New hires in senior care facilities can become valuable assets to the business as they receive training and professional development opportunities. But investing in new hires can be expensive and time-consuming, and employee turnover can become a major expense.
According to Argentum’s white paper, Building an Engaged Senior Living Workforce, a senior living operator can save an average of $4.4 million by reducing employee turnover by just 10 percent.
By strategically investing in new hires, senior care facilities can help them to become valued employees who enjoy long-term careers at the facilities. The following employee investment strategies can also help to build employee loyalty and retention, maximizing the return that a business receives on the time and money that it invests in its staff.
1. Create Career Development Paths
Clear career development paths can help new hires to not only see opportunities for advancement, but to also visualize themselves at your facility for years to come. Argentum’s white paper, Finding and Growing a Talent Pipeline, states that a clear career path can incentivize employees to stay at an organization.
To be effective, an employee career path needs to be both clear and compelling. Businesses need to show a progression that reflects not only a growth in roles, but also a development in responsibilities. It’s also important to highlight the increased compensation and rewards that will come with the career advancement.
2. Identify and Make Professional Development and Training Opportunities Available
Professional development and training opportunities are highly valuable to staff, and they can help staff to advance along the career development paths that a facility has created.
Arthur Bretschneider, CEO and co-founder of Seniorly, has worked within the aging industry for over 20 years and fully supports the use of professional development and training. “It is important to offer professional development and training to any staff member who shows interest,” states Bretschneider.
“The success and quality of care and compassion in the building starts with your staff. If you encourage professional development, it will often lead to happier and more engaged staff members. With the abundance of online classes, there is really no excuse for an operator to not offer these professional development opportunities,” he says.
Even if a facility is working with limited financial resources, Bretschneider recommends prioritizing professional development: “Professional development focused on training entry-level caregivers into medical technicians should be prioritized. It unlocks a higher hourly rate for the staff member and provides a higher quality of care for the community operator.”
3. Establish and Maintain Mentorship Programs
Mentorship programs can also play a valuable role in helping new hires to feel supported and engaged with a facility. By connecting a new hire to a long-term employee, that new hire can gain one-on-one training experience and insight that makes for an easier and smoother transition into a new position. Mentorship programs also offer valuable relationship-building opportunities.
4. Offer Support in the Areas That Staff Need
In addition to helping staff build their careers, it’s also important to support new hires in the specific areas that are most valuable to them. According to Bretschneider, “the majority of staff are hourly employees who are struggling to earn a living wage. Investments in health care, child care, and commuting are often the most meaningful. Staff-provided meals are another good investment. These are all investments to subsidize the cost of living, and they’re very meaningful to the staff.”
Time-off benefits, health and wellness benefits like gym memberships and wellness programs, as well as tuition reimbursement are also excellent ways to support and invest in employees.
As a business develops and refines its employee investment strategies and practices, it can be valuable to establish a dialogue with the employees, themselves, to get feedback and ideas on the investments that are most valuable.
Speaking with senior staff about their experiences as new hires can reveal what is working and which areas could use additional support. Checking in with new hires can also identify areas where the employees feel that support is lacking and demonstrating the business’ desire to work with and invest in its employees.
Regularly revisiting new hire investment practices can help to build staff loyalty and retention while giving employees the tools they need to be successful in their work.