Last but certainly not least, the final strategy in our staff enrichment series may be the most important and yet hardest to achieve:
Creating an Attitude and Culture that Recognizes the Values, Dreams, and Aspirations of Each Employee
To create an appreciative and validating atmosphere at your organization, the approaches we discussed in the last few weeks are just a piece of the puzzle. But this is where things get real: authenticity of your respect and appreciation of employees is achieved when your entire organizational structure and culture embodies these guiding principles. Work culture matters — a lot.
So, how does organizational structure and culture communicate employee respect and appreciation? Let’s take a look:
Encourage managers to recognize the personal side of their team members: celebrate their birthdays, employment anniversaries, and graduations, for instance. Consider using a staff bulletin board to post these celebrations on a calendar.
Be sure to set aside time for social team gatherings (no work on the agenda) and staff cultivation. And as always, managers should be sure to use praise and use it frequently. Even if a staff member requires correction, be sure to sandwich the concern and suggested corrective action between compliments on his/her areas of success.
The steps above open the door to building relationships among staff members as colleagues begin to see each as individuals. They spend so much time at work that it is important to let a social element be a part of their day. Working with older adults and their families can be rewarding, but it also can be challenging and emotionally draining. That’s why nurturing friendships and support of peers at work is essential.
In a recent study conducted by TINYpulse, when employees were asked “about the amount of appreciation and recognition that they get from their peers,” the report noted, “those citing low levels of recognition were 11% less likely to plan on staying put.” (Forbes.com)
Looking Under Rocks
When Jim Collins conducted research for his book Good to Great, one of his interviewees described successful, challenging management as: “When you turn over rocks and look at all the squiggly things underneath, you can either put the rock down, or you can say, ‘My job is to turn over the rocks and look at the squiggly things’, even if what you see can scare the hell out of you.”That is the final step in creating the appreciative work environment — we must turn over the rocks. Recognizing the negative trends such as high turnover rate, lack of retention of new hires, and poor staff morale is crucial. Here are some tactics that can help us take that scary extra step to find out what is causing the negative trending:
- Conduct an employee satisfaction and engagement study throughout your organization.
- Implement focus groups and retention interviews in addition to your exit Interviews. (It is necessary to remain open and non-defensive to remarks; if you are unable to do so, contract with a neutral party to conduct the interviews.)
- In order to prevent the revolving door of new hires, partner new employees with a mentor within their department. Meet with new employees after a few weeks to foster relationship building and uncover areas of discomfort in their new job.
Creating an appreciative and enriched atmosphere for employees may seem like a lot of work, but the resulting advantages — staff longevity, work attendance, good work ethics, and overall work attitude —will outweigh the early efforts and be time savers in the long run.
Read more on our staff development page. Then call us for more information.
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About the Author
Patty Scotten is a consultant with Retirement DYNAMICS® and serves as their marketing manager. Patty has over twenty five years’ experience in the senior living industry and has led several communities in preselling expansions or increasing occupancy levels. She graduated from Elon University and holds a Masters Degree from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Patty is licensed as both an assisted living and nursing home administrator.