While creating an amazing website and utilizing stellar marketing techniques are important, an organization that cannot back up these innovative tools with a group of skilled and caring staff will quickly lose clientele.
It is true that staying abreast of the technological advancements in the caregiving industry is essential. However, the attitude of staff members is also an important aspect of a senior community because employee interaction is what the residents and visitors to the community typically remember.
Hire for Attitude: 3 Ways to Look Beyond an Applicant’s Résumé
In the world of the senior community, caregivers must have the required skill set to provide residents with the medical treatment they need. However, the attitude of the caregiver should not be overlooked. As senior communities continue struggling due to the high employee turnover associated with this field of care, employers have started taking a unique approach to choosing new caregivers and keeping their current caregivers engaged and happy.
A caregiver’s attitude should be as important to the employer as the caregiver's skill set. An employee’s attitude directly affects how well he or she will fit within the senior living community, as well as how effective he or she will be at providing residents with the quality care they deserve.
1. Examine the Applicant’s Reaction to a Stressful Situation
This may seem a difficult task during an interview; however, it can be accomplished quite simply. Some employers choose to take potential employees to a local restaurant and instruct the waiter to spill a bit of water on their guest.
If heading to a local restaurant is not feasible, try this tactic: Prior to the interview, ask an employee to bring in a glass of water a few moments into the interview. Instruct the employee to "accidentally" spill some of the water on the applicant as he or she hurriedly walks past. Make sure to have a box of facial tissue within easy reach of the applicant.
Following the mishap, which reaction did the applicant display:
- Did the applicant seem to immediately throw blame at the waiter/other employee?
- Did the applicant grab a napkin or a facial tissue off the desk and begin wiping the water off while smiling and/or laughing?
The applicant’s reaction to this mishap reveals his or her real attitude.
2. How Often Does the Applicant Smile?
Taking note of how often a candidate smiles during his or her interview and while touring the assisted living community can help employers determine the applicant’s true attitude. Consider that a forced smile will wear off quickly, whereas a genuine smile is frequently accompanied by a bit of laughter and tends to fade slowly.
3. Quiet Observation
If the interview is taking place in an open area, leave the applicant alone for a few minutes. During this time, believing that no one is watching, did the applicant greet individuals as they walked by?
If the interview is taking place in an office, consider peeking out into the waiting area to inform the applicant of a slight delay and then have the peer employees walk by. Did the applicant seem friendly and greet the other employees?
How to Hire the Best of the Best
According to the Assisted Living Salary and Benefits Report from the Hospital and Healthcare Compensation Service, the position with the highest annual turnover in the assisted living community is personal care assistants (caregivers) with a rate of nearly 40 percent. By hiring the best of the best, senior communities may be able to reduce their employee turnover rate.
Utilize and Encourage Employee Referrals
Hiring the best candidates can be accomplished by focusing on referrals from employees. A referral from a trusted employee means the candidate is most likely reasonably qualified, prescreened and serious about joining the team. Some employers create a formal employee referral program designed to reward employees who refer an individual that is hired into the organization.
If Possible, Implement Continuous Hiring
Some senior communities hire continuously. However, this can be difficult for smaller organizations. The benefit of adopting this practice is that the best candidates do not remain on the market very long, which means that these individuals are not usually looking for employment at the time an organization is seeking new staff members. Organizations that continuously interview and network with potential employees increase their chance of hiring exceptional employees (compared to organizations that do not implement continuous hiring practices).
The Importance of Retaining Excellent Caregivers
The American Health Care Association (AHCA) states that employees who work closely with residents in a senior living community are at the root of providing the high-quality care the residents need for the best outcome possible. Research indicates that when staff members are satisfied with their position, they provide the residents of their senior living community with a greater quality of life through high-quality care.
3 Things Employees Really Want
1. Clarity and Purpose
Employers can build trust with employees by explaining why a task must be completed, as opposed to simply delegating tasks and making demands. Clarity, in and of itself, is not enough to coerce an action or to instill happiness: To accomplish this, an actual purpose is required. A purpose can resonate with emotions that satisfy personal needs, especially when those emotions align with a person's values and future vision of his or her life.
2. An Opportunity for Improvement
Because self-actualization is a fundamental need, the more an organization offers its employees the chance to improve themselves, the better. Opportunity brings with it autonomy, and more freedom translates into decisions that hold greater meaning for the employee as well as the organization. As such, the motivation to perform well will also increase.
Everyone wants to be heard. One of the fastest ways employers demoralize their employees is by ignoring them. Whether an employee’s comments and suggestions are useful or not is of no concern; simply allowing the employee to be heard is what matters. By listening to the employee, the employer makes the staff member feel as if his or her contribution to the conversation was valuable.
The AHCA states that providers throughout the senior care community with well-trained and committed staff members experience fewer work-related injuries and accidents, as well as an increased employee retention rate — all of which improve the overall performance of these organizations. The dedication of the staff allows for an effective response to the individual needs of each senior resident, which reinforces each establishment’s commitment to delivering person-centered care for those residing within its senior living communities.