The ongoing labor shortage and continued repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic have made maintaining an engaged workforce and attracting talent incredibly difficult. The senior living industry is not exempt from this challenge. Here are three ways to engage your employees.

  1. Invest in your employees

Investing in your employees immediately upon hire and continuing throughout their career will help engage your workforce. Providing a comprehensive onboarding program to immediately immerse employees in your culture, and offering thorough training based on the experience level of each new hire, will contribute to a positive experience. Developing career paths and providing growth opportunities will help your staff see a future with your organization.

Studies have shown that establishing an employee wellness program can be very beneficial. This program should focus on comprehensive wellness, not just physical health. Providing support for employees’ emotional wellbeing is especially important during these extraordinary times.

  1. Increase flexibility and work life balance

Workplace flexibility and endorsing a strong work-life balance will help promote employee satisfaction.  Try to be creative with the work schedules. For example, offering shorter shifts or asking your employees for their preference when scheduling may be helpful.

Although many residences are short-staffed, it is important to try to accommodate an employee’s request for prescheduled time off and to try to limit overtime hours. Consider an in-house float (PRN) pool to help with coverage. A burnt out and tired staff will not remain engaged for long.

  1. Create a healthy work environment

A healthy, positive work environment contributes to higher levels of employee engagement.  Review the mission and values of your senior living community with your staff. Being mission focused adds purpose to your staff’s work and fosters a sense of community. Highlight the importance of their work and how they are making a difference, while acknowledging the emotional and physical challenges they face.

Managers play a key role in ensuring team members feel valued.  Train managers to be strong leaders who communicate often with employees, proactively listen to and address their needs, thank them for their positive contributions, show them respect, and involve them in decision making.  Hold managers accountable to model the organization’s standards of behavior.

One size does not fit all when it comes to successful ways to engage your staff. Survey new hires to see what can be improved to enhance their initial experience with the company. Also routinely survey all employees to determine what they need and what they value so that you can implement solutions, benefits, and perks that are important to your team.  Finally, stress to managers the importance of regular check-ins with their staff to address staff concerns before employees consider leaving the organization.

BONUS: Tips for attracting top tier talent

To attract talent, evaluate your recruiting strategies.  In job advertisements, promote the company culture and what differentiates your organization from others. Advertise the training and professional development that the organization offers along with the company benefits. Expand your applicant pool by offering referral rewards to current staff.

Additional strategies include:

  • Ensuring the job requirements are not too narrow.
  • Partnering with local nursing schools and CNA programs
  • Utilizing social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook for job postings

For more information or to plan a strategy for increasing your applicant pool or retaining talent, contact a Marsh McLennan Agency (MMA) advisor.

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