Engaging healthcare employees and reducing employee turnover is more important and challenging in skilled nursing than ever before, as providers strive to deliver quality care 3 shifts a day, 365 days a year amid a growing nursing shortage and escalating employee turnover rates.
Although employee turnover in skilled nursing currently receives a lot of attention, it's not a new phenomenon but rather a reoccurring problem that started decades ago.
Likewise, many employee engagement dynamics are not unique to senior care. In fact, 51% of American workers are disengaged, according to Gallup. They feel disconnected from their employers and are more likely to look for employment elsewhere.
The current nursing shortage and high employee turnover combined with an aging population make employee retention and engagement more critical now than ever. In skilled nursing, disengagement does more than contribute to turnover, it also jeopardizes the quality of care provided. Several factors intensify disengagement in long-term care and assisted living, such as limited wages and turnover. Workers struggle to handle the additional workload when colleagues leave and are continually tempted to pursue higher paying roles in other fields.
Fortunately, effective engagement practices can inspire employees to do their best work and find meaning in it, which can overcome these factors to strengthen retention. Strong engagement programs also boost recruitment efforts. Prospective employees are attracted to a well-trained, engaged staff who care about their work and the people they support.
None of this just happens. But all of it is within reach. Providers should aggressively pursue solutions to problems they can address. They can leverage technology to contain rising labor costs, especially overtime, and implement a disciplined, ongoing employee engagement strategy. As Gartner notes, “approaching engagement as a business strategy yields clear and better results.”
Download the Understanding Staffing Shortages: How employee engagement can combat turnover eBook for insights into long-term care's staffing shortfalls and how to develop strategies to combat the underlying causes and reduce employee turnover. You'll discover: