I don’t know how your hiring process works, but I was recently talking to a friend who runs a smallish regional assisted living company and he was telling me a horror story that involved a public physical fight between a couple of his employees. We got to talking about his hiring process and it goes something like this:
- A caregiver, housekeeper or kitchen worker quits (or is fired).
- In the short-term, staff gets juggled and overtime is paid to cover that person’s shifts.
- There is a desperate and immediate need to hire someone.
- They either publish an ad in the local newspaper or on Craigslist and dig through the most recently received unsolicited applications sitting in a file drawer or they ask current employees if they know someone who wants a job.
- Because they are anxious to hire someone, the first warm body who is available, becomes the one they hire.
- Maybe 50% or 60% of the time it works ok and the rest of the time it doesn’t and the cycle begins again.
Probably you have a more formal system in your senior community, but statistics would suggest that most assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities end up with about the same results my friend. According to NCAL, turnover rates for assisted living communities range from 40% to 50% depending on which year you are looking at. The results for skilled nursing are about the same or maybe a bit worse.
What is more fascinating and more helpful is an understanding that retention rates range from as low as 40% to as high as 75%. This means there are things you can do make it better:
- First you have to create a good place to work. While having a great building is nice, that’s not what really makes the difference. It mostly has to doing with creating a happy work place. This means you need to be a pleasant boss and have pleasant employees. There also needs to be a real sense of community and commitment to the residents.
- You have to pay a decent wage and provide adequate benefits. It is true that studies are universal in demonstrating that pay is not the biggest motivator yet, if you provide substandard pay you will only get and keep substandard employees.
- You need to create a hiring system that helps you early-on, identify applicants that have the highest likelihood of being compatible with your organization and on the flip side, realistically identify candidates who exhibit traits that might indicate they are not a good fit.
- You need to have a structured interview process that will help you make the right decisions.
Last week I interviewed two HealthcareSource team members about how their assessment tools can help hiring managers do a better job of selecting the right team members. Tomorrow, I will publish their thoughts on how to do this better. Part Two Titled: Changing the game: Hiring for the long term is now available.
Are you a part of one of those low turnover organizations? How do you accomplish this?
This is excellent advice when making a hiring decision. One other consideration in the hiring process would be the use of background checks on potential job applicants.
Bill that is a great point.
From LinkedIn Groups
Interesting tidbit, the national average for length of stay in a position is 2.2 years. Gone are the days of staying at a job 30 years and retiring with a great pension. While this is not healthcare specific I would venture to guess the facility level retention is much less than 2.2 years and the management/regional level positions are 2.2 or higher.
By Catherine Flournoy
From LinkedIn Groups
What is the rationale behind jumping ship with less than three yrs into the position? Is that the only way to significantly increase one’s salary in the LTC Industry?
By William Mark Wright
From LinkedIn Groups
Steve: This is an excellent topic of discussion. When I talk to family caregivers of seniors & those with dementia, this is one of their biggest frustrations in dealing with a residential care center. These families have come to understand how much staff turnover affects the care their loved one receives. Therefore, when many families look for a residence they no longer just see the surroundings, but are beginning to ask questions about staff turnover, as well as staff ratios & training. I hope that organizations that address these concerns by hiring smart & treating their employees well, including preparing & supporting them to best achieve success in their job, will have the most success in the marketplace.
By Valerie Richards, MBA
Computer generated employee acquisition is cold and impersonal. It may work in a bank, but in this business we are dealing with direct personal care of humans. Face to face interaction and interviews (in my opinion) that last more than five minutes are necessary to get a feel for the candidate. Truthfully I have no idea what assisted living organizations are looking for. I worked at a long term care and assisted living facility for over 13 years and was laid off two years ago. I have spent my “free time” acquiring the necessary Assisted Living Administrators certification, keeping up with the evolution of the institutions and still cannot find work. When you let automation make decisions for you, you get what you deserve.
I am really sorry you are having such a difficult time finding a new position. If a company only used a statistical screening it would indeed be could and impersonal and would no doubt disqualify some great people. On the other hand, the old way of interviewing has lead to huge turnover rates which would suggest that more traditional “seat of the pants” interviewing is not so effective either.
What at least the HealthcareSource team recommends is using this tool as one part of the process in that it can help the person doing the interviewing to identify strengths and weaknesses in individual candidates, that might warrant further discussion.
From LinkedIn Groups
In the Baby Boomer days, especially in Right to Work states [the South], employees were viewed as easily replaced. I think things will change with our children’s generation: the Gen Xers; They won’t put up with that attitude and will quickly opt for self-employment, or other form of independence.
By F. Todd Winninger
I totally agree. Actually I am a GenXer and honestly just last night I was pondering over the reality that often generational differences are not considered with caregivers. What I mean is that we tend to lump caregivers into one group rather than really seeing that they are also from many different generations. In order to make caregivers feel valued I believe it is important that we start looking at what will make them each feel like they are a valued part of the team.
I think GenXers don’t look at a job as lifelong security but as one of the jobs in our lives. Pay is only one component for GenX & GenYers. They want feedback on how they are doing on an ongoing basis and they want to feel part of something bigger. Otherwise they tend to want to move on. This can be a great asset if we realize that these generations want to be part of the success of something and engage them in that success.
Thanks for the insights,