It’s no secret, our field struggles with retention. Even if you are “average,” our average of 40% turnover stinks!

By Denise Boudreau-Scott

It’s no secret, our field struggles with retention. Even if you are “average,” our average of 40% turnover stinks! Then we struggle even more with finding people to replace those that we lost.  

I don’t need to tell any of you the days of having stacks of applications

for nursing assistants and nurses are long over.    

With an even greater staff crisis looming overhead, we need to figure out how to, not only stop the bleeding but attract new people.  

New People

New people means exactly that: Folks who don’t currently work in our field. We can’t continue to steal from the place across the street or the organization in the next town over. We need to cast the net further.

If not, a shortage of quality staff in our field is going to impact all of our organizations by:

  • Increasing overtime and agency costs to cover open positions

  • Wasting manager’s time on interviewing, hiring, and training

  • Decreasing customer satisfaction due to inconsistent staffing

  • Burning out employees working OT or working short

  • Keeping rooms/apartments unfilled due to lack of staff

  • Stressing leader due to all the above!

The Big Question:  HOW?

How can you cast your net further? One of the best ways is to look at the common threads between high performing team members.  

We recently explored this with two organizations. Each had healthy, but very different cultures. The high performing team members in each organization were able to describe the uniqueness of their cultures to a “T”!  

One organization was lauded by its employees for being very innovative and encouraging forward thinking and risk-taking. The other was praised by its highest performers for being focused on the residents’ and staffs’ spiritual needs.

We are now helping both of them to use this information as a recruitment tool. For example, for the faith-based organization, we thought about where people of faith gathered. Places of worship of course! We recommended visiting these local places and sharing a Blessing of the Hands for all caregivers, both paid and unpaid. Very often unpaid caregivers are drawn to the caregiving field after supporting a loved one.

Honoring caregivers in this way also allows fellow attendees of the house of worship to hear about the purpose-driven, rewarding work that is being done in the organization. Possibly bringing people, that want more than a job but purpose-driven work, from other fields to ours!

Do You Have a Chapel?

In addition to visiting local churches and other places of worship, we encouraged this organization to host a “Blessing of the Hands” or other events to honor caregivers and/or potential caregivers onsite so people can feel the culture for themselves! The above suggestions are perfect for that one particular organization because that was their “secret sauce”.

What’s yours?