the zero through 3 distribution range and it was important to really see that distribution and you can see it in the report it looks like a yeah u shape right? like unlike a lot of survey items out there. It almost doesn't matter any kind of. Ah, collection of data. You typically see some type of distribution right? Some kind of curvature sometimes it slopes to the right? Sometimes it slopes to the left and it gives you kind of an idea of of where people are in mass and where the trends are but in this 1 this 1 very scary graph ah showed that terrifying u shape.
04:32.3 Ben Where pretty much about you know, 20'ish percent or so of folks were happy enough to stay and they they were happy with their work. Um, 24 percent I believe was like the exact number when you merge all the averages but everyone else. Was so far down in that zero one 2 or 3 scoring range that it's a nightmare situation to consider that so many clinicians are ready to change their work Yesterday.
05:04.6 Gene It and we know like at some point and I think that point is now you can't just say well it's it's covid. It's Temporary. You know things will will stabilize. It's just a high emotional peak of change. Um, which is but that's not the case. It's a. A paradigm shift of what especially clinicians that have invested you know decade plus of their life into education how they want to spend their day-to-day careers and during this covid period. They realize that how. Little some of their corporate entities truly care about them and they started to realize what they really are which is worker bees in a lot of ways and they're just margin drivers right? that they're told here's the margin you have to go after make it happen. Um. And for over fifty percent of that workforce. They're going 1 I don't like what I do I don't like where I am I don't like who I'm with and oh by the way, let's let's reevaluate the entire salary compensation package as well. Um, right. 1 of the interesting things with our data is we thought that would be 1 of the first things but we know that compensation isn't the deal breaker for most people. Um, but all those other factors um seemingly are insurmountable at this point. So.
06:22.1 Ben Yeah.
06:35.0 Ben That was the weirdest thing I mean we saw a lot of anecdotal data over the years of up dock gathering these kind of call it like workforce and talent acquisition retention data through our industry reports. But you know 1 thing that we really kind of came into this with. Ah, certain amount of blindsightedness was ah we thought that people would most definitely stay right? if if I or it's getting paid better because 1 of the greatest gripes you here, especially in in like the the new grad and younger developing ah younger and developing professional range for career is oh I'm getting Underpaid. Or the benefits are terrible. It has something to do with the tangible compensation factor. Um, but those 2 ranked the least when it came to the correlative statistics of if someone had intention to say what would change my mind right? and that was part of this report that really blew me away was a. Confirmation from past talent ah acquisition and retention reports separate from or maybe parallel to the cqi report that said workplace culture is the number 1 factor if if I'm going to stay or leave right? if you can offer you can dangle as many carrots as you want or or raise as many sticks as you want. But I'm not going to stay unless I buy into the culture. Um, and that's very very intriguing from kind of an industry agnostic standpoint. You know, ah the life science medical healthcare care turnover depending on the report you see is something between you know, 20 to 30 sometimes 35 percent turnover the united states average. Pre pandemicdem was about fifteen percent it's like eighteen percent to twenty percent now and you know you see a lot of hr articles now talking about the great resignation. It's all happening. There's a lot of data leaks with all the angry employees or desatisfied employees that are leaving um you know there's employers ghosting employees. There's candidates ghosting employers. It's insane and it's also just completely earth-shattering to see that there was 1 other very strong mathematical point to predict like truly having a predictive qualities. Um, in ah, an objective measure that is inherently measuring something qualitative and it can predict with what we think or is going to be confirmed with great accuracy if your workforce is truly at risk to turnover or if it's actually in ah in a good state and that is. Another cqi index that asks the respondent about their feelings of their employer organization and how it practices its business as a responsible corporate citizen.
09:15.1 Gene And then there's 2 ways to look at that right? because you look at it from employer at employees and as an employee at employers. So this is this is truly a a should not be a transactional approach to this this is based on. It should be based on a relationship or a corporate relationship between the 2 sides. Um and what we've seen is that the longest standing the most effective companies have that and that is shown by low turnover rate. Um and. Higher retention rate so in a overall awareness standpoint over the last few years. It's been the most public conversations have been about decreasing reimbursement from third -party understandable money's important it's been about um burnout understandable. It's a high emotional topic. Um that we've talked about for the last seven 8 years I feel like but it's always a yearly recurring piece. But those those are a bit those are symptoms of. Ah, bigger issue a more bigger threat which is why this is so critical is when you and I had personal conversations with decision makers and companies and big corporations. They weren't that concerned about the margins they weren't that concerned about decreasing reimbursement because of. Their systems of scale that they have put in and we'll we'll talk about scale and margins in a little bit but the their biggest concern almost unanimously into the t was talent talent retention and talent acquisition. This was the 1 consistent piece that we've heard from. everybody everybody regardless whether it was a 1 clinic or a 3 hundred clinic location. Um talent is critical and now this data is showing that if you've worked to get talent and maybe you haven't spent as much time at. Maintaining and keeping that talent potentially half of them could walk away at any moment. Um, and that should be terrifying so.
11:34.7 Ben It should be terrifying. It should be eye-opening and the thing too is there's a culture shift in the workforce right? like this workforce that we're dealing with right now in the Twenty twenty s 2021 presently the workforce is not afraid to quit the industry at large. Period. That's the other thing that I think um needs to really come to to reckoning ah both on the employee side at employer and the employer at employee is there's a certain mindset I think that is hosted by everybody right? If you're. And the workforce you're you're a line level employee. There's this like demoralizing thought right? Well somebody can always step in and get paid less than me because they're more desperate for that work and I feel like there's a cynicism too to various levels of decision making that are thinking well if employee x. Is unhappy and they leave sure our production goes down a little bit will take about you know, ah 33 percent or so ah equivalent of of costs incurred you know through through loss of production through through Morale loss. And through just the fact that now I have to as a decision maker and and probably line manager cover for them. You will eat that cost that's fine but somebody else will inevitably step in right like they assuredly they have to and you think in healthcare too like the employment statistics are are typically the lowest across ah most industries. So for sure. Somebody's definitely going to step into those those shoes and and hold those rein that and keep the cogs going. Ah but I don't think the data is really suggesting that anymore if anything the the data suggesting that there's a better chance that large chunks of the workforce will walk away not from their job. But from the industry at large because of how they've experienced the industry and it may not be accurate across the entire spectrum of the industry you know employer a may not have such a terrible experience compared to employer b and you might have had the unlucky draw working for employer b and and it may be that everything else that you've interviewed for. As a change of pace is still proven to be not as favorable but this becomes an incredible onus on the we aspect of the profession and of the industry is there's a lot of folks relying on all of us to do our jobs to have good organizations to work for and to produce. A quality service as product to take care of people's health and their lives and that which means eventually their livelihoods. There's a piece of that that I think really needs to be explored in terms of how tangible aspects.
14:24.3 Ben Of culture and tangible access of organizational excellence those levers ah need to be actuated in a very wee type relational structure and system rather than the the kind of plug and chug; and kind of hotspot fire whack-a-mole that you typically see you know and again going back to that great resignation. So often you see these articles out there about oh this is all happening. Everybody's leaving their jobs and nobody cares like nobody on the workforce cares and nobody on the employer organization knows how to care and the only solutions that are being offered are really just the opposite of the symptom right? like well. Our our our culture sucks. So let's make our culture Better. You know and it's like but what does that actually mean you know and that's the other really really intriguing aspect is because we are in health services. We're talking about mostly a licensed professional grade employee pool. We rely on them for their license to provide those services for revenue just as much as they rely on us as employer organizations to create the infrastructure ah to make those those revenue and compensation package factors make sense.
15:37.0 Gene This this is also a bit of a perfect storm of of a couple factors that this has been building up right? We are in a bit of a generational shift in terms of the physical therapy industry specifically in that. Um, since the. Early 2000 s the industry's been changing to doctored level. Um the cost of schooling is going up the cost of living is going up. Payment is staying consistent. But again we already said that's not has not been the biggest factor. For most people, but what has been staying the same is the approach to the workplace. The the corporate approach and what what we see is so let's flip the script a little bit here Ben and I think we've been a little doom and gloom for fifteen minutes um but that that was objective right? like that's ah, objective information. It is what it is.
16:32.1 Ben But so by the numbers it is.
16:35.7 Gene It is what it is but what that presents is unique opportunities as well. There's there's always unique opportunities when you're at the Peaks of challenges and the unique opportunities is again for both employers and employees in that if you are an employee you have leverage and. Better understanding of what you want and what corporations should be because they want talent and you are talent so you have that leverage going into. Yeah yes, you have to define why you're talented and what makes you unique and special all that doesn't go away right? You still have to present. To the place that you are the right fit for that right? place you have to define what talent is or ask them what talent is to them. What are they trying to find on the flip side of that is you have an opportunity as a business owner or a potential business owner to redefine. Corporate quality experience based on this data you will have this pool of incredibly talented motivated willing individuals that want a true um hand in developing not just what the quality of care should be. But them and their patients that relationship that they want to build but what their day should be spent like in this entity this corporate entity that Moats. You know we spend more more time at work than anywhere else. So it's not unfair to ask the corporate. And to see that you work for; or, that you're building to create an experience that is equal if not better than personal lives like I know that sounds weird and odd. But why not create a work environment and a work space that. Rivals how people feel at home or doing personal things so they have equal amounts of things that they enjoy work is hard sometimes it's work for a reason but so is personal life personal life isn't always shits and giggles right? like it's hard both ways. But if you can create ah somewhat of a level playing field for people of they enjoy going to war my son son and daughter started a new school Ben recently and um so they're not going. They're not going to public school anymore. Um, for various reasons. But. Last week we're going home. It was a Friday we're coming home from school and um I was like oh you know it's the weekends coming up. We'll get to hang out. Do some stuff and my son goes aw man and I'm like why? what what's wrong dude like what's what's going on. He's like I don't get to go to school tomorrow.
19:19.8 Ben What? Ah no.
19:21.2 Gene No kid ever says that but because that school has done such a great job of creating an environment that cultivates learning and excitement of what he wants to do and yet still what he needs to do. He was sad that he doesn't get to experience that on. A day that is arbitrarily deemed a weekend now. Why can't that happen in the workforce as well like I get it like I'm not saying just create another weight for people to work on the weekends. Um, but that that level of even a split second of. Wow I'm going to Miss not going to work that day. Even even if that thought goes away instantly as soon as you say it because it sounds ridiculous to say that that you're looking forward. You're going to Miss not going to work but just just instill that thought work work to just give a split second doubt of. Maybe I'll miss not going to work that just doesn't happen enough and it should happen.
20:19.8 Ben It really should I mean there's again by the numbers. There's this massive drive now that the workforce has ah to kind of experience exactly what you described you know and and you know some some organizations. Ah. Yeah, that specialized in human resources have called it like a consumer level or a consumer grade experience at the workplace. Um, and you know you made mention about the workforce being involved in that decision making process and and what their days should look like and there's that's definitely by the numbers. Massive massive need is 1 of the lowest scoring index items for the corporate quality index something about over seventy percent of the workforce feels discouraged to take ownership about their daily rules and responsibilities and operational duties. You know and it's not that they want. It's a dangerous phrase because it comes with all sorts of historic ah historic. Innuendo of of you know, being your own boss. It's not that it's about being part of the conversation. It's about having an active role in the relationship when you are part of an employer organization as any level of the workforce which I think is is quite eye-opening in and of itself because it's not just line level staff that's replying to the CQI. Ah, we have managers of all sets you know and I think it can gene and it should be the case that people can go to work enjoy their day at work just as much as they enjoy their day at home or in their personal lives. And it's that illusion that I think you and I have kind of quipped about over the years of ah various productions podcasts and videos and such is kind of this illusion of work life balance right? that they may be at 1 point in in it in a ah different point in History. That you know work and life could have been separated but with the digital integration of everything that we have and do as human beings now and how we connect with each other in work outside of work across the aisles of ah various organizations you know work life balance is all in 1 thing you know it's it's ah you you take. Everything with you all the time right? You take your personal life with you into work. No matter what you might bottle it up, but it's there.
22:27.7 Gene Yeah, and that's I think that leads into burnout which is a topic we should say for the next episode what what I will say on that point Ben which is a great point for most of us. Um, topics like work life balance which is a complex topic. We we typically take very complex. And oftentimes nuanced topics and distill it down sometimes in a reductionist sense into these global terms and you're absolutely right? and we've we've again, we've we've looked at this for many years work life balance burnout these. Big terms these complex terms um are usually symptoms of a multitude of factors and when when dealing with work life and 1 of my favorite examples is is time people say I need to make time I need to create time. Ah. But time isn't created or made time is managed just like work life is right? It's it's not a a creation of 2 opposite forces. It's not even a balance. It's it's a management and it's creating a management system for both and the best. The best corporate entities so to speak the most corporate quality of these. Um these companies the mode that that establish this quality have and are willing. Step into both worlds with their employees in in an obviously in an ah hr legal way not overstepping but being able to bend and flow with the people in front of them and listen to them and engage in both ways. Just. As are the employees that are the happiest and that stick around with those companies the longest they interject both they focus on the corporate but they also are willing to open up and share some of that personal that might be weighing in down and they create a true relationship of. Makes it work and again there's there's nuance. There's a lot of variation in that. But from what we've Seen. It's a management piece and it managed to get needs to be managed by both sides in an open transparent and accepting way that um. People are people and they don't just turn their brains off when they walk work or walk into a a business and yes, we're talking about clinical professionals that are held to a different level because they're licensed and and medicine is a different beast I I get that. But ultimately when licensed professionals.
25:16.2 Gene Are held in a boiling pod for X amount of time eventually boils over for everyone and that's I'll lead into burnout for next episode.
25:35.0 Ben So, that's that's a really good kind of in summation in opening this next series of episodes for the core. Holy podcasts. You know we are opening right now today with a little bit of doom and gloom just because the numbers are what they are right there there is this this sense from the workforce and certainly from a bunch of decision makers that we're in contact with where there's this moment of crisis now with the talent pool. But that also means there's an incredible amount of opportunity. There's a lot of channels that decision makers can take to integrate meaningfully into the lives of their workforce to to meaningfully make conversations be welcome because that's part of the problem you know with. Stuff like ownership mindset and intention to stay and and being a responsible corporate citizen which is probably like 3 or four episodes down the line of having these conversations be welcome and open as just the gateway to making for a higher quality corporate experience and with that. And and taking steps and and approaches to stuff like reducing burnout to increasing. Overall I don't even want to call it engagement I want to call it something like a a you know a reflection of the quality and the and the purpose behind the relationship between the talent and the employer organization when you. Have these things in line and these things have strong resonance on both sides and to the point where you don't see it as both sides anymore you see it as a we problem and a we solution and and I think that is where some of the best forward movement First steps. Can begin from.
27:25.8 Gene Yeah, absolutely so till next episode of corporate quality podcast Dr. Gene Shirokobrod with Dr. Ben Fung. Go ahead subscribe on youtube google play spotify wherever you listen to podcast will catch again on the next episode.