​Keep your workforce engaged:

Expectations and responsibility

The best place to start is with conversation with the employee about expectations for his or her role. New employees are seeking confirmation that joining the organization was the “right decision.” This confirmation will likely come through the welcome an employee is shown and how this initial contact aligns with his or her idea of the organization’s mission, vision, and values.
It is important to get each employee to view his or her role from the broad organizational perspective rather than from a narrower task-oriented view. You should encourage each employee to see his or her role though the lens of the organization versus the lens of the job description.
Ensure that each employee can answer the questions related to: What were you hired to do? What outcomes should you achieve? How do you make this a better place to work? What matters most in this organization?
Two key areas that your employees must have total clarity about:
■ What is expected while at work.
■ Job responsibilities. 

Key Recommendations For Leaders And Managers

■ Be crystal clear on expectations and responsibilities that your employee’s job entails.
■ Formal orientation is often an employee’s first exposure to the organizational culture.
■ Make every person feel his or her work has purpose, significance, and importance.
■ Communicate what matters most at every opportunity.
■ Communicate the “what,” but it is equally important—and maybe even more important—to communicate the “why.”
■ Communicate the organization’s mission, vision, and values through dialogue, not just one-way communication. Be sure employees know what it means to them and how they can make a difference in the organization.
■ When you think communication, think dialogue. 

Reinforcement and recognition

The majority of your employees come to work each day wanting to do a good job. They want and deserve to be recognized for the good work they do. Your goal should be that, wherever your employees look, what they see tells them that you care about them. You should make a point of encouraging your employees’ efforts on a regular basis. Make sure your employees know you care about them at every corner and intersection in their employment.
Three key areas that your employees must have total clarity about:
■ Good work is recognized.
■ Their efforts will be encouraged.
■ Their opinions and ideas matter.

Key Recommendations For Leaders And Managers

■ Build trust with your employees.
■ Involve employees in work and projects that add value. They don’t want to just have a job. They want to have a say in their future.
■ Tell employees how they are doing. Frequent feedback is a key for employee performance and improvement. Do this no less than quarterly.
■ Recognize good work at the time it occurs and in front of other employees.
■ Remember that each employee brings personal values, experience, and talent.
■ Recognize and praise your employees regularly. It is almost impossible to overcompliment
your employees. In the book, “How Full is Your Bucket,” author Tom Rath suggests that praise must outweigh criticism by a five-to-one margin to achieve a high-performance culture. 

Keep your workforce engaged: Involvement

Managers must involve employees and solicit their thoughts and opinions on any major issue within the facility. To feel part of the organization, employees need to know where the bus is going. For the “2009 National Survey of Consumer and Workforce Satisfaction in Nursing Facilities,” My InnerView conducted satisfaction surveys with over 283,000 employees. A detailed analysis of written comments identified negative themes in their comments, which included managers not listening or paying attention to staff issues.
On the other hand, listening to employee concerns and a caring attitude among managerial and supervisory staff were predictors of the recommendation by workers of the facility to others as a place to receive care or employment.
Two key areas that your employees must have total clarity about:
■ Feel like part of the organization.
■ Co-workers are committed to doing a good job. Key Recommendations For Leaders And Managers
■ Plan team-building activities at staff meetings at least four times per year.
■ Spend time at each staff meeting allowing employees to share what “being committed”
means to them.
■ Educate and inform all employees about relevant facility performance data.
■ Stress employee ownership, and then get out of the way.
■ Adopt a community cause, and get your entire staff involved.
Employee engagement is achieved one employee at a time; it is a marathon and not a sprint. It starts with senior management’s commitment and trickles though every management layer of the organization until every employee has a clear line of sight about what matters most and what they can do to make a difference every time they walk through the door.
My InnerView’s “2009 National Survey of Consumers and Workforce in Nursing Facilities” shows that nursing facilities that score higher on employee satisfaction also score higher on family satisfaction.
And, nursing facilities that score higher on family satisfaction also score higher on resident satisfaction. It is not often that satisfied employees result in dissatisfied families, or vice versa. (Based on responses from 233,302 nursing facility residents and family members and 283,404 nursing facility employees.) Measuring satisfaction is a critical dimension of quality where the interests of consumers, payers, and providers are aligned. 

What Matters Most

Many forces are impacting your operation now more than ever. In order to have high quality and remain competitive, you must remain close to the two partners that can make you successful—
your customers and your employees.

Start with listening to their feedback with satisfaction and engagement surveys. The size of My
InnerView’s consumer and workforce satisfaction database—with one in three nursing facilities in the
United States represented—suggests that the long term care profession is redefining organizational
excellence using a set of measures that supports the interdependent interest of these partners.
Dialogue directly with your partners to truly understand the issues, as well as make them feel that
they are empowered to help create the processes and solutions they live and work with every day.
This dialogue is an ongoing process to create and sustain the partnership for success.
Are you ready for health care reform? Do you have a clear customer experience/satisfaction strategy
and management process, know where you have service gaps, and keep your workforce engaged?
Take control of the steering wheel, and capitalize on the opportunities. The road ahead can be brightly lit if you keep a firm grip on what matters most.

By maintaining the profession’s largest private database of quality customer and workforce satisfaction metrics, My InnerView gives leaders in assisted living, seniors housing, and skilled nursing professions the research, insights, and solutions that matter most to providing the highest quality of care and service. My InnerView works with more than 9,000 senior care providers throughout the United States.

Copies of the “2009 National Survey of Consumer and Workforce Satisfaction in Nursing Facilities” can be downloaded at www.myinnerview.com.