It is clear how challenging the labor shortage is across multiple industries. Sign-on bonuses, college tuition, and paid parental leave are just some of the ways companies are attracting labor.

The health care industry struggled with staffing shortages prior to Covid-19 and the situation has worsened during the pandemic. Luckily, there are now tech-supported agencies offering gig work to health care professionals. While delivering food or groceries through Uber may be easier than providing personal care, most HCPs are passionate about caring for those in need.

What attracts an HCP to claim shifts at one facility over another? The community’s culture may be the deciding factor. Let’s explore which variables may attract an HCP to claim a shift at community X while community Y is offering more money and is closer to home.

Culture Change in the Long-Term Care Industry Improves Employee Satisfaction

Pioneer Network describes culture change as “the national movement for the transformation of older adult services, based on person-centered values and practices where the voices of elders and those working most closely with them are solicited, respected, and honored. Core person-directed values are relationship, dignity, respect, self-determination, and purposeful living.”

Patient-centered care can only be offered if there are adequate staffing levels, and an HCP has the time, resources, and the support they need.

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Welcoming staff to a shift. Nurse supervisors should consider assigning a mentor to agency personnel. Locating supplies, introductions to residents, and how to reach a doctor are all ways a mentor can support agency staff. Let’s empower HCPs to provide care that is best for each resident and make health care facilities a place for listening and healing.

The importance of nurse supervisors. At the start of a shift, nurse supervisors should introduce themselves to all agency staff and make sure everyone is comfortable with their assignments. Creating an environment of inclusivity will drive agency personnel to be part of the team. It is time to re-imagine how agency staff can offer relief for burned-out building staff and encourage gratitude between HCPs for supporting one another and offering much-needed respite.

Staff appreciation. Saying “thank you for being here” and appreciating agency staff can go a long way in ensuring reliable employees return week after week. How can we give our front-line workers a break and show them the appreciation they deserve? Providing a Keurig machine, water bottles, and snacks are great ways to show them the appreciation they deserve. A fun and relaxing break room atmosphere can refresh and revitalize your staff, improving overall quality of care.

Create an inviting environment. Nobody wants to work in an environment that isn’t clean and safe.

Competition among HCFs is becoming fierce as more patients are choosing to recover at home. To stay competitive at the in-patient level, facilities will need to create more welcoming environments. While a renovation may not be in the budget, consider being creative with what you have. Fresh flowers or a water station (throw in some lemons!) can spruce up a lobby and add lovely scents and inviting spaces. Think about your own home and the things that make it comfortable and remember, for many residents and their families, this is home.

The Future of Culture Change

Now that Covid-19 has forced us to take a closer look at the safety and necessity of long-term care, the need to evolve is more important than ever. Patients and their families are thinking more critically about where to recover. To be competitive in the long-term care space, you need to consider the culture you’re creating. HCPs have the flexibility to work when and where they want. Think about innovative ways to draw qualified and caring staff to your community. If you create a culture that engages the right team, you will attract residents and their families looking for a welcoming community that is delivering the highest standard of care.

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