Client care. The most devastating impact

of employee turnover is the negative effect it has on client care. Disengaged employees make more mistakes or neglect their duties, which can culminate in decreased positive outcomes and increased negative ones.

How to improve turnover rates Although turnover rates are currently high in the industry, it doesn’t mean they can’t be improved. When organizations make a commitment to address the concerns of its employees and give them what they need to be satisfied in their jobs, it can go a long way toward keeping staff. “You’ve got to become an employee-cen-

tric organization,” said Mark Woodka, OnShift CEO. “We’ve been resident-centric for the past decade and that’s great—they’re our customers and they’re the people we care for—but if we don’t put our employ- ees at the center of the universe, we’re not going to have residents because we’re not going to have employees. And you can’t provide care with nobody.” In order to begin the process of becom-

ing more employee-centric, leaders should consider the following tips: Get reliable metrics. Before organiza-

tions can effectively address turnover, they need metrics to get an accurate picture of the problem and how much it’s cost- ing them. By using a robust instrument, communities can understand how many employees they’re losing and how much they’re spending on areas such as hiring, training, advertising vacant positions, and overtime to cover shifts. But finding out how many people have left

is not enough to solve the problem. Manage- ment must also understand why employees left, and how much of the turnover is caused by workers leaving voluntarily or involuntari- ly. By knowing the most common reasons why people quit their jobs, companies gain an understanding of what their weaknesses are and can create a plan to address them. Improve the onboarding process. In or-

der to keep new employees, organizations need to make them feel welcome from day one. This can be done by creating an


Although organizations should definitely address their turnover if it’s too high, eliminating turnover entirely should not be the goal. Not only is zero percent turnover unrealistic, it’s also unhealthy for organizations and clients alike.

“The optimal amount of turnover is one that makes resident care the best it can be,” Kung said. “Zero turnover is not a good thing because inevitably you have hiring mistakes, and so when you have someone on the job that’s not good for residents, that person should turn over. Having zero turnover but bad people on the floor means that resident care is being negatively affected, so you want a healthy amount of turnover.”

onboarding program that not only teaches them how to do their job, but also fit into the company culture. “Getting employees started right and es-

tablishing an effective onboarding program is crucial,” Atkinson said. “Onboarding is a process—orientation is an event. You want to design an onboarding program that reaches out to the new hire over several months during the year that fully integrates them into their new role.” Improve communication. Since poor

management is a major contributor to high turnover, it’s important for supervisors to improve on the frequency and effectiveness of their communication. Workers want to be heard, and they also want to receive clear instructions and guidance from their managers, so it’s important to always keep them in the loop and give them regular feedback. For example, one way to efficiently in-

crease communication is to leverage tech- nology to stay in touch. Although some employees on the floor may not have a work email address, that doesn’t mean manage- ment cannot keep them in the loop. Since most employees probably have a smart- phone, a community’s leadership can send everyone messages to their personal email accounts or via text. In some cases, managers may need to

receive additional training on how to su- pervise people. It’s important to remember that someone who has been promoted may be an expert in resident care, but may not

know how to translate that expertise into overseeing a staff.

Provide a career path for employees.

With the strong economy, it’s easy for peo- ple to hop from one job to another relative- ly quickly. This means that companies need to provide compelling reasons for people to stay—such as showing employees how they can advance in the organization. “Help people understand that if you

start as a caregiver in a community, there’s a place for you to go—you can become a senior caregiver, you can go on and get a nursing certificate, or you can be a depart- ment supervisor,” said Woodka. “I think giving people a sense of ‘this isn’t just a job, this a career and you can move forward’ is good.”


Join us Nov. 8-10 in Washington, D.C. at the Argentum Senior Living Symposium and hear the latest results from Argentum’s workforce metrics initiative in partnership with OnShift. The initiative is focused on collecting and reporting benchmarked data on turnover, retention, and employee engagement across senior living.

Learn more and register at


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