A multiple case study examining the reasons for career change among behavioral health technicians : solving the turnover dilemma.


Turnover across all industries has almost doubled since the turn of the century in 2000 and was on track to hit 40 million resignations in 2018 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Healthcare historically has higher than average turnover rates, and behavioral health has an even higher turnover rate than most areas of healthcare. Nationally, in rural communities, behavioral health turnover has reached as high as ninety percent annually (Jobs to Careers, 2013). Turnover is a costly process for employers whose funding and general revenue lack the same economic growth as other industries. At Helping Hands Healthcare, turnover rates trend at a higher rate in entry-level caregiver positions versus other clinical areas. Stakeholders and the researchers have reviewed various reasons for turnover, such as lack of recognition, burnout, and generational gaps. This case study determined and prioritized reasons for turnover and offered solutions for decreasing the turnover, helping organizations combat the trend. This study investigated a wide range of reasons why behavioral health technicians may choose a career change or elect to leave their current position for a similar job elsewhere. The prioritization of reasons for turnover allowed the organization to apply resources in ways that had the most positive impact on the quality of patient care, employee satisfaction, and financial goals. An anonymous questionnaire, developed by the researcher, and semi-structured interviews were the primary source of data for the study. This study used Vroom's expectancy theory and the unfolding theory in analyzing data. The researcher hypothesized that data would show compensation, culture, lack of recognition, motivation, appreciation, lack of training, advancement opportunities, and burnout as common themes for the high turnover rates in these positions and specific settings. Further, the researcher believed that burnout, compensation, lack of training, and lack of career advancement would rank above other reasons for turnover in the behavioral healthcare field. Actual findings from the study showed the main reason for turnover was a lack of communication and connection between leaders and the front-line staff and the need for a more positive culture in the hospitals.



Baby boomer generation. Behavioral health technicians. Generation X. Generation Y. Mental health diagnosis. Turnover in healthcare.