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A conversation about turnover

Posted Jun 17 2009 6:43pm
I had a great conversation last week with Tris Legacy, the Administrator of Regency Park Place at Corvallis. Tris is a relatively new assisted living Administrator, and he’s frequently frustrated with a problem that often seems to be accepted as fact in senior care: caregiver turnover.

Tris points out that many times caregivers don’t leave to go to another type of job – they simply move from one caregiving job to another; from one facility to another. Sometimes, it’s because they’ll get an extra quarter per hour in pay. Many administrators, it seems, accept a certain level of turnover as normal and don’t really do much about it.

Tris believe that we can – and should – do better. I agree.

Turnover is not only a pain in the hiring/staffing department, it causes serious problems in delivering a superior level of quality care. When a caregiver who truly knows your clients leaves, that knowledge leaves, too. The relationship – the “people part” of what we do – is gone, both for the client and for the family.

Many of you are experiencing census problems recently. If you remember back to “Marketing 101” what’s the most important element that will lead to “getting the sale?” It’s the relationship.

With our clients and their families, building relationships is one of our strongest tools to build word-of-mouth referrals in the community at large. When a family member sees, month after month, year after year, the same group of caregivers, they WILL be impressed and they WILL tell others.

Many of you know that fighting – and winning – the battle of turnover means looking closely at wages and benefits. You also know that this can be a hard sell to management. But sometime, especially if you’re talking about filling those units or increasing the number of clients, the investment begins to look more appealing to management; the payoff a little clearer.

What else helps reduce turnover? One of the most significant things that a recent survey found, next to money, was that people who stay feel their boss – the person they perceive as their immediate supervisor – listens to them and cares about them. What else? Giving every employee the opportunity to learn and grow in his or her job.

What have you found to be effective in reducing the turnover of your staff? Share your thoughts, your questions or concerns – I’ll pass them on. Maybe we’ll even discover a new approach or two that can make a meaningful difference in this most challenging problem. CEUs for senior care professionals · Staff training for caregivers · Caregiver job applications right to your inbox
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