In a recent article published by McKnight's Senior Living, a survey of caregivers in Texas showed that while pay was an important factor in staying in the senior services field, it wasn't the only driver of satisfaction. This is contrary to what most managers believe. The study listed feeling respected, job flexibility and pride in the physical workplace as important to staff connected to their work. So, how can the industry make small, but impactful shifts to improving retention among caregivers and other roles? Here are a few simple ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Empower staff by creating ways for all employees to be part of idea generation and decision making. Create interdisciplinary teams that meet to discuss challenges and test potential solutions. Give staff guardrails for simple decision making with residents or families without having to ask for permission. Help everyone feel like they are part of something bigger! Because they are.
- Coach managers to ask questions instead of bark commands. Focus specifically with those who have scheduling responsibilities in how to be more emphatic in their approach to managing call outs, change requests and requests for extra shifts. Gone are the days of rigidity and "my way or the highway" attitudes!
- Create growth programs by offering training that leads to promotions into key positions - caregiver to MedTech; MedTech to manager; activity director to dementia trainer; dishwasher to lead cook. You get the idea! Give people a reason to stay.
- Infuse fun and connection into everything you do. We've all had the feeling of dread on the drive to work. Give staff a reason to smile when they pull into the parking lot. Maybe its appreciation signs that change periodically or fun events planned throughout the year. It could be as simple as asking someone about their day or randomly taking a task off their plate to give them a break. SHOW them how much you care! And don't forget to recognize tenure milestones. Is making it to your 30 day mark as a new employee a milestone? You bet your bottom dollar it is!
Maybe these ideas are nothing new, you were probably doing one or more pre-pandemic. As AGE-u-cate's founder and CEO, Pam Brandon shared in our last blog post, the longterm trauma that we have all endured during the pandemic is real. We all need support to retrain our brain in thinking past the here and now; to begin planning towards a future where COVID doesn't dominate our every move. It's time to bring back best practices and make them even better!
I hope something on the list sparked an idea for you. Go ahead, give it a try today! As my grandmother always said, there's no time like the present. Leave a comment to share what's working. We're all in this together!
If you're interested in reading the full McKnight's article mentioned in this post, click here.