High employee turnover has become commonplace in the long-term care industry. It’s not that caregivers don’t like the work they’re doing; on the contrary, most find it very fulfilling. However, they also feel undervalued and overworked. Here are four tips long-term health care management can follow to help reduce employee turnover.
Offer competitive wages
The work itself can be very rewarding, but if employees can’t pay their bills, they will probably try to find a job that can. The median salary for certified nursing assistants in the long-term care industry is about $27,500, with the highest end of the pay scale reaching just above $35,000. While this is not poverty, it is considered a low-paying job.
Health care is extremely demanding, both physically and emotionally. If you want to keep your good employees, their pay should reflect how much work they actually do.
Of course, budgets don’t always allow long-term health care companies to pay their employees more. If that is simply not an option, there are other ways to help keep employee turnover down. One is for management to be more transparent.
Instead of dictating rules and procedures, include employees in the decision-making process whenever possible. At the very least, be clear about why the changes are happening. It’s all comes down to good communication, which is important to employees.
Respect your employees by recognizing them for their for good work. Many managers take the position that health care workers know what is expected of them in a long-term care job and that they are getting paid to do , so why should they get recognition or rewards for something they should be doing anyway?
Employee recognition is important regardless of salary. It lets care workers know that they are appreciated as part of the team. This could be anything from hand-written notes letting employees know they are a valuable part of the company to employee awards for Most Innovative, Most Improved, Best Team Player, and so on. The point is to show employees that their work does not go unnoticed.
Prioritize work-life balance
Long-term care often involves work that takes away from an employee’s personal life. Whether this is working odd hours or just staying up late worrying about a patient, all of the stress from the job carries over into personal stress for many caregivers.
Management needs to take this into consideration and allow employees to get a better sense of work-life balance. Allow them to take time off when they need it for personal reasons, not just sick days. The biggest component of this is just to not overwork them. If you offer overtime hours, try doing it on a voluntary basis. Also, try to make sure late hours don’t always fall on the same few people unless they specifically want that kind of schedule.
Employee turnover does not have to be a common element of the long-term care industry. Implementing the strategies above can help employees feel more valued which, in turn, can encourage them to stay with the company throughout their careers.