Employee retention is an issue that concerns us all! We hear it from all of our customers, whether you work in senior living, healthcare, banking, entertainment, hospitality or some other field. It seems we all have challenges finding and keeping good team members and, as generations change, figuring out what those team members actually want.
That’s why, as I attended the LeadingAge Annual Convention in Philadelphia last week I focused on attending sessions that addressed the common issue of employee retention. My own session (delivered with Reed VanderSlik of Glacier Hills and with input from Alan Brown of Methodist Senior Services) was focused on Internal Customer Service and we had a packed and engaged house! For more information from that session, you may want to attend the repeat I’m doing via a complimentary webinar on November 27, 2018.
In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the wisdom I received from other sessions I attended. While this convention was focused on senior living and elder care, the truths and best practices that were shared apply to everyone in any field wanting to find and keep exceptional team members! So no matter who you are, read on!
Here are 3 ideas to help you with employee retention:
- Make Me Feel Valued and Appreciated – Christopher Ridenhour., excellent speaker and Director of Workplace Culture for SpiriTrust Lutheran, started his program on “Race, Class and Culture” by asking the audience “How many of you like to feel valued and appreciated?” With a a laugh, each of us raised our hands. As he talked about diversity, his core message was around the truth that we ALL like to feel valued and appreciated! “Preach,” I thought!! As you know, this is the mission of Team Red Carpet. We want everyone to feel their significance, to feel important and special! Honestly, this was a core message throughout the conference. Why? Because it’s true. It really is that simple. How are you making that person (be it customer, team member or colleague) in front of you right now and letting them know they matter! As Christopher said, “it only takes a moment.” It takes a kind word, a caring question or simply being 100% present! Stephen Tweed, Certified Speaking Professional, author of Conquering the Crisis: Proven Strategies for Caregiver Recruitment and Retention, and my friend, agrees. In fact, he’s done the research! While his research found that money mattered more in the recruitment process, it was way down the list of important factors when it came to keeping good caregivers. The top 3 factors, he found, were the feeling that “I’m doing important work,” feeling valued by clients, and feeling valued by their direct supervisor. Boom!! All people want to know is that they matter and they make a difference. It’s that simple. Take it from Christopher, Stephen, me…and Oprah!
- Communicate with Me – Mary Moscato of Hebrew Rehabilitation Center shared a familiar story in the panel she participated in called Seniors Quality Leap Initiative: Using Data to Drive Improvement. She talked about the leadership team feeling as though they had communicated some important information to the line staff because it was right there in the manual. The problem they found (funnily enough, when they asked and listened to the line staff) was that the manual in question would move around so not everyone saw it. According to this linked article, Debra Hamilton asserted, in “Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money,” that miscommunication cost even smaller companies of 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year. WOW!!! The lesson learned? Find new and a variety of ways to communicate with your team members and remember that listening is one big part of effective communication! When communication is poor you can be sure it has a negative impact on employee retention.
- Involve and Invest in Me – In the same session, which centered around working with line staff to improve quality in senior living, Robyn Stone from LeadingAge said “If you really want to improve morale, it’s not pizza! It’s involving people in the process.” Yes, yes, yes!! This is exactly what we have seen to be true with our customers. Involve your team in the process and they’ll be more fully engaged and excited about your mission or project! We’ll talk more about this during our complimentary webinar, so be sure to register. I also attended a very exciting panel made up of people from Clarke-Lindsey who shared some innovative ways they are engaging and retaining their team members. For instance, to help with caregiver recruitment they are helping to educate people to become caregivers! They pay excellent candidates for 40 hours. The team member works 20 hours and spends the other 20 hours getting schooled to become a caregiver, doing homework, etc. For now, they have partnered with someone to do this but they are working on their own C.N.A. program! I love it! Can’t find skilled and experienced employees? Find people with the right attitude and then educate them! Investing in a team member’s personal and professional development is also a great way to earn their loyalty and improve employee retention.
On a side note, Clarke-Lyndsey is also utilizing some innovative strategies such as having shared staff positions, partnering with other organizations who have part-time jobs and creating one full-time job for the employee between the two companies! Brilliant!
What about you? What are you doing in your workplace, and in your industry, to improve employee retention? We’d love to hear your successes so please share them below in the comments.
Donna Cutting, CSP is the Founder and CEO of Red-Carpet Learning Systems, a consulting firm through which she and her team help leaders in a variety of field engage their team members to deliver exceptional customer experiences. She is the author of two books on the topic, including the most recent 501 Ways to Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Customers. Register for her complimentary webinar on Internal Customer Service: Roll Out the Red Carpet for Your Staff here.