Back in June, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News reported on a study that looked at CNA turnover. The study was done by researchers from Rice University, The University of Pittsburgh and Baylor College of Medicine. Here are just a few metrics:

  •  This study was done on a random sample of 620 CNAs working in Pennsylvania nursing homes.
  • There was an initial telephone survey and a follow-up survey 1 year later.
  • A year later, 85.2% of the CNAs continued to work at the same facility.
  • 8.4% were still working as CNAs but had changed facilities during the year.
  • 5.8% of the CNAs quit to do a different kind of work.

The most fascinating aspect of the study was that pay rate had very little if anything to do with why CNAs either changed facilities or quit the field. (Although the availability of health insurance had some impact). What the study did find was that employee attitude and job satisfaction, which are closely related, were hugely significant in CNAs choosing to make a job change or stay in their current position.

What This Means

As an administrator, executive director or department manager you may have little or no ability to impact how much your team members are paid. You may take comfort in this study’s finding that, even if you increased the pay for your team members, performance and job satisfaction would probably not improve. Even better news is that you do have close to 100% control over the things that are really important. So how do you impact attitude and team member satisfaction?

1. Get Rid of Bad Apples.

The old saying that one bad apple spoils the whole barrel is never more true than when it comes to employees with a bad attitude. Loyalty, longevity, a willingness to work for a low wage or dependability are not good enough reasons to keep someone with a bad attitude. Getting rid of a bad apple will immediately raise the morale of the rest of the staff.

2. Be Happy.

Yes, as a manager you must have a great attitude if you expect your team members to have a good attitude. If you are not feeling it on any given day . . . . .fake it! If you are not feeling it day-to-day or week-to-week, perhaps you need to fire yourself and find a job where you can be happy.

3. Love Your Residents.

You may say you love your residents, you may even love your residents, but unless you are out around your community demonstrating love for them, your residents won’t know you love them and your staff will not know you love your residents. Your team members will follow your lead.

4. Love Your Staff.

Take time to find out what is going on in the lives of your staff. When a staff member shows up late or is frequently absent, there are three ways to handle it. The first is to ignore it. The second is to write them up. The third is to have a conversation with that employee to figure out why they are late and to do what you can to help them eliminate the problem. Without addressing the financial cost of turnover, or the toll it takes on the quality of care for your residents, life is just too short to be miserable at work. This is true for you and it is true for the team you support.

I would love it if you would share the things you do to improve staff morale in the comment section below this article. You can read the full Mcknights article here If you are willing . . . . I am doing a little survey on how people use LinkedIn. I would appreciate it if you would participate. It has just 6 questions and is completely anonymous. Take the survey here. This survey link will be good until October 10, 2011

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