Increased communication between leadership and employees has been a reigning theme for senior living providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, the ability to quickly share important information has been critical in helping managers effectively communicate with staff. From updates on new safety protocols and policy changes to notes of encouragement and gratitude, real-time messaging has helped to keep everyone aligned while also managing fear and anxiety among staff. Maintaining this feedback loop will continue to be essential as we move into the next phase of the pandemic.
An effective feedback loop facilitates open and honest communication between management and staff. It allows managers to better understand their staff members – their likes and dislikes, struggles, opportunities for improvement, and much more. In addition, it also gives staff a voice to effect change. Capturing feedback, and acting upon it, is one of the most powerful tools for boosting employee engagement and retention, especially during this critical time.
Uncovering Struggles & Providing Support
OnShift’s employee engagement software, which offers a bevy of ways to easily survey staff on their mobile phones, has been instrumental in keeping feedback loops operating like a well-oiled machine throughout the crisis. Our customers can quickly and frequently capture the perspectives of their frontline team members. As challenges are uncovered, managers have made it a priority to work directly with employees to build programs and ease concerns.
By capturing employee feedback, providers are also gaining insight into the personal struggles impacting employees—things like food insecurity, loss of income or a lack of access to childcare. They’re then quick to act as issues are uncovered – reaching out to those impacted and creating new Employee Assistant Programs (EAPs) around promoting financial and mental wellness.
The long-term emotional and psychological effects of the pandemic have yet to be seen and understood. However, the providers we work with have remained committed to regularly checking in on employees, encouraging them to ask for help when they need it.
Many have used feedback to influence more direct support initiatives such as setting up community pantries, organizing in-house daycares and offering transportation assistance. Perks vary across the board, but each one is part of that organization’s personal commitment to supporting staff and promoting a stronger work-life balance.
Boosting Morale & Giving Staff A Voice
Building camaraderie and growing manager-employee relationships has never been as important as it is today. Our clients have used OnShift’s custom surveys and messaging features to encourage staff to nominate their coworkers for awards, learn what their managers can do to make them feel more supported and collect their ideas for boosting morale.
One of the greatest benefits of the feedback loop is the collaborative environment it facilitates. Throughout the crisis, frontline staff have been instrumental in creating programs and activities to help residents thrive in isolation and keep their colleagues in good spirits. Employees really are full of great ideas; all you have to do is give them an open forum for sharing them.
Finally, facilitating productive feedback needs to be a consistent effort. The challenges your organization experiences and those your employees face may be different tomorrow. The more you ask, the more you’ll learn and the more change your employees can influence. As a result, you’ll see higher engagement and at the same time, establish yourself as an employer who truly respects and values their team members. There’s no greater retention tool than that.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Argentum Senior Living Executive.