Employee engagement is a hot topic in the senior care industry. The demand for staff is increasing exponentially as 70 million baby boomers approach retirement age. To add insult to injury, unemployment has dipped below 5% and with more employment choices, employee turnover has reached 50+% in some long-term care and senior living organizations. Leaders realize they can no longer continue to cycle through talent at the current rate.
With such high turnover and the need to retain staff, onboarding new employees may not get all the attention that is deserved. New hires can easily get lost in the shuffle. Many providers are just scrambling to fill open positions, so keeping track of who is starting and when, let alone focusing on an effort to improve the experience for new hires has become a real challenge.
But allocating resources and time to get new hires on the right track early in the process is a necessity. In fact, most turnover in senior care happens in the first 90 days. The tenure of an employee, and therefore the success of your entire workforce, hinges on their experiences in the three-month window after they are hired.
So what steps can you take to make the most of an employees’ first 90 days? Here are a few ideas:
- Send the new employee a gift prior to their even starting the job to let them know how much you are looking forward to their joining the team.
- Distribute an agenda for the first week on the job.
- Schedule times for new employees to meet key staff members.
- Assign a mentor to new hires to serve as a resource for questions and key information.
- Put dates on your calendar to meet with the new employee to assess their progress and provide feedback throughout training.
- Schedule a formal feedback session after 90 days in the new role.
- Have management and leadership conduct frequent check-ins. Make sure that the employee has a fair workload, the equipment and supplies to do their job and that they are making friends.
While focus on the first 90 days is crucial, don’t lose sight of the needs of your more seasoned employees. Measure the satisfaction of all staff on a frequent, on-going basis. Pay attention to trends and dips in the overall morale of employees so you can address problems quickly. And take time to reward employees for their efforts and build solid relationships with your team.Take these steps to engage employees early on and you’ll see your hard work pay off in happier employees, higher retention, lower costs and better quality care.