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5 Tips for Managing Hourly Employees in Senior Living & Long-Term Care

April 4, 2017 | Mike Pumphrey

managin hourly employeesSome businesses believe that by paying their hourly employees competitive wages, they’ve done enough. However, there’s a lot more that goes into the oversight of hourly employees than paying them competitively, especially if companies want to retain their employees. The same holds true in the senior care industry. 

To recruit and retain the best hourly workers possible, senior care providers may need to reassess their management strategies. 

Here are 5 best practices for managing hourly employees. 

  1. Maintain predictable yet flexible schedules. 

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of managing hourly employees is scheduling. Unpredictable hours tend to be a pain point for workers, so taking the steps necessary to create consistent, reliable schedules can help senior care providers avoid incessant call-offs and keep their employees satisfied. 

Some tactics include:

  • Taking an individualized approach to scheduling to best accommodate employees
  • Releasing schedules well in advance to avoid conflicts
  • Ensuring shifts have the right skill mix and number of staff needed to provide high quality care & service
  • Remaining flexible to allow employees control over their time 

CS009_Case_Study_Download.pngLearn how Royal Management deployed OnShift’s staff scheduling and labor management software to manage and share a pool of hourly workers for the flexibility and coverage needed to ensure high quality care for their residents at each of their communities.


  1. Use performance reviews to motivate and inspire. 

Work with each employee to set concrete and measurable goals on a yearly or quarterly basis and then review their achievements together. These goals can come in the form of professional development or can even be related to productivity. Employees will appreciate your interest in and commitment to their career paths. 

When creating goals for an employee, be sure to:

  • Work with them and give them a chance to communicate their personal and professional goals
  • Build a roadmap that clearly outlines how to reach each of their goals
  • Create a concrete end date for each goal and schedule a performance review
  • Check in on their progress regularly to make sure they’re on track and amend goals if needed
  1. Stay connected with hourly employees. 

communicate with employeesOften in the senior care space, workers aren’t necessarily all under one roof, nor are they always on the same
schedule with their manager, so finding ways to keep everyone in the loop is challenging. To engage part-time and hourly workers, providers should implement standard communication processes to ensure all staff are communicated with equally. This will keep hourly staff members connected to their teams, managers and the organization. 

Communication could come in many forms:

  • Internal newsletters
  • Emails or text messages
  • Company-oriented mobile apps or technology services 

It’s important to use the communicate method each staff member prefers – text, phone call, email or through a mobile app. This helps ensure that messages are viewed and allows for employees to quickly respond when needed.

  1. Promote feedback among hourly employees. 

Listening to and acting on the concerns of hourly employees is crucial to combat turnover, and also to bolster an engaged staff. Regular check-ins with your staff to see how things are going and if they need anything will show them that you care about their job satisfaction and overall well-being. 

Feedback can be gathered via:

In order to make improvements providers have to understand the challenges that their employees face - today. Waiting for an annual survey might be too late when addressing important employee issues. 

  1. Reward and recognize hourly employees for hard work and jobs well done. 

Paying hourly employees competitively is a major factor in retaining them, of course, but they also deserve to be recognized and rewarded for the hard work they put in to make senior care providers’ businesses run smoothly each and every day. 

This might be accomplished through:

  • Gift cards for excellent attendance records
  • Employee-of-the-month awards
  • Offering continuing education opportunities 

Managing hourly employees in the senior care industry is complicated by many external factors. However, by implementing best practices across your organization, you can prevent employee pain points before they arise and ultimately see an increase in employee engagement.

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About Mike Pumphrey

Mike Pumphrey is Vice President of Product Marketing at OnShift. His expertise in staffing and labor management strategies in long-term care and senior living is foundational to his role leading OnShift’s Product Marketing team. Mike works hand-in-hand with state and national associations, senior care providers, and with OnShift’s Customer Success and Product teams to create impactful best practices aimed to help solve the daily workforce challenges in senior care. Mike shares insights, research and recommendations to improve clinical, operational, and financial outcomes through regular blog posts and conference speaking engagements.

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