Like many aging services, long-term care (LTC) facilities are grossly under-appreciated. You rarely hear discussions on aging services outside of the facilities’ four walls, related industry events, and SmartLinx offices. Yet, we rely on LTC employees — nurses, certified nursing aides, therapists, dietitians, schedulers, administrators, and more — to perform one of the most important jobs that exist —taking care of our loved ones and, one day, even ourselves.
Finally, facilities who’ve shown they take great care of their residents and their employees can receive some well-deserved recognition by earning a place on Fortune magazine’s “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” list.
The list ranks workplaces by company culture and employee experiences. Employers eager to see their name on this prestigious list should start preparing for the certification process by asking and answering one simple question:
Are my employees happy?
Caring for the elderly can be very difficult, which makes caring for employees even more important. All too often, we overlook employee satisfaction despite its direct impact on quality of care we provide.
An HR Solutions case study of 29,000 healthcare employee opinion surveys confirmed how employee engagement affects patient satisfaction:
- 85 percent of engaged employees displayed a genuinely caring attitude toward patients, compared to only 38 percent of disengaged employees.
- 91 percent of engaged employees recognize their workplace as dedicated to patient care, compared to only 42 percent of disengaged employees.
- 82 percent of engaged employees would want to use the facility where they work as a healthcare provider, compared to only 22 percent of disengaged employees.
Before you explore the various methods available to gauge employee happiness, we suggest you consider the following as you contemplate how to earn a spot on the “Best Workplace in Aging Services” list.
Start at the roots
Examine the quality of care given in your facility.
- Are your residents all comfortable?
- What were the average per patient/day (PPD) hours over the past week?
- Have there been any accidents or complaints by residents?
As you analyze these results, you may be able to disregard some discrepancies to ideal outcomes but should look carefully for any trends, which can indicate a danger to resident health and happiness as well as underlying workforce issues.
As we know satisfied employees consistently outperform their peers, which leads to better patient/resident outcomes. Look for subtle as well as blatant opportunities that you can address before they manifest into larger problems, which jeopardize your reputation.
Inspect your tools
Look beyond people issues to what your employees use every day to manage your facility and ensure its smooth operation. These tools weigh heavily on employee satisfaction. Out-dated tools and disjointed systems can frustrate employees and lead to errors as they make the job of a scheduler, administrator, payroll manager or HR professional unnecessarily burdensome.
You may worry that transitioning from antiquated systems to cutting-edge workforce management platforms could irritate employees, who must learn new processes. Rest assured, the opposite is often true. LTC employees embrace technology to automates manual and tedious tasks. As new technology optimizes routine processes from scheduling to compliance, it also alleviates the burden on staff who no longer have to manually search for, record, and analyze information from disparate systems. New systems not only increase efficiency, they often relieve employee stress and improve job satisfaction.
Engage your employees
“Engagement” is a common term bantered around in the LTC community. Often, boosting engagement involves deploying more personalized technology and communications tools. Mobile apps are a great example.
Nothing influences engagement as much as interpersonal interaction. People engage people. Remember to personally follow up to all satisfaction surveys. Meet personally with employees, hold discussion forums, and give them an opportunity to voice their thoughts. You can do so in small and large groups but remember to personally connect with individual employees whenever possible. One-on-one engagement cannot be overestimated when considering the happiness of your employees.
Fortune’s “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” list represents an important source of recognition for the industry and reminds us how employee happiness aligns closely with the happiness and health of your residents. Regardless of whether you make the cut, ensuring that your staff feels satisfied and respected will help improve facility-wide outcomes and reduce employee turnover.
Learn more how SmartLinx workforce management solutions empower and engage employees.