Retention Strategies

In a recent ASHP survey of the pharmacy technician workforce 75% of survey respondents indicated that higher pay would help retain pharmacy technicians. Inadequate compensation was a top reason for leaving or considering leaving a job. Strategies that pharmacy managers can take to address compensation include:

  • Regular market assessments and adjustments for pharmacy technician pay that account for both internal and external data
  • Retention bonuses for hard-to-fill positions or those with high turnover
  • Referral bonuses
  • Incentive pay for overtime or schedule vacancies
  • Career ladder and lattice development

In large, complex health-systems with multiple pharmacy teams across the enterprise, pharmacy technicians may be incentivized to leave their current role if they can be paid more in another similar role within the system. To ensure that compensation is not the only motivating factor in such a transition, pharmacy managers should advocate for parity in pay rate within and between roles across the enterprise. This will ensure that pharmacy technicians who wish to stay in their current role can do so knowing they are compensated fairly compared to other roles.

Another nontraditional benefit that some institutions are providing pharmacy technician staff is sponsored subscriptions to professional societies and/or CE providers. For example, pharmacy technician ASHP membership includes access to a CE service that can be utilized to support licensure and certification requirements. These professional benefits demonstrate a commitment to professional development and support for the pharmacy technician career.

A number of these strategies require close partnership, buy-in, and/or sponsorship from senior leaders and the HR/Compensation team. Justifying what is often a financial commitment in the current healthcare climate is difficult. Therefore, bringing stakeholders in at the early stages and utilizing metrics to justify the expense will be crucial.

Finally, the power of the relationship between the supervising pharmacist and the pharmacy technician cannot be overstated. In the same survey discussed above, 73% of pharmacy technicians indicated that the relationship with their supervising pharmacist contributes to their job satisfaction. Recruitment and selection of a supervising pharmacist must account for this important relationship. Candidates should have strong communication, relationship building, and leadership skills.