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Want happier residents? Strive for more engaged employees

Posted by Dude Solutions Canada, Inc. | Friday, August 21, 2015

Want happier residents? Strive for more engaged employees Oftentimes it can feel like administrators and assisted living facilities are doing double the work. On top of the duty of care they have to their residents, it's important to remember that even the smoothest-functioning retirement community is a business.

This means that administrators are frequently forced to balance the comfort, safety and satisfaction of their residents with that of their support staff. While at times this can feel like a contradictory objective, keeping your staff and your residents equally happy doesn't have to require an act of witchcraft.

In fact, there's plenty of evidence to suggest that if you want to ensure that your staff remains engaged, enthusiastic and effective, one of the best places to start may be with your resident satisfaction strategy.

Understanding the link between staff and residents

You've no doubt heard the countless metaphors that companies and businesses are like machines that require each individual component to work together to achieve the best results. Hokey cliches aside, this really does ring true, especially in a senior living environment.

A report from the Corporate Leadership Council found evidence to suggest that resident happiness was one of the most significant factors that affected employee engagement. The source cited several studies conducted over the years aimed at uncovering the nature between how customer and employee satisfaction overlap and influence each other.

Findings revealed that there is a synergetic effect between employee satisfaction, turnover and the subsequent rates of both profitability and resident satisfaction in following years. In fact, some 47 percent of survey respondents cited reduced turnover as the key driver of success.

Exactly what you'd expect

While these data points are significant, they shouldn't be surprising. After all, it only stands to reason that losing employees in a clinical or support setting could correlate directly with a reduction in the quality of care your residents receive, which in turn reduces their overall level of satisfaction. This creates a vicious cycle wherein reduced employee happiness continues to feed into lower levels of care, which similarly contribute to less-than-ideal work environments for your support staff. 

Focus on value and on values

Keeping your employees happy with their jobs doesn't require a mythical formula. The key factor to take into consideration is communication and emphasis on the value each staffer brings to the job every day. According to Long-Term Living, assisted living employees are far more likely to retain higher levels of enthusiasm and engagement if executives, managers and other high-level members of the company make it clear that they have the interests of each employee, regardless of what level they work at, in mind.

This outcome incorporates such strategies as encouraging communication and feedback, not just from the top down, but the other direction as well. Employees should be encouraged to contribute to the overall discussion, whether the issue is large or small. Reinforcing the idea that every single person who represents your facility is an extension of its values and goals can help your support staff feel more connected to and invested in their jobs.

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