Press Ganey Study Uncovers Impact of Diversity and Equity on Retention

Employee engagement analysis of 410,000 U.S.-based healthcare workers underscores importance of infusing DEI into company DNA

New findings from Press Ganey, the national leader in healthcare consumer and workforce engagement, reveal health systems that instill the values of diversity and equity within their culture have less risk of talent potentially leaving the organization. The analysis also points to clear actions leaders can take to prevent turnover and foster a sense of belonging.

“Health systems that fail to invest in diversity, equity and inclusion will be left behind”

With today’s competitive job market and acute staffing shortages weighing on healthcare, Press Ganey’s findings suggest diversity and equity are strongly correlated to retention:

  • Healthcare organizations had twice as many employees at risk of leaving if the workforce perceived diversity and equity weren’t prioritized versus workforces that do.
  • The risk of leaving within three years is more than four times higher for healthcare workers who believe their organization doesn’t value employees from different backgrounds versus workers who do.
  • If offered another job, healthcare workers are four and a half times more likely to leave an organization if they believe different backgrounds aren’t valued, or if the organization isn’t committed to workforce diversity, versus workers who do.
  • Perceptions of diversity & equity are a bigger indicator of intent to stay with an organization among security personnel, nurses and physicians than other ancillary staff.
  • While survey respondents indicated high levels of stress, stress is less correlated with intent to leave—respondents are most at risk to leave if they report that they do not like the work they do, or they do not feel their work is meaningful.

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Findings were compiled from data from 118 health systems that incorporate diversity and equity into their survey methodology. Responses from more than 410,000 healthcare workers were analyzed from employee engagement surveys administered between Jan. 1 and Sept. 29, 2021. Results compare employees’ perceptions of diversity and equity at the individual, managerial and organizational level against whether they would stay at their intent to stay with the health system.

“Health systems that fail to invest in diversity, equity and inclusion will be left behind,” said Dr. Tejal Gandhi, chief safety and transformation officer, Press Ganey. “Everyone is talking about ‘The Great Resignation’—now is the time to be proactively measuring and acting upon key predictors of turnover.”

Assessing employee engagement and employee perceptions of diversity, equity and inclusion are critical for driving sustainable improvements and retaining staff.

“We all fall guilty into making DEI one overarching initiative and it is not,” said Cassandra Willis-Abner, chief human resources officer, Press Ganey. “Diversity, equity and inclusion are three separate concepts that require three different approaches to cultural transformation.”

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To better drill down into each area, leaders must pull all three apart and create separate listening strategies and action plans around them.


If organizations lack representation across race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion or ability, revisit hiring practices and policies to ensure diversification across seniority and role types.

Add demographic questions in your employee listening solutions that allow for necessary segmentation of data across all protected classes. Survey frequently and round routinely on employees to have an up-to-date pulse of changing engagement levels.


Leverage data to understand unconscious bias across promotions, team creation and task assignments to ensure marginalized identities have the opportunity to contribute and grow–regardless of background.

Proactively affirm and draw on a variety of perspectives based on varied identities. Understand the root cause of outcome discrepancies across groups with a willingness to address the discrepancies.


A focus on inclusivity prompts sharing engagement results and initiating dialogue with the wider organization instead of just human resources and executive leadership. Deploy steering committees and focus groups with diverse backgrounds to take part in decision and policy making.

“A diverse workforce in numbers alone is not enough. Only when diversity is coupled with equitable operations and intentional inclusion at all levels of an organization, will we start to change the tide,” added Willis-Abner.

Healthcare organizations looking to improve the physical, psychological and emotional health of staff, or address disparities and the impact of racial inequities, can request more information on Press Ganey’s Workforce Well-being Collaborative or Press Ganey’s Equity Partnership.

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