The key to providing high-quality long term care is to ensure that employees who deliver that care feel fulfilled by their work. I believe that a direct connection exists between employee satisfaction and resident well-being in long term care communities. Residents gain an increased sense of security when they’re able to establish relationships with long term employees, and families are reassured to see familiar faces when they come in to visit their loved ones. Steve Moran, Account Manager at Virgil Health Solutions and author of the Senior Housing Forum Blog“, said: “I visit a lot of long term care organizations, and the most important qualities that employees can have are genuine warmth and caring.”
Here are four organizational strategies that contribute to best practices in hiring, developing and retaining satisfied employees:
1. Hiring candidates who are congruent with the community’s culture
These days, employment branding is a vital element in recruiting top talent. Before you even post a job opening, you need to have a clear method of communicating your organization’s culture: your mission, vision and values. Behavioral assessments are a medium for transmitting your long term care organization’s culture to candidates before they even join your team. Scientifically-derived behavioral assessments will help you select candidates for compassion and other desirable philosophical qualities that match your comminity’s culture. Those candidates who share the same values as your community can then be invited in for in-person interviews.
2. Continuously improving employee skills
High-quality employees will have a positive effect on resident care, and this creates a win-win situation: when residents have a sense of wellbeing, the entire community maintains a positive climate and employees experience a high-level of job satisfaction. Strengths-based coaching and performance management throughout the organization play a key role in employee satisfaction. Managers can focus on areas needing growth and provide guidance to employees in a context of offering tools to increase their skill set, thus giving employees the sense that management is on their side.
“We need to remind long term care employees on a daily basis that their work is important,” said Moran.
3. Promoting engagement with residents
The deepest purpose driving employees at long term care communities should be the desire to improve the lives of their residents. There is a powerful sense of compassion in every long term care employee, or they would have moved on to a less demanding workplace. In a busy community, however, it sometimes happens that caregivers become caught up in the details of their jobs and miss out on chances to truly connect with the residents whom they’re helping. By ensuring employees stay connected to your community’s mission, a community can reinforce the importance of putting compassion first, and ensure that employees enjoy the daily satisfaction of knowing they make a difference in people’s lives. Consider team building activities where your mission, vision and values are really driven home, with the main focus being on engaging with residents as part of the mission.
Libby Westby, Recruiter at Hospice of the Valley, points out: “Our employees know they’re part of a supportive team, and this makes them willing to accept responsibility and up their game.”
4. Recognizing employee achievements and measuring satisfaction
Employees spend a large portion of their lives at work, and occasional gestures of appreciation – both general and specific – can go a long way toward increasing satisfaction and long term staff retention. By using employee satisfaction surveys to discover areas where employee satisfaction is highest and lowest, your organization can respond nimbly to areas that need to be changed. Management teams should meet with each department to go over survey results and develop action plans to improve any areas that are negatively affecting employee well-being.
Long term care organizations can use their organization’s mission as the medium to strengthen their work culture and support connections between staff and those who they care for – the residents.
Download our Continuing Care White Paper: Improving Employee Satisfaction to read about four strategies from talent management experts that will help your long term care organization increase employee satisfaction.