1. Holtom, Brooks C. PhD
  2. O'Neill, Bonnie S. PhD


Objective: Using a new construct, job embeddedness, from the business management literature, this study first examines its value in predicting employee retention in a healthcare setting and second, assesses whether the factors that influence the retention of nurses are systematically different from those influencing other healthcare workers.


Background: The shortage of skilled healthcare workers makes it imperative that healthcare providers develop effective recruitment and retention plans. With nursing turnover averaging more than 20% a year and competition to hire new nurses fierce, many administrators rightly question whether they should develop specialized plans to recruit and retain nurses.


Methods: A longitudinal research design was employed to assess the predictive validity of the job embeddedness concept. At time 1, surveys were mailed to a random sample of 500 employees of a community-based hospital in the Northwest region of the United States. The survey assessed personal characteristics, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, job embeddedness, job search, perceived alternatives, and intent to leave. One year later (time 2) the organization provided data regarding voluntary leavers from the hospital.


Results: Hospital employees returned 232 surveys, yielding a response rate of 46.4 %. The results indicate that job embeddedness predicted turnover over and beyond a combination of perceived desirability of movement measures (job satisfaction, organizational commitment) and perceived ease of movement measures (job alternatives, job search). Thus, job embeddedness assesses new and meaningful variance in turnover in excess of that predicted by the major variables included in almost all the major models of turnover.


Conclusions: The findings suggest that job embeddedness is a valuable lens through which to evaluate employee retention in healthcare organizations. Further, the levers for influencing retention are substantially similar for nurses and other healthcare workers. Implications of these findings and recommendations for recruitment and retention policy development are presented.