Workforce Satisfaction

Key to retention and recruitment

Nurse posing with senior woman
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Finding and keeping talented staff in the aging services industry is hard. Turnover is rampant. Wages are low. Benefits are minimal. Yet there are many who make a career in the industry. Workforce satisfaction is more than wages and benefits. The intangibles of workforce satisfaction – respect and empowerment among others – are keys to retention and recruitment in the industry.

My InnerView

My InnerView is the preeminent provider of nursing home satisfaction surveys. Their National Survey of Consumer and Workforce Satisfaction in Nursing Homes is an annual initiative based upon the nation’s largest private dataset of satisfaction metrics for the senior care profession. The survey provides a great barometer for understanding employee satisfaction and understanding how to create better employee experiences.

In the latest survey, 283,404 employees participated of which 40% were nursing assistants; 19% nurses; 41% other. Demographics show that it is an aging workforce with 53% of people over 40. Almost 20% of employees have been in their job for a year or less.

Satisfaction among nurses and nursing assistants remains lower than the satisfaction of employees in other job categories; however, both types of workers have become more satisfied with their facilities since 2006, showing a sustained upward trend. Facilities with higher workforce satisfaction also have higher family satisfaction. And it has been shown that when you align financial incentives with better performance quality also improves.

What Matters Most

Nursing home staff listed the following as important to their job satisfaction:

  • Management cares
  • Management listens
  • Help with job stress and burnout
  • Workplace safety
  • Supervisor cares
  • Adequate equipment/supplies
  • Supervisor appreciates
  • Training to deal with difficult residents

Four of the top ten drivers where staff would recommend their own facility are directly correlated to effective supervision and management.

Management Cares and Listens

There are a gazillion books out there on management and leadership. For me, Harvey MacKay is the go-to person in this area. Because his strategy for employee engagement is simple, it works. And it comes down to knowing you employee. The more you know about your employee, the more you will be able to genuinely care and listen. Harvey has a tool to help you do that and freely distributes it. It is called the MacKay 33, essentially 33 things to know about your employees that in so doing will help you become a more caring and empathetic leader. Some of these have more than one part so the math does not add up to 33! Here they are:

  1. What is this person most proud of? (what trophies, photographs, certificates, etc. can be found at the person's desk, in the office, around his/her locker or work area?)
  2. What is the employee's attitude towards education?
  3. Is he/she attending classes? Pursuing a degree?
  4. How does he/she keep his/her skills current?
  5. Is this person a leader? How have leadership skills or deficiencies been demonstrated?
  6. What motivates this person most? How can we satisfy this motivation?
  7. Has this person been briefed on handling confidential information? Describe.
  8. How does this person's outside activities, interests and concerns reflect upon the company? (memberships, associations, awards, demanding home situation?)
  9. How does this person accept criticism? How often do you have to correct the same mistake?
  10. This person is most successful at doing the job because (technical skills, perseverance, experience, etc.)
  11. This person is least successful at doing the job because (poor attitude, lack of experience, limited problem solving skills, etc.)
  1. The greatest single strength this person has is _______________________. Are we utilizing or under-utilizing it?
  2. How would we feel if this person was working for the competition?
  3. How aware is this person of his/her strengths and, how would this person make use of them?
  4. How aware is this person of his/her weaknesses, and how would this person deal with them?
  5. Is this person regarded as an "office politician" by his/her peers?
  6. Who is this person's mentor or role model in the company?
  7. Are there people better suited to be a role model? Why? If so, how do we encourage the change?
  8. Is this person a team player? In which ways is this person effective on the team? Ineffective?
  9. Is this person a natural teacher? If yes, how can we utilize these natural teaching skills?
  10. Should this person be a role model for someone in the company? If yes, who? How can this be done most effectively?
  11. Is this person an effective spokesperson for the company? Would he/she be comfortable in speaking for the company? If yes, how can we effectively use this talent?
  1. What do co-workers say about this person's job performance? In his/her own department? In other departments?
  2. How would co-workers react if this person was given a higher level of responsibility?
  3. What does this person want to be in five years? In ten years?
  4. Given this person's strength and weaknesses, how realistic are this person's goals?
  5. What have we done to help this person meet these goals?
  6. Is there any challenge within the company, which this person can do to help them achieve his/her goals?
  7. What training programs outside the company does this person need to be prepared for his/her next job?
  8. What on-the-job training opportunities exist to prepare the person for advancement, and how do we specifically plan to use them?
  9. Does this person believe anything or anyone is blocking their future with our company? (a person, a past problem, lack of education, etc.?) Is their concern realistic?
  10. What has been this person's level of achievement toward past goals?
  11. Do you feel this person will do better or worse in the next highest level of authority than in his/her present job?
  1. Has there been clear and open communication of our goals? Describe what was said and when.
  2. How do you feel the goals of this person match up with the goals of the company?

By understanding your employees better you can address the two biggest concerns they have and in the process become a more effective and empathetic leader.

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