As an industry, we are constantly struggling with associate recruitment and retention. Turnover is high particularly with direct care associates. We are inundated with the statistics of the workforce shortage and the significant care demands of an elderly population that only continues to grow. All which eventually impact resident satisfaction and ultimately net operating income (NOI).
Here are practices that can get you out of the revolving door of staffing management:
As my grandfather used to say, measure twice, cut once. If you are a woodworker or a tailor, you only have to make the mistake once to know the benefits of careful measurement. So often at the Community level we are scrambling to fill shifts and cut overtime that we don’t measure twice. Then we are scratching our heads wondering why staff members are leaving.
Hiring is an art and a science. Make sure to use all the tools to measure right!
- Competency testing for your skilled associates. Did you know only 1/3 of the students enrolled in baccalaureate nursing programs are required to take a course in geriatrics? How do you know your CNAs understand the skills of excellent dementia care? Eight to ten percent of applicants who are in direct care roles fail the basic skills requirements. Make sure the associates you are hiring have the skills and training to be successful.
- Don’t cut corners on your background checks. A comprehensive employee background check can help a Community to screen out employees who may participate in all types of abuse, including emotional, financial, and physical abuse.
- Reference checks. Don’t just go through the motions. A reference check should verify that the information on the application/resume is accurate. It should also serve as a way to assess personality traits and work ethic. Use phrases that will provide better information, “Please complete this sentence: if there was one thing I could change about the individual’s job performance, it’s……………”
- Set expectations up front. Make sure your job descriptions are well defined and reviewed with the applicant for clarity.
Make Sure Your Job Tasks Match the Skill Level
Are your nurses overwhelmed with administrative tasks? Are your CNAs washing dishes? Look at each job and identify tasks that do not have to be done by a certified or licensed professional. Hire homemakers to complete those tasks.
Always Be Recruiting
Even if all your current jobs are filled, don’t stop hiring.
- Does your state licensing agency allow purchase of a mailing list? If so, send out postcards with open positions.
- Hold regular job fairs.
- Offer CEU courses.
- Develop an employee referral bonus program and continuously promote it throughout your community.
Find Out What You’re Doing Right and Wrong
- Employee surveys, if done correctly, can give you valuable information on what is working and what’s not.
- Exit interviews are also a good opportunity for obtaining feedback on employment issues, such as vacation time and pay, health benefits, and fringe benefits. The interview can also provide valuable insight about skills and abilities required to perform the job that the employee is vacating.
Develop a Culture of Loyalty and Engagement
Did you know that 71% of American workers are currently disengaged from their job? That means they’re just going through the motions. And if your workplace is like most, 6 out of 10 are currently looking to move on.
How do you engage your associates?
- First step, make sure they have the right tools and training to be successful. It could be as simple as making sure the housekeeper has a vacuum that works.
- Develop a turnkey employee recognition program that rewards results that make the Community a better place to work and live.
Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development
- Design a career ladder program to promote quality service while providing associates with increased financial incentive and opportunity for growth and further education.
- Establish a HHA/CNA certification program.
There’s no shortcut to a viable recruitment and retention program – but the rewards can be priceless.