Article by: Monte Pedersen, Principal of The CDA Group
It’s a well-known fact in senior living and other comparable industries that retaining quality employees is a significant challenge. Let’s face it, constant turnover costs operator’s money, detracts from providing quality service and causes unnecessary pressure on other quality, long-term employees.
So how do we solve for this seemingly never-ending issue?
Almost in unison we shout “more money!” which can certainly help but, is ultimately, not the answer. Research has shown that money is not even in the top five criteria when analyzing job satisfaction. The real answer to creating job satisfaction, motivation and long-term employee engagement, according to Forbes magazine lies in three things:
1) Autonomy—employees who are autonomous, govern themselves and have a say in what they do and how they spend their time. There is a direct correlation between having an autonomy-supportive manager and well-being on the job, compared to having a controlling manager which tends to de-motivate employees.
2) Connecting with Others—again, evidence shows that having high quality relationships at work drives happiness, engagement, motivation and over all well-being. In short, we need to be creative in how we communicate, listen effectively to employees, facilitate employee success through guidance, recognition and support and build trust by challenging and following through on commitments.
3) Competence—we need to place employees in the proper roles, finding the “optimal” balance between boredom (the job is too easy) and anxiety (the job exceeds capabilities). When we properly place employees, we have found their “sweet spot” where each is challenged, but not overwhelmed and they are comfortable with their position and its expectations. When you don’t have to worry about “doing something wrong, you are better able to focus on your purpose”.
So, the next time we take up improving employee retention as an initiative, don’t forsake compensation and benefits but, also take a closer look at what really drives employee and job satisfaction. Create a set of core values around what makes a great employee and put those values to work for your community. You may be surprised and pleased at the outcome.