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How to Retain a Quality Workforce

workforce retention

Are you retaining your best team members? High turnover paired with increasing demand is leaving senior living communities across the country struggling to hold onto a high-quality workforce.

The problem is exacerbated by the job-hopping habits of the Millennial generation — whose members recently passed Gen X as the largest contingent of the U.S. labor force. Research has demonstrated that Millennials change jobs an average of four times in their first 10 years after college, a rate nearly twice that of their predecessors.

What are some steps you can take to persuade your best workers to stay put at your community?

Use Incentives Other Than High Wages

Eye-popping salaries get most people’s attention, of course, but understand that paying the highest wages in your area is not your only bargaining chip for retaining quality employees.

Consider what rewards you can provide that will meet your employees’ emotional needs for respect and camaraderie. Lunches with the CEO, handwritten notes, employee parties and company-wide recognition can go a long way toward making an individual feel like part of the team — and encouraging them to give you their loyalty in return.

Consider Your Benefits Package

For many employees, the benefits package matters as much as the salary you’re offering. Be as generous as you can with sick leave, vacation time and other opportunities to take care of personal business and simply relax. Allowing team members to work from home on occasion also can serve as a valuable benefit for many.

Health insurance is critical for most employees these days; look at your offering carefully and try to choose the plan with the lowest employee premiums and deductibles you can manage. Additional insurance such as dental, life and disability also may contribute to many workers’ desire to stay with your community.

Offer the Best Perks Possible

If your budget is too tight for perks like tuition reimbursement, think creatively to offer benefits that won’t break the bank. For instance, you can offer employees the option of a compressed workweek that leaves time for taking classes.

Negotiating for a lower rate at a nearby daycare center may be an alternative to operating on-site child care and discounted gym memberships or a daily walking club can substitute for an employee fitness center.

Some employees may appreciate flexible scheduling, along with benefits like bringing their pets to work.

Give Your Team a Stake

To incentivize success, consider creating a revenue-sharing program. Typically, these programs tie a portion of wages to the community’s performance over a set period of time.

Revenue sharing — as opposed to a traditional salary — can help align the goals of your workforce with your company’s goals and you may find that your retention improves as your company grows.

A revenue sharing program also gives you flexibility to vary your payroll costs as business conditions change.

Create an Environment of Respect

Human resources professionals can tell you that employees often quit because of their supervisors. Remember that your workers are human beings who demand and deserve respect and ensure that your front-line supervisors are thoroughly trained to treat each individual respectfully and to defuse any tense situations.

Demonstrate your trust in employees by giving them increasing levels of responsibility to help them grow professionally and provide plenty of opportunities for continuing education. When possible, look within your community to fill higher positions.

Stress Your Unique Community Culture

Research has found that Millennials place significant value on corporate culture — more so than the generations that came before them. In fact, they’re willing to give up as much as $7,600 in annual salary to work for an organization that provides a beneficial environment.

For employers, the shift in values requires a new emphasis on building a culture conducive to attracting and retaining the best applicants. Millennials as a group care deeply about diversity and inclusiveness, social responsibility, and creating a balance between work and personal needs. Companies that develop meaningful ethics policies — and show that they truly care about employees — will be compensated with loyalty from valuable team members.

Keep Track of Retention

If you’re not already tracking metrics related to retention, it’s a great time to start. With baseline data available, you can measure the effects of your efforts over time and consider additional adjustments to improve your numbers.

By focusing on creating unique incentives and developing a community culture that attracts bright, loyal staff members, you should begin to build a workforce that will stick with you for the long term.