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 Building Relationships That Last

Are your staff just going through the motions, or are they committed to their jobs?

 



In today’s employment environment, turnover is as low as it has been in years. Turnover, however, does not tell the entire story. You need to know how satisfied and engaged your workforce is. As the economy improves, how many of your employees plan to be working for you next year at this time?
 
Research suggests that although employees may be satisfied, there is no guarantee that they are committed to their jobs or the organization. When thinking about employee satisfaction and commitment in the context of achieving long-term retention, providers should consider how satisfaction and commitment are interrelated, and how both can be cultivated over the employment lifecycle. 

Satisfaction And Commitment

Evidence of satisfaction is often measured in terms of retention, based on the assumption that a satisfied employee tends to stay with an organization; dissatisfied employees leave. However, commitment is a measure of alignment between the employee’s motivations and the organization’s mission. If an employee’s motivations are aligned with the organization’s mission, the employee most likely will perceive a personal stake in work and will aim to provide outstanding service. Commitment must be cultivated and developed as an employee gains more experience and knowledge of the organization.
 
Measuring an employee’s commitment requires direct measurement of the employee’s relationship with work and how it is aligned with the organization’s mission over time, both as a new hire and as a longer-tenured employee. Ensuring employees remain committed over time is essential as, ultimately, the committed employees who are with your organization the longest most likely will become leaders among their peers, driving overall satisfaction and commitment within the workforce.

Commitment And Effectiveness

Research by My InnerView shows how employees, depending on how long they have been in their current positions, affect workforce outcomes differently. Employees who become committed over time have the power to create a work environment that engenders both commitment and satisfaction among their co-workers—resulting not only in lower turnover, but in a more effective workforce. On the other hand, employees who become uncommitted or disengaged over time can negatively affect their co-workers’ employment experience.
 
This research indicates that there is a strong correlation between committed, longer-term employees (who have been in their positions for at least a year) and overall commitment and satisfaction levels.
My InnerView has designed an employee survey that measures both satisfaction and commitment in one instrument. Each perspective offers a unique view of the employee experience, while allowing you to evaluate what core practices may be impacting the ability of your workforce. 

The Process of Developing Committed Employees

Employers must recognize that commitment is both process and outcome. My InnerView research 
suggests that employee commitment is a process that develops as an employee progresses through the lifecycle of the employment relationship. Gaining commitment at each stage in the lifecycle requires an alignment between an employer’s needs and the employee’s
motivations.
 
It is clear: Employees want more than just a paycheck; they want to be valued and recognized for their contributions.

Establishing, Setting The Tone For Commitment

During orientation and onboarding, each new employee receives:
  • Solid welcome with tour and introductions
  • Introduction to how his or her job is essential to attaining the
  • organization’s vision
  • Written job description
  • Review by manager of job expectations
  • Adequate resources to do the job
  • Assignment of a buddy for fielding questions over the first three months
The process of establishing commitment begins with recruitment and hiring. Once the “right employee” is hired, formal orientation is often an employee’s first exposure to the organization. Both employee and employer confirmation that “this employer/employee was the right choice for me/us” is critical at both orientation (immediately) and onboarding (over the first year). Productivity levels are established, and job roles and expectations are set. Learning how to work within a team fuels employee productivity, and collegial relationships help the employee navigate the organizational culture and understand employer expectations.
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Aligning, Growing Commitment

  • Recognize employee talents, give credit where credit is due, listen to new ideas, and frequently say a specific personalized thank-you.
  • Translate the guiding vision, values, and goals into daily activities that help employees understand what matters most.
  • Communicate effectively to the very outskirts of the front line.
  • Offer high-quality training. Supportive management encourages skill transfer from training as well as innovation by facilitating problem solving.
Employees who have reached this level are forming a mature relationship with the organization. They’ve become educated in the nature and demands of the work and are beginning to understand how “going the extra mile” benefits the patients, themselves, and the organization. Encouraging understanding of the mission, vision, and goals of the organization is reinforced by positive feedback and recognition for work well done.

Integrating Commitment, Sustaining Committed Employees

  • Offer education that enables new learning.
  • Create a personalized development plan that fosters a career path.
  • Consider a mentoring program.
Fully integrated and engaged employees are the organization’s most committed. They accept and run with the organization’s mission and vision and should be fully empowered to make unique, creative contributions. Empowered employees are problem solvers, and they are willing to take initiative. These employees should also become mentors for those just beginning their employee relationships with the organization.

Engaged Vs. Disengaged Nursing Assistants

An ongoing My InnerView survey—with more than 28,500 nursing home employees reporting—compares the responses of engaged vs. disengaged nursing assistants. The study focuses on two loyalty-to-facility questions: “Would you recommend this facility as a place to work?” and “How likely is it that you will be working at this facility one year from now?”

Would you recommend this facility as a place to work?

Engaged employees who feel that their hard work is rewarded and rewarding are satisfied with their jobs. They actively or passively recruit like-minded colleagues to work with them for two reasons: One, the current employees want to have great colleagues work with them; and two, the employees want good people to share the same benefits of an engaging environment that they do.
 
From an internal frame of reference, engaged employees recognize their own important contributions to the excellent level of care offered. Altruistically, they also believe that through an engaged culture, all employees would be as dedicated to excellence as they themselves are, so patients would be well-cared-for by all staff.
 
The two groups responded quite differently on whether they would recommend the facility to colleagues as a worksite. Seventy-three percent (73%) of engaged nursing assistants would recommend working at their facility to like-minded colleagues, while only 22% of disengaged employees would.
 


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How likely is it that you will be working at this facility one year from now?

Considering how strongly engaged employees would recommend their facility to others, it is not surprising that 92% of engaged employees plan on staying, compared with 64% of disengaged employees. It is clear that being committed to and aligned with one’s employer drives a strong sense of personal pride and allegiance with engaged employees, both in terms of longevity of employment and endorsement of the facility to other potential employees.
 
A startlingly low 22% of disengaged nursing assistants would recommend their facility to cohorts. Compared with the 64% of disengaged staff that expect that they will still be employed at their facility one year from now, it is reasonable to assume that the lack of other employment opportunity in this recessed economy is a strong factor in the disengaged employees’ decisions to stay put for the time being. It will be interesting to reassess likelihood of tenure again between these groups as the economy strengthens.
 
The disengaged nursing assistants may be doing their work, at least going through the motions with their hands—if not their hearts. On the other hand, your engaged employees are where you want them to be: Providing outstanding service with grace, skill, and cheerfulness because they believe in your organization and take pride in their personal contributions. Together, you and your engaged employees are actively fulfilling your mission: Providing excellent service and care to your patients and their families. And that’s what matters most.
 


 
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