Long-term care facilities operate in the under-appreciated industry of aging services. Discussions on aging services are far and few between outside of the facilities that make up the industry, save for those found at expos, conventions, and the offices of SmartLinx. Yet, the men and women who work in these facilities — the nurses, aides, therapists, dietitians, schedulers, administrators, and more — have one of the most important tasks we can ask of them: to care for our loved ones and, one day, even ourselves. Now, the facilities that show the best care toward not only their residents, but also their employees, have a chance to be recognized in Fortune magazine’s upcoming “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” list.
The list, which ranks workplaces by company culture and employee experiences, is scheduled for September 2018 publication. With the certification process already up and running, employers eager to make the list must consider one thing now more than ever: “Are my employees happy?”
Caring for the elderly can be burdensome, and employee satisfaction is often overlooked or left behind. But caring for your employees is just as important as caring for your residents — because an unhappy staff all too quickly leads to unhappy residents.
An HR Solutions case study using nearly 29,000 healthcare employee opinion surveys confirmed that employee engagement has a direct link to patient satisfaction:
- 85 percent of engaged employees displayed a genuinely caring attitude toward patients, compared to only 38 percent of disengaged employees.
- 91 percent of engaged employees recognize their workplace as dedicated to patient care, compared to only 42 percent of disengaged employees.
- 82 percent of engaged employees would want to use the facility where they work as a healthcare provider, compared to only 22 percent of disengaged employees.
With many ways to determine if your employees are happy, here’s what you should consider before pursuing the coveted title of “best workplace in aging services.”
Start at the roots
Look at your facility’s quality of care. Are your residents all comfortable? What were the average per patient/day (PPD) hours over the past week? Have there been any accidents or complaints by residents? While some discrepancies may be incidental, recurring trends can indicate a danger to resident health and happiness, and possibly issues present in your workforce. Satisfied employees will perform the best, leading to better patient/ resident outcomes. Besides, who wouldn’t want a workforce performing at its peak?
Inspect your tools
Beyond the nurses and residents, the tools your staffers use every day to manage your facility factor heavily into both its operation, and their satisfaction. Defunct tools and disjointed systems can make the job of a scheduler, administrator, payroll manager or HR professional unnecessarily difficult. Many employers worry about investing in new tools and technology, fearing troubles with the transition from antiquated systems to cutting-edge workforce management platforms; however, this new technology can optimize many of your facility processes, from scheduling to compliance, while making the jobs of your staff much easier. Problematic systems can hold a facility back from its full potential and irritate staff, but new technology can increase efficiency while vastly improving employee satisfaction by relieving stress.
Engage your employees
“Engagement” is a term that is constantly thrown around in the long-term care community. Often, “engagement” refers to utilization of more personal technology and communications tools, such as mobile apps. Here, “engagement” is meant in a more human sense. Of course, there are many tools — such as surveys and analytics — that can be very useful in measuring and improving employee satisfaction; but, when it gets down to it, the best form of engagement comes in person. If, for example, you send out a satisfaction survey, follow up with your employees by discussing how you can improve face-to-face communication. One-on-one engagement cannot be overlooked when considering the happiness of your employees.
The recognition of aging services in Fortune’s “Best Workplaces in Aging Services” list is an important step for the industry, but it is also a reminder that employee happiness comes hand in hand with the happiness and health of your residents. Regardless of whether you make the cut, ensuring that your staff feels satisfied and respected will help improve facility-wide outcomes.
Learn more about SmartLinx workforce management solutions that help keep empower and engage employees.
About the Author
Blake Deakin is responsible for the solutions delivery, customer education and training, and customer support organizations at SmartLinx. From solution implementation through to ongoing customer support, Blake ensures that SmartLinx clients deploy SmartLinx technology faster, utilize deeper, and operate workforce management better. He has over 10 years of experience in a variety of professional services roles.