Employee engagement can provide a competitive edge for senior care providers. Engaged employees feel connected to a higher mission, understand the impact of their work, and realize how it helps them grow. As a result, they provide higher quality care.
"Engaged employees make it a point to show up to work and do more work -- highly engaged business units realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and a 17% increase in productivity," according to Gallup.
The following practices can help you better engage employees and reap the benefits a highly engaged workforce delivers.
- Create an Engagement Strategy
In the senior care industry especially, where burnout is often a job-related hazard, it's even more important to make sure your employees feel in the loop, listened to, and valued. A strong sense of teamwork can improve both employee morale and engagement. Fostering an inclusive and rewarding workplace may require a culture change. Keep in mind, "approaching engagement as a business strategy yields clear and better results," Gartner reports.
- Make Recognition a Part of your Culture
While top management sets the culture, the onus to drive engagement often falls on department heads, who must create a positive work environment and experience for individuals. They can start by recognizing employees for big and small accomplishments and encouraging team members to do the same. "Recognition helps employees thrive as 78% of employees say being recognized motivates them," according to Officevibe.
- Show Employees You Care
In some facilities, top-level managers lead by example and truly enjoy connecting with their staff. Mordechai Finkel, Director of Human Resources at Greek American Rehabilitation & Care Centre, personally meets with each of his 200-plus employees every two weeks to see how things are going. He said one of his goals is to ensure everyone has a good sense of mission.
- Leverage Technology
Granted, there's nothing like human interaction to promote engagement. But technology can really help, especially with Millennials, who comprise the fastest growing workforce and crave positive feedback. Millennials expect technology to immediately connect them with what they need and find manual processes frustrating. This is especially true for healthcare workers who continually rotate between patients, units, and even facilities.
- Embrace Two-way Communication
The key to success is making communication a two-way street. Top-down-only messages don't engage employees because they don't allow them to air their thoughts and concerns. Mobile devices let you reach employees wherever, whenever and communicate in a way that suits an on-the-go healthcare worker.
- Go Mobile
Mobile apps can be a wonderful way to foster two-way communication. Consider how mobile apps can impact scheduling. You can use them to notify qualified employees of open shifts via as texts, emails, or in-app alerts based on the worker's preference. Employees can quickly respond on the app. It's a win-win. They sign up for shifts they want, and you close open shifts quickly. You even save money by targeting employees not projected to incur overtime.
- Give Easy Access to Key Data
Mobile apps can also give employees access to information they want, like schedules, timecards, and paystubs. Since according to IDC, employees spend about 20% of their time looking for information, a good mobile app could prove empowering by helping them manage work and personal responsibilities. They can also let employees complete desired tasks, like submitting PTO requests. Keeping workers connected, especially remote staff, increases loyalty and retention. According to Gallup's State of the American Workplace Report, disengaged employees are twice as likely to look for new opportunities.
- Stop Micro-Managing Frontline Staff
While it's wise to keep your finger on the pulse of frontline staff, you don't want to micro-manage them. After all, it's your frontline staff who work day in and day out with residents. You need to trust their professional judgment when it comes to resident care. If you second-guess their decisions, they'll assume you don't trust them. However, if you give them reasonable autonomy, they'll feel respected and valued. Pairing autonomy with increased and flexible communication strikes the balance that will energize staff and improve resident care.
An effective employee experience strategy combines personal touch, constant communication, a degree of autonomy, and appropriate use of technology. Engaged employees, in turn, will provide optimal patient care.
Learn how the SmartLinx Go mobile app can engage employees and increase productivity.