Gallagher’s analysis of market data combined with consultant-led focus groups uncovered an interwoven set of actionable insights, both within the scope of the total rewards assessment and beyond.

Author: Thomas Rylko


Client summary

  • Multistate healthcare system (4 hospitals)
  • RN staffing a primary issue
  • Compensation is No. 2 issue: nursing grads paid more than experienced RNs; bonuses promised but not paid, premium pay lagged market rates
  • Nurses complain about lack of respect
  • RN attraction and retention issues

Challenge: Competing for registered nurses

A multistate healthcare system struggled with high staff turnover and low morale, especially among registered nurses. The organization's market assessment of their total rewards offering showed that the employer fell behind the market significantly in pay, benefits and retirement match.

Solution: Gallagher focus groups uncovered total rewards challenges and significant insights beyond the study

Gallagher conducted focus groups that confirmed that each market-lagging total rewards component contributed to RN turnover. Consultants provided total reward change recommendations for each offering, including implementation steps and detailed costs. Elements included base compensation, premium pay, education assistance, retirement and part-time/PRN benefits.

Gallagher's focus group results further revealed workforce concerns associated with staffing, equipment and facility conditions, HR processes, and perceived respect. Although these areas fell outside the scope of total rewards, the Gallagher team presented the findings and associated recommendations to leaders. Examples included recommendations to add back support staff for roles and tasks that don't require a nursing license, but which had been assigned to RNs.

Results: Leaders gained powerful insight to allow better responses to staffing and compensation issues

After operations personnel validated the findings, leaders began actively making changes based on the information, particularly by addressing staffing issues.

This case reinforces the value of qualitative research such as focus group sessions to support gathering of all relevant insights — even those outside the scope of the study. When employers lack the internal expertise to respond to uncovered broader issues, a range of teams within Gallagher can offer targeted expertise and assistance.

Gallagher's Compensation Consulting and Total Rewards team can help your organization blend the right data sources to tailor a competitive total rewards plan to help attract and keep the people you need now. Contact us for a conversation.

Author Information


Consulting and insurance brokerage services to be provided by Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. and/or its affiliate Gallagher Benefit Services (Canada) Group Inc. Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. is a licensed insurance agency that does business in California as "Gallagher Benefit Services of California Insurance Services" and in Massachusetts as "Gallagher Benefit Insurance Services." Neither Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., nor its affiliates provide accounting, legal or tax advice.