HealthNovember 24, 2019

Five ways to keep home health staff engaged

Virtually all healthcare organizations—from hospitals to home care—struggle with maintaining an appropriate balance of staff.

Staffing too many caregivers can cause financial strain, while staffing too few can negatively impact the quality of care, not to mention employee and patient satisfaction. Home care specifically has been hard hit, according to a 2018 Home Care Benchmarking Study by market research and education firm Home Care Pulse, which found that caregiver turnover has skyrocketed to 82 percent.

When nurses leave, it’s costly for your business. It takes time and money to find and train replacements. Employee turnover is something that every business experiences, but you can try to reduce turnover as much as possible by doing the following:

1. Hire the right people

Keeping employees starts with hiring the right employees. You likely hire nurses who have the skills that match your open position. But, how well do your employees fit in with your organization’s culture?

Ask behavioral interview questions to find out how candidates would react in certain situations. Also, show candidates around and tell them about your workplace culture.

Candidates will hopefully eliminate themselves if they don’t fit in. If employees don’t fit in with your work environment, they won’t be happy, and they won’t get along with coworkers.

2. Offer competitive pay and benefits

If you don’t pay employees well, they’ll find someplace else that does. Do market research on wages and find out what your competitors pay their employees. Nurses also want competitive benefits, including insurance, paid time off and continuing education.

3. Give praise

Employees need encouragement and recognition. When nurses do something right, show them that you see and appreciate their hard work.

When everyone feels respected, acknowledged, desired and motivated, they are more likely to stay. Best of all, this method to decrease employee turnover doesn’t cost a thing.

4. Show the career path

If nurses stagnate in one job for too long, they might search for another job where they can advance. Most employees want to increase their skills and knowledge, and move up the career ladder. Showing nurses a projected career path gives them a sense of direction and purpose.

5. Be flexible

If it’s possible, allow for flexible schedules. Flexible work schedules let employees adjust their shifts and sometimes location, creating a better work-life balance.

Flexible work schedules might not be possible in all situations, but there still may be ways to offer flexibility, such as flexible lunchtimes. When employees can live their lives outside of work, they will be more satisfied and less distracted when at work.

Hiring the right nurses to begin with, giving them control over their work environment and providing them with opportunities for growth are solid ways to ensure a sustainable workforce.

There will always be employees who want to leave, and employee turnover can’t be completely eliminated. But you can reduce it by providing a workplace where employees want to stay.

If you want to learn more about to attract and retain top talent and get free CE credit, watch our 60-minute webinar Strategies to attract and retain top talent in post-acute care.

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