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How Assisted Living Facilities Can Improve Staffing and Reduce Turnover

Chris Murray
Posted on: June 29, 2018 by Chris Murray

In the first part of our two-part series on employee turnover rates in assisted living facilities, we reviewed some of the factors that influence rates. Employee turnover at assisted living and other senior care facilities drive up costs, requiring organizations to spend funds on recruiting and training. Loss of income on the part of care facilities can result from high turnover rates as well, further driving up overhead costs. As mentioned in our first article, insurance for assisted living facilities forms a crucial component of risk management for senior care organizations, helping to protect the business’s financial assets as well as protecting patients that depend on these facilities for care.

This article will introduce effective strategies that assisted living facilities can use to reduce employee turnover rates, improving continuity of care for patients and mitigating some of the costs associated with low employee retention.

A Proactive Approach to Employee Retention

It is an unfortunate fact that many assisted living facilities in the United States rely on outdated recruitment and hiring practices for their employees. This can impact the quality of candidates applying to fill critical roles in the organization, ultimately setting up a culture where excessive turnover is a distinct possibility.

The application of technology can improve recruitment practices, identifying qualified candidates far earlier in the hiring process than traditional means. Facilities that leverage technology, including third-party human resources firms, can get higher-quality staffers in position earlier and more efficiently than ever before. Ultimately, this improves the quality of care for patients of the facility, as their needs are more able to be met by staffers with the experience and skills needed to perform.

Focus on Employee Development

Employee satisfaction in any organization can impact turnover rates. In the senior care industry, few opportunities for growth and high physical and emotional workload demands combine to drive quality staffers away. This turnover rate in turn breeds distrust and dissatisfaction in facility residents, and can force remaining staff members to increase their workloads beyond their capabilities. By focusing on employee development programs, these facilities can improve employee satisfaction tremendously. Investing in professional development and advanced training programs can also improve patient outcomes, as employees understand that their contributions are valued by senior leadership. Professional development programs can include leadership training, training in specific healthcare practices, and seminars on patient rights and needs.

Pay and Incentive Programs

The assisted living care industry is plagued by low pay rates, particularly for paraprofessionals but also in lower-than-average pay scales for registered nurses, providers, and professional support staff. Margins are thin in this industry, and while competitive pay rates may not be possible for all organizations, it can be beneficial for companies to identify areas where pay can be increased to boost employee retention. Offering higher pay than competing organizations can also improve the quality of candidates needed to fill job vacancies, ultimately reducing turnover.

Barring pay increases, assisted care facilities can also provide incentive programs, including full health benefits, rewards systems, and retention bonuses tied to staff longevity. Care facilities may choose to protect their financial interests with insurance for assisted living facilities, which can provide coverage for lost employees and the business interruption that can follow the loss of valued staff members.

Breeding a Culture of Communication and Mutual Respect

Many staffers in assisted living facilities report that they love working with their patients and coworkers, but face serious disconnects with management teams. It is critical that managers convey that they value the contributions of their staff, and this begins with open lines of communication. It is no secret that communication forms the cornerstone of a successful business operation, regardless of industry. In the healthcare field, strengthening professional and personal bonds between staffers can greatly reduce employee turnover rates, fostering a team-oriented approach that results in lower overhead costs and improved quality of care for facility residents.

About Caitlin Morgan

Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at 317.575.4440.

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Posted in: Assisted Living Facility Insurance blog Uncategorized