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Sponsored by WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT


Treat Team Members Like Family & Reap The Retention Benefi ts


Mark Woodka, CEO, OnShift T


he recent Careers In Aging Week was a welcome reprieve to the massive issues stemming from the workforce


crisis in senior living. It sought to raise aware- ness about career opportunities in senior care and ideally attract new people to our fi eld. At OnShift, we had the opportunity to


celebrate the week with some of our incred- ible clients. It was during this time that I learned about a caregiver who has worked at a senior care community for 40 years. 40 years! My team members asked her what the community was doing to keep her there for so long. Her response was simple, “They have always treated me like family.” Her story struck a chord with me.


What if the struggle to retain staff could be lessened by treating employees like we treat our family? Think about your closest family members and your commitment to their happiness, success, and health. You are more than likely actively engaged in their well-being. As a senior living leader, what if you off ered employees a similar level of commitment? You can apply the close-knit virtues of family to your teams, resulting in happier, more engaged staff who provide better resident care and service. It’s a win all the way around. One of the biggest struggles for employ-


ees, particularly hourly workers, is fi nancial stability. Many live paycheck to paycheck, with less than $400 in the bank to cover an unexpected expense. The fi nancial stress that results can impact their health and well-being, while compromising their pro- ductivity and performance at work. Let’s apply the concept of family to a


fi nancially strapped employee. How would you respond to a family member who was unable to aff ord a car repair and that with-


52 SENIOR LIVING EXECUTIVE MARCH/APRIL 2019


out it, their ability to get to work and shuttle kids to daycare was at risk? More than likely, you’d help them out. One of the most eff ective and innovative


ways to assist employees during a fi nancial emergency is by off ering instant access to their earned wages. Many new financial wellness models and systems are available, including methods that off er access to a por- tion of earned income or daily pay models, which are popular with the gig economy. It’s a great way to show employees how much you care about them. Families also celebrate one another’s


successes. A college graduation, a work promotion, acing an exam, and other life milestones, both big and small, are reason to celebrate. As a senior living leader, you have an opportunity to do the same for em- ployees. Work anniversaries, certifi cations earned, providing exceptional resident ser- vice, and overall job performance are just a few achievements that deserve a celebration of some sort. One way to celebrate – and boost em-


ployee engagement in the process – is by rewarding employees for their hard work. Track key performance metrics and assign points that can be redeemed for something like a gift card. Ongoing recognition and rewards go a long way in making them feel valued, which is key to long-term retention. Regular communication is an important


part of strong family ties and provides an- other opportunity to build bonds with staff . Clearly communicating job expectations and tasks, organizational news, upcoming changes, and other important information ensures everyone is on the same page and working toward a common goal. In addi- tion, collecting frequent feedback, while


also allowing them to share ideas and rec- ommendations for improvements, keeps em- ployees involved and engaged. Many of our clients who use OnShift’s automated pulse surveys as part of their employee engage- ment program have experienced a boost in satisfaction, while reducing turnover as much as 67 percent. Finally, senior living employees juggle


multiple responsibilities and more and more, they are working multiple jobs. One of the most important things you can off er is predictability with best-fi t schedules. Off er some consistency, fl exibility, and the ability to easily manage their shifts. Considering shift preferences shows employees that they mean a lot to your organization and helps them balance their lives outside of work. The saying goes, “treat people how you


want to be treated.” When you treat staff with the same respect and compassion as your own family, organizational culture thrives and retention soars.


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