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The Top 8 Ways To Retain LTC & Senior Living Caregivers In 2019

January 11, 2019 | Peter Corless

How to retain caregivers in 2019Last year we learned that 65% of caregivers are “always looking for a better job,”  97% are open to a new opportunity and receive an average of 3 recruitment calls per week. It's no wonder then that over the course of 2018 providers were more focused than ever to come up with new ways to engage and ultimately retain employees, specifically direct-care staff. 

But, it’s a new year. And with a new year comes a chance to refine our practices and try new things. Based on my conversations with industry folks, these are the strategies that providers should consider implementing to retain LTC and senior living caregivers in 2019.

Build Schedules They Love

Thirty-seven percent of Americans have a second job, according to a June 2018 survey by the financial website Bankrate. Flexibility in when they work allows hourly employees to get the hours they need and make time for their side gigs.

Flexible scheduling is not just a one and done practice. Be sure to regularly touch base with employees to review their scheduling preferences, as situations may change over time.

Communicate Career Paths

Offering and outlining clear career paths for your employees is crucial. While there are many career caregivers, a good portion of today’s workforce want to move up the corporate ladder. And, providers reap their own set of benefits by doing so. Career development and cross-training boosts retention, but also diversifies employees’ skill sets, making them more valuable to your organization.

Many providers are allowing employees to explore different, non-certified, roles within the community to give them a sense of other workers’ responsibilities, and maybe even pique their interest to pursue cross-training. Another excellent practice is holding ‘lunch and learns’ or other informational sessions to promote lifelong learning.

Incentivize & Reward Top Performers

There are many ways to incentivize hourly employees, but one of the most effective is to use a systematic points system that’s linked to good behaviors. Not calling off, picking up an open shift, punching in and out on time and achieving tenure milestones are just a few of the behaviors that warrant a pat on the back in senior care. OnShift Engage tracks these and other key metrics and notifies supervisors when an employee has earned a reward.

Along these lines, perks, beyond traditional benefits, have become more popular in the workplace and can serve as a differentiator for organizations. Need some ideas? Think free lunches, gym and transportation stipends and access to an accountant during tax season.

Walter Jossart, Chief Financial Officer at Aegis Living in Redmond, Washington, said during a panel discussion at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC) conference this past fall that his group offers an annual lottery where hourly workers receive tickets, depending on how long they have been employed. The more tickets, the better the odds of winning the jackpot.

Anything extra you can provide to improve your employees’ quality of life builds loyalty and is an excellent retention tool.

Promote A Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy employees are usually happier employees. Consider offering wellness perks like flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to cover medical expenses, gym stipends, access to the community dietitian and more.

Don’t forget that a healthy lifestyle is more than just exercising and eating right. Providers should promote well-being by curbing workplace stress, offering better work-life balance and promoting financial wellness with apps like OnShift Wallet

Pluck From Your PRN Pool

Many providers are taking a closer look at their PRNs (also known as 'casual employees'). Is there an opportunity to move some of them to part- or full-time status? Talk with your PRNs to see if they’d like to come on board and enjoy more job stability and benefits. Hiring PRNs helps you retain a known worker who may have had no previous commitment to your company and helps to fill gaps in the staff schedule. 

Flex Your Charitable Muscles

Along those lines, the Mayo Clinic reports that volunteering has health benefits like a decreased risk of depression and reduced stress.

When you consider that most people who go into caregiving do so because they like to help people, offering volunteer opportunities becomes a no-brainer. Either let your employees pick their own project or round up the team for a group outing.

Carve Out Some Time For Fun 

Caring for the elderly, although uniquely rewarding, can be extremely tough. Inserting some time for team-building exercises and other social events brings team members and management closer together and lightens the mood when things get stressful. 

Go to a museum, take a hike or attend a sporting event. Even something as simple as a cookout at your building can have a positive effect.

Connect Residents & Caregivers

Continually emphasizing your company’s commitment to caring for residents serves as a constant reminder of your employees’ purpose and promotes quality care. Set up social events and other activities that encourage interaction between residents and caregivers and recognize and reward those that go above and beyond in providing top-notch resident care.

Our guide can help you kick-start your retention initiatives in 2019! Regardless of your budget, you'll find several ideas your employees will love.

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About Peter Corless

Peter Corless is Executive Vice President of Enterprise Development for OnShift. Peter is a recognized HR leader in post-acute care and is well-known for his achievements at some of the country’s largest post-acute care organizations, including Kindred Healthcare and Genesis HealthCare. As an experienced, chief administrative and human resources officer within these organizations, he developed strategies that reduced turnover, improved recruiting and hiring strategies, and reduced labor costs.

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