Employee Experience: The New Retention Strategy

Mark Woodka, CEO, OnShift E

mployees are our greatest asset and our big- gest diff erentiator. I hear this time and time again from providers. But in

order to attract and retain top talent, execu- tives must understand the critical challenges facing not just their organization, but their employees as well. This is what OnShift set out to uncover

in our inaugural Workforce 360 Survey. Ini- tially conducted in the fall of 2019, nearly 1500 industry professionals shared their perspectives on the impact, outlook, and potential solutions for improving their top workforce challenges. Here are some of the key lessons learned.

Hiring, turnover concerns on rise Nearly every provider I speak with has the same story: Employees are continually turn- ing over and their communities can’t hire fast enough to replace them. It was of no surprise to me then that 72

percent of respondents reported employee turnover as their top workforce challenge, followed by fi nding qualifi ed candidates and growing wage and compensation pressures. The cycle of turnover is a vicious one. As our survey validates, organizationally, it leads to higher labor costs and increased reliance on overtime. It disrupts continuity of care and service

for residents and leads to a decrease in over- all resident satisfaction. And, as 70 percent of respondents indicated, it increases em- ployee burnout as staff are required to take on additional duties while vacant positions are un-fi lled. Growing competition for talent both in and outside the industry makes breaking the cycle of turnover even more diffi cult for providers than in years past. By and large, senior living respondents indicated that oth-

er senior care organizations are their biggest source of competition. But this is not the only source of compe-

tition. When it comes to talent, 77 percent of senior living respondents reported they commonly fi nd themselves in competition with retailers, hotels, restaurants and grow- ing “gig economy” services.

Employees are struggling The duties of caregivers and hourly em- ployees are demanding by nature. And as noted, when understaff ed, these demands only increase. But the struggles of today’s workforce

reach far beyond the doors of your commu- nity. As our survey found, many caregivers and hourly workers are working multiple jobs, lack reliable childcare and are juggling additional family responsibilities. They’re also fi nancially stressed. Over 60

percent of respondents recognize a number of their employees lack fi nancial savings. What we’ve found is that this lack of fi -

nancial security not only aff ects employees when unexpected expenses arise, but when trying to cover basic daily expenses such as rent and groceries. In turn, this leads to a decrease in productivity and lower motivation.

Perks must meet employee needs To both attract and retain top talent, senior living providers must focus on improving the lives of their employees. This means implementing rewards and

recognition programs that ensure employees feel valued and recognized for their contri- butions, having technology in place that encourages a collaborative scheduling pro- cess and off ers more scheduling fl exibility, and off ering perks such as tuition assistance,


consumer discounts, and timely access to earned wages. It was encouraging to see that the vast

majority of our respondents already off er or plan to off er these types of perks in the near future—an encouraging sign that providers not only understand the struggles and needs of their employees, but are ready to address them.

The bottom line Success starts with your people. Senior liv- ing executives must focus their attention on redefi ning the employee experience and im- plementing programs and technology to meet their needs. Doing so will reduce turnover, create a pipeline of qualifi ed candidates, im- prove costs and positively impact the quality and continuity of care and service. Think of the caregiver working at two

diff erent communities. They may like their duties, co-workers and manager equally at both. But if one off ers a perk like timely access to earned wages and the other community doesn’t, they’re likely more inclined to pick up an extra shift or two at the community off ering this perk. Wouldn’t you do the same? I encourage you to download the full report:

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