Throughout the pandemic, which has been especially hard on senior care frontline staff, we’ve seen providers go to great lengths to offer support and boost morale. And this level of commitment to employees was confirmed in our 2020 Workforce 360 Survey Report, where over 2100 long-term care and senior living professionals shared their workforce challenges, priorities and the steps they’ve taken to help staff during this time.
In the survey, we asked respondents to share the perks their organization is currently offering or plans to offer. Here are the top five.
#5. Meal & Consumer Goods Discounts
Nearly one-third of respondents say they offer or plan to offer discounted meals and/or consumer goods. This can have a huge impact on employees whose household income may have been impacted by the pandemic. Nearly half of all respondents recognize that a lack of financial savings is a top personal challenge facing employees.
This particular perk has been a popular one among providers, particularly in the early days of the crisis when we saw organizations begin to offer discounted lunches and send employees home with meals for their families. Several have also worked with their local communities to create pantries with essential items to help employees avoid that trip to the store after a long shift.
#4. Tuition Assistance
Thirty-five percent of respondents are prioritizing some form of tuition assistance to help employees grow professionally. This popular perk has become a staple in long-term care and senior living as younger generations with a desire for career development have entered the workforce.
Offering some form of tuition assistance helps organizations retain employees, makes them more skilled in their jobs and can potentially groom them for future leadership roles.
#3. Flexible Schedules
Work-life balance and flexible schedules have been a must-have for the senior care workforce for some time, but the pandemic has only magnified the importance of this perk. Many employees have second jobs, are working on degrees and juggling family responsibilities. And the pandemic has only brought about new challenges in employees’ personal lives as schools and daycares closed.
Working with employees to understand their availability and offering things like shorter shift times not only boosts engagement and satisfaction, but also helps you fill gaps in your schedule. Additionally, building best-fit schedules and encouraging staff to take time off can help curb burnout, which 80% of respondents cited as the top personal challenge facing employees.
Survey data shows that 65% of providers cite COVID-19 fear and safety concerns as a top personal challenge facing employees. This has led to higher call-offs and, unfortunately, many employees quitting out of fear.
Offering extra hourly wages or bonus checks was a perk that was very common at the start of the crisis as a way to thank employees for the incredible sacrifices they’ve made. The extra pay also shows employees their hard work is valued and incentivizes them to continue to show up for each shift. Plus, it can help offset any financial challenges that may have come out of the pandemic.
#1. Rewards & Recognition
This perk is in the same vein as bonus pay but a much broader effort, encompassing regular praise and showing employees that their hard work is noticed and valued. Employee engagement software can give organizations the visibility and tools they need to stay consistent in this effort. In fact, 51% of survey respondents are prioritizing employee reward and recognition technology. One of the greatest benefits of offering these programs is that it encourages top performers to keep up the great work and incentivizes others to follow suit.
Offering perks will only become increasingly important in the future as our survey revealed that high employee turnover and finding and hiring quality candidates are the two greatest industry challenges. What’s more, most respondents indicated they believe these challenges will remain the same or worsen over the next three years.