With as many as three-quarters of caregivers leaving a position at a care facility before their first three months on the job, the next big challenge after recruiting and training is retention. The key to succeeding at this effort is in recognizing employees, experts say.
Unlike team members who grew up in prior generations, today’s youngest workers, the millennials, have different expectations for the workplace. They want recognition and appreciation for simply doing their jobs—not for going above and beyond, says Cara Silletto, president and chief retention officer of Crescendo Strategies, a consulting firm that helps companies reduce turnover.
“The reality is all those silly participation ribbons are coming back to haunt the employers,” Silletto says. “It’s time for every leader to turn up the dial on their recognition meter and start thanking people when they show up. Thank them if they show up on time. Thank them when they do a good job.”

Communicate Faster

Workplace smartphone apps that foster real-time communication might be useful in long term/post-acute care (LT/PAC) centers to help teams maintain lines of communication to express that recognition and appreciation.

Mark WoodkaFor example, OnShift, a technology company in Cleveland, Ohio, earlier this year launched Engage, a cloud-based software platform that integrates into its existing software suite for care communities to help team leaders communicate more effectively with team members.

“Providers now recognize that they’ve really got to get good at managing their workforce. And they’ve got to invest in both technology- and nontechnology-based solutions to manage that continuum,” says Mark Woodka, OnShift chief executive officer.

With an app like OnShift’s Engage downloaded onto their mobile devices, care teams can communicate and get immediate feedback throughout the workday. Through the platform, care centers also can conduct surveys and get immediate feedback.

“Our first one was, ‘Hey how was work today?’ And you get five smiley faces from smiley to angry and you tap one and you can submit a comment if you want,” Woodka says. “Most providers are doing the annual survey and by the time they get the answers back and do anything about it, most of that staff is gone.”

Reward Sooner

OnShift’s platform also enables supervisors to recognize and reward team members who demonstrate desired workplace habits.

“If you see somebody has not called off, they’ve picked up three shifts, they’ve been on time for a week in a row, you can shoot a message to them saying ‘Great job! Thanks so much for your diligence and your hard work’ and you know, notice people.”

For LT/PAC centers challenged with high turnover among frontline staff, adopting strategies that incorporate ways to improve communication, recognize good employees, and identify those that need additional mentoring will help create a more stable workforce, Woodka says.

“I think historically providers haven’t had to put a lot of energy into unique workforce solutions but they need to now,” he says.