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Staff Enrichment – A Deep Dive

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Last week we took the plunge into our discussion on staff — one of the greatest assets of a community. We introduced ways to recognize their contributions, encourage career growth, and build their loyalty to the job and service delivery. Now let’s dive deeper into these approaches.

In the book Love ‘em or Lose ‘em, authors Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans surveyed more than 17,000 employees of various organizations to determine the reasons why employees stay with their jobs.

Creating Happy StaffThe top 10 reasons from their survey are:

  1. Exciting work and challenge
  2. Career growth, learning, and development
  3. Working with great people
  4. Fair pay
  5. Supportive management/good boss
  6. Being recognized, valued, and respected
  7. Benefits
  8. Meaningful work and making a difference
  9. Pride in the organization, its mission, and its products
  10. Great work environment and culture

Creating Engaged & Loyal Employees

The three approaches we’re discussing today address several of the top reasons employees cited for remaining in their jobs: exciting work and challenge; career growth, learning and development; and meaningful work and making a difference.

Approach 1 — Offer ongoing educational opportunities on and off campus.

In the 16 Basic Desires Theory proposed by Steven Reiss, Psychology and Psychiatry professor emeritus at Ohio State University, one of the top motivators of human behavior is curiosity and the need to gain knowledge. Many people report a greater feeling of happiness when learning or stretching themselves to a higher goal.

Accepting this as a basic human motivator and component of greater happiness, organizations should strive to make learning opportunities easily available to employees. In addition to the required classes, consider contracting a speaker on a current trend or particular interest for staff members. (The class should be offered several times within a day or two to make it available to multiple shifts.)

Consider making attendance at complimentary educational events a part of the employee evaluation process — not as a “you did not attend,” but rather a reward for those who choose to better themselves, or as a suggestion for next year’s goal-setting.

Approach 2 — Establish career ladders within your organization so employees don’t have to leave in order to better themselves.

Providing greater educational opportunities is step one in addressing reason #2 (career growth, learning and development). But an organization can go a step further in assisting employees with personal growth while retaining their skills for the organization. A career ladder is particularly valuable within a Life Plan Community (CCRC) with nurse-intensive staffing. The creation of competency levels with opportunity for advancement can often encourage staff to improve upon their skill levels and seek advancement within your organization.

Consider developing a thoughtful description of advanced skill levels for other departments as well. For example, a general maintenance staff member may return for further education in HVAC. The true, and sometimes difficult, next step is to allow for progression within the organization so that employees don’t have to leave to achieve career advancement.

Approach 3 — Give front-line staff “a seat at the table” in some decision-making ad hoc teams.

Among the top 10 reasons staff members say they stay within their organization rather than seek other employment are the following: exciting, challenging work; being recognized, valued and respected; and meaningful work and making a difference. One approach to address these values is to show respect of employees and their contributions by including them in decision-making discussions or teams. By doing so, organizations show respect for their employees’ skill level, thought processes, and contributions to the organization. For employees, being a part of the team that is discussing a new expansion, approach, culture change, or training program can be a change of pace from their everyday tasks, and provide a differently challenging opportunity to serve the organization and its residents. For organizations, it adds another way to contribute to the improvement of the culture and lifestyle of employees and residents.


Maintaining Happy StaffHappy Staff = Happy Customers

“Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.” – Anne M. Mulcahy

Providing ongoing educational opportunities, career ladders, and respecting employee input are three distinct techniques toward building proud, loyal, productive employees — and happy customers. Stay with us as we continue our deep dive into strategies for investing in our employees.

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