Are your employees connected to the goals and vision for your company?
By Susan Saldibar
Reality check. There are strategic reasons to treat your employees like royalty. Or, put another way, to give them the same loving care you would provide to your best customer: your highly valued resident.
You may not feel you need a strategic reason. Most senior care providers honestly appreciate the contributions made by their caregiving staff and do their best to make sure they are meeting their needs and paying a fair rate. But there are those who are quick to proclaim things like, “Our employees make the difference,” and, for many of their employees, the words ring hollow.
Companies like iTacit, a Senior Housing Forum partner, have made it their business to support senior living communities by helping provide an infrastructure that supports the hiring, training and connection of employees. As stated right on their home page: “When your people are prepared, you prosper.”
So, other than it being the right thing to do, what else is there to gain when “Your people ARE your business?” We spoke with Judy Finn, Marketing Director for iTacit, who shared some of the more strategic benefits of treating employees like first-rate clients:
They will own their work day: If they are treated as a valuable team member they will take better ownership of issues, seeking a resolution instead of a way out.
They will be more attentive to residents: While this is a more obvious benefit it cannot be over estimated. When employees feel respected and well cared for, they will be more inclined to “pay it forward” in the form of more compassion, respect and caring for residents.
They will share insight and help promulgate new thinking and ideas: Employees whose input is respected and taken seriously will help pave the way forward by sharing insight into how the community can improve and grow. They will be energized to seek out ways to make their environment even better.
They will stick up for you and stick it out: Those care providers who are treating their employees as true partners in care will be paid back in difficult times. And what community has not experienced them? Employees who feel valued and cared for will prefer being part of the solution, rather than fanning the flames of opposition. They will be more likely to stay and weather any storms instead of jumping ship.
They will become tomorrow’s management team: What better way to retain the culture of caring and respect you’ve worked so hard to build than hanging on to those who helped you build it? And, it goes without saying that new talent will be impressed with the career path and be more likely to come on board.
What are the keys to improving employee engagement and satisfaction?
Communicate: You may think you are communicating effectively, but how often and in what ways? In addition to that pat on the back, employees need to be kept up to date on changes to routine. And they need to be kept in the loop at all times. Today there is technology — and iTacit provides it — designed to help pull the team together so you can issue instructions, alerts and call out words of encouragement and praise; all in real time.
Do things “their way”: Whether it comes in the form of offering online training that fits their schedules, or allowing them to use their smartphones to communicate, shaping your needs and requirements to be in sync with their world is a tangible demonstration of your commitment to them.
Reward and celebrate even the smallest achievement: Many call this “catch someone doing something right.” But it doesn’t need a name. It starts from the top down. By training your senior team to recognize positive acts on the part of the staff, you begin to shape behavior away from complacency towards a desire to continue to grow and positively impact the environment.
Take a look around at the people on the frontline of your community. Every day they are tasked to help make a difference in the lives of your residents. Ask yourself, are they truly connected to my goals and vision for our company? Is performance consistent from employee to employee? Being confident that those are “yes” answers could make a strategic difference.
For more information on how iTacit can help you Build Your Best Workforce, please visit the iTacit website at www.itacit.com.