A recent OnShift workforce survey found that employee turnover is the top concern for providers, closely followed by finding qualified candidates to fill open roles. The majority of respondents also indicated they believe these challenges will not improve or worsen over the next three years. However, these providers aren’t just sitting idly by and recognize that they must improve the employee experience to make strides on both of these fronts.
And that starts with understanding the challenges and needs of today’s workforce and putting programs into place to meet them. Here are a few ways that providers are redefining the employee experience to attract, engage and retain senior care staff.
Rewards & Recognition Programs
One of the easiest ways to boost employee engagement and job satisfaction is by making employees feel valued for their contributions. And providers realize this. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents say they offer or plan to offer a rewards and recognition program.
Providers we work with have found success in tying rewards to behaviors like clocking in and out on time, not calling off and going above and beyond to help a coworker or resident. These are key metrics that actively contribute to organizational performance and a better culture.
A rewards and recognition platform like OnShift Engage provides a systematic way for managers and supervisors to consistently reward and recognize their employees. It also gives staff members visibility into their own performance metrics and rewards progress, motivating them to keep up the good work.
Financial Wellness Offerings
Fifty-nine perfect of survey respondents say a lack of financial savings is a top personal challenge facing employees. And it makes sense. The average senior care worker is struggling to make ends meet. Research shows that nursing assistants haven’t seen their wages increase in a decade. As a result, 15% live below the federal poverty line and 37% rely on some form of public assistance, including food and nutrition programs and Medicaid.
Of course, wage pressures aren’t making things easy for providers, but many have found workarounds for helping their employees get some relief. Many survey respondents said their organization offers or plans to offer employee tuition assistance to help advance careers as well as meal and/or consumer discounts.
Additionally, providing access to earned wages between paychecks is a top priority for providers to ease the financial burdens many of their employees face. And communities that offer OnShift Wallet are seeing these funds being used responsibly, on items like groceries, rent and bills. Plus, timely access to earned wages is helping organizations compete against “gig” jobs like Uber, and even agency companies, that offer same day pay.
Providers say the top challenge facing the senior care workforce today is a lack of work-life balance. Respondents of our survey reported that many of their employees are working multiple jobs, lack reliable childcare and have additional family responsibilities.
It’s safe to say that your employees have a lot on their plate. And you’re probably feeling the effects. Providers indicated that they see frequent call-offs and absenteeism, lower motivation and satisfaction, an inability to work when needed and strained employee-manager relationships as a result of their staff’s personal struggles.
To help them find balance, providers are implementing flexible, best-fit schedules and technology that fits employees' on-the-go lifestyles. For example, the OnShift mobile app provides an all-in-one dashboard, where employees can see their schedule, pick up shifts and request PTO. They can also request access to earned wages in OnShift Wallet and see their rewards balance in OnShift Engage.
And providers see an uptick in employee performance as a result. In fact, they’ve seen up to a 36% increase in shift pick-ups.
Streamlined Hiring Processes
The employee experience starts the moment an employee applies. That's why providers are putting the candidate at the center of the recruiting and hiring process - making it simpler, more transparent and built for their targeted applicant pool.
“92% of our employees are hourly workers, so why are we still using tools that are geared towards the other 8%? That's what we had to ask ourselves,” explains Matt Bromen, HR Director at Era Living. “There hasn't been a focus on the hourly worker until recently and now we're all trying to use the tools and processes designed for a completely different candidate experience.”
Technology can also help in this area. Talent acquisition systems like OnShift Employ provide candidates with a portal to view where they are in the hiring process and send automated reminders to engage them when action is needed. This provides complete transparency for the candidate and accelerates time to hire, helping providers secure the top talent they need.
What Else Do Your Employees Want? Ask Them!
These are just a few of the ways providers are improving the employee experience. However, every community is different. Providers should get their employees’ input on perks and programs and gain an understanding of their unique challenges, desires and goals.
I recently heard a story about a provider that was offering 401(k) accounts as a perk for their hourly workers. Unfortunately, the program gained little traction and few people enrolled. When they asked their employees why they weren’t taking advantage of it, they found out the couple dollars that would go into their account each week were more precious in the present. Saving for retirement was not even on their radar at this point.
When providers get to know employees on a personal level, they can build better engagement and retention programs, and create a workplace culture that’s supportive, rewarding and meets the needs of the hourly worker.