An engaged workforce is one of the most powerful and cost effective ways to boost a company’s success.

By Pam McDonald
A member of your staff who is disengaged can wreak a lot of havoc in a community: from negatively influencing coworkers, to reducing quality of care, to upsetting residents and their families. And, the scary thing is, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, “70% of workers are not engaged or are actively disengaged.”

ALFA Panel

In a recent panel discussion at the ALFA Conference, participants from Senior Living Communities, RPM Management, and  OnShift, a Senior Housing Partner, explored engagement inside and out.  

They noted that unlike job satisfaction – engagement measures commitment to an employer’s goals and values. It also evaluates their motivation to contribute to the company’s success as well as their own well being.

When employees are engaged, the community is able to provide higher quality care and services. They maintain better relationships with residents and families, and the organization performs better financially. 

Given the potential for serious damage to a community from disengaged employees, managers should be on the lookout for signs of disengagement. And while employee satisfaction surveys are a good thing, they often capture issues too late – after the problems have festered. Some leading indicators and signs that an employee may be disengaged include the following:

Absence: Calling-off regularly or multiple times in a short period of time can signal disengagement. Track employee call-offs closely and evaluate spikes and patterns.

Shifts: How often does the employee volunteer to pick up a shift when an opening arises? While employees do have hectic lives, an unwillingness to lend a hand by picking up a shift warrants investigation.

Referrals: Does your organization offer an employee referral program, incentivizing staff to attract residents and/or potential employees? If overall participation in these programs declines, this may be a leading indicator that employee engagement is at risk.

Projects: If the employee never initiates or contributes to new projects that could facilitate the community’s ongoing success, there may be a problem. Avoiding opportunities to improve skills is also a red flag and should be addressed.

The ALFA panel discussion reinforced the need to deal with disengaged employees promptly, noting that a bad or ‘doesn’t care’ attitude can be toxic to a community.

Remember, an engaged workforce is one of the most powerful and cost effective ways to boost a company’s success. Get additional tips to engage senior living employees in this whitepaper from OnShift: 5-Step Action Plan to Improve Employee Engagement