If you run any organization, here are the tactical questions to ask yourself.

By Jacquelyn Kung

One thing I love about the senior care industry is how much we like to complain. From the employer point of view, we talk about wages, how hard the jobs are, and all. It’s all true or likely true. (Plus isn’t it fun complaining? I think so!)

It is enough to give us an inferiority complex. Yet, at the same time . . .

. . . we have so much to be proud of!

Early research is demonstrating that we do not have a systemic reason for being BAD as an industry of employers. In fact, the opposite is true: many of the individuals who work in this area often say how they wish they have discovered working in this industry sooner. It sounds like many of our residents and families, doesn’t it? [Insert grin here.]

Our Big Advantages

Let’s use these findings to our advantage, especially given our workforce challenges.

Here is a sneak peek at an early set of standardized findings culled from a dataset of 5,000+ employee surveys:

  1. We can be as good or better than brand name employers that everyone is talking about (i.e., IKEA, Google, and Facebook).

    One aging provider with a few hundred employees across three locations just completed Certification as a Great Place to Work. This is a for-profit company, and they are not the name-brand innovators that we usually think of. And guess what? This group rocks! They have engaged employees, even scoring higher in some areas than Google! How about them apples?

  2. Trust in management is the key to engaging employees’ hearts and minds. And along the five dimensions of trust (credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie), organizations in our senior care sector can and are scoring higher in several areas compared to other employers across industries throughout the U.S.

The Tactical Questions

If you run any organization, here are some tactical questions to ask so you can nurture more:

  • Credibility — Do my associates feel like their managers and other leaders are credible and competent at what they do?

  • Respect — Do my associates feel respected by their supervisors, and do they respect each other?

  • Fairness — Do my associates feel like decisions that affect them and their jobs are made in a fair way?

  • Pride — Are my associates proud to tell others that they work here?

  • Camaraderie — Are my associates creating a community where we care for and celebrate each other?

Our Sector

For those of us aging service providers, let’s elevate our industry and our own organizations. As President Kennedy famously said, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Here are the steps to do to get your organization on the map (and, thereby, help everyone in our industry):

  1. Measure yourself with a standard, proven methodology. This is what I work on.

  2. Get recognition for being great. The bigger and flashier, the better for tweeting.

  3. If it doesn’t happen the first year, get help to get better. This is what Steve and Denise are working on.

  4. Be sure to measure the positive impact on resident engagement and quality of care as well as business performance. It matters.

It can be done!

Let’s become the employer or industry of choice for wide swaths of jobseekers in America.

Please leave your comments (including complaints) and tips for others below.