Showing compassion to employees is necessary in every workplace, but it’s especially important in long-term care and senior living, a demanding, fast-paced industry that's experiencing crippling turnover rates.
According to a survey from Gallup, 56% of disengaged employees, stemming from low-compassion workplaces, are actively looking for new jobs.
It's the senior care providers that make it a priority to connect with and support staff that will see an increase in morale – leading to higher productivity, boosted employee engagement and better retention rates.
Here are four methods for building an empathetic and caring culture that benefits employees, residents and your organization alike.
Ensure Your Leaders Practice What They Preach
Compassion is built from the top down. Long-term care and senior living leaders must set an example, and that’s why building a culture of compassion starts with upper-level leadership. Compassionate leaders - whether it's the CEO, administrator or director of nursing - are those who are kind, inspire confidence and offer support when needed. They make decisions according to what's best for the organization, putting their personal best interest aside.
Executives should take a closer look at every level of leadership and fill the ranks with individuals who buy into the company’s values, feel strongly about them and are willing to do their best to uphold those values – which will permeate to employees.
There’s also something to be said about practicing humble leadership. Organizations succeed when everyone contributes – caregivers, housekeeping staff, management and others. Leaders who recognize they can’t do it alone and show appreciation for all employees build compassion.
"The single most important factor today in your success is your people — your partners, your advisors, your staff, your peers. All of these individuals will help you to become successful - giving you a higher probability of success that you’ll achieve your objectives. That means you don’t have to do it alone, but you do have to find the right people, and empower them, so you can harness the power and potential of their talent, skill and drive,” says Ron Thomas of TLNT Talent Management and HR.
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Promote Interpersonal Relationships Among Co-Workers
Employees should be encouraged to get to know one another on a personal level. And since turnover in LTC and senior living is most prevalent in the first 90 days, management and existing employees should do all that they can to make newcomers feel welcomed and supported.
Building personal connections also makes people feel more comfortable reaching out to colleagues and higher ups to ask for help or guidance.
An effective, and fun, way to build compassion is through team building activities. These can be held monthly or quarterly. The idea is to hold inclusive activities everyone can participate in, no matter his or her job title or age.
Understand Employee Needs
Maintaining employee work-life balance is another crucial element in building compassion. As is a fact of life, personal matters can, and will, pop up from time to time. Empathetic workplaces understand that employees may need to leave early, come in late or miss work altogether due to unforeseen circumstances.
If employers aren’t willing to understand that employees have lives outside of work and be flexible, they risk higher turnover rates.
Organizations that understand and adapt to employees’ needs instill a sense of comraderie. With OnShift’s online scheduling software, employees can easily identify work preferences and switch shifts if an emergency arises. Such flexibility goes a long way toward maintaining a compassionate workplace.
Reward Kindness Towards Colleagues & Residents
Age-old phrases like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ never go out of style. Consider implementing a rewards program that thanks employees for good teamwork – whether that be picking up a sick co-worker’s shift last minute, staying a few minutes late to help someone out or going above and beyond to comfort a resident.
Recognizing and rewarding kind behavior shows staff that they’re appreciated and encourages others to follow suit.
OnShift Engage offers a systematic rewards platform that ties recognition to behaviors like going above and beyond, helping others on the job and providing high quality care.
Happy Employees Equal Better Resident Care & Organizational Success
Long-term care and senior living communities that don’t work diligently to create a culture of compassion risk quite a lot. Not only are they more likely to struggle through the staffing crisis, but resident satisfaction and occupancy rates could take a turn for the worse. Those companies that focus on creating a culture of compassion will see both resident and employee satisfaction skyrocket and experience long-lasting organizational success.