The Great Resignation or Great Reshuffle isn’t just a trendy phenomenon spurred on by the pandemic. It’s a major cultural shift that’s completely restructured workplaces and spaces, attitudes, and employee satisfaction. With no one immune to the realities of the past few years, people are seeing their lives in a new way, one that includes balance and fulfillment.
Many workers no longer feel the motivation to put up with a company that doesn’t value their contributions or provide for their emotional needs. Deservedly, people want more than to spend most of their days doing what makes them miserable. Life is just way too short.
Co-author of “Designing Your New Work Life,” Bill Burnett says, “Most quitters leave a job because they hate it, rather than because they have the promise of something better.”
Survey Monkey also reports, “A full quarter (26%) of employees don’t feel like they belong at their current company.”
When workers would rather go unemployed than deal with a dead-end position, it’s time for business leaders to pay attention. Caregivers are our greatest assets, and companies that live by that mantra are seeing the positive results and better care for residents.
Here are three tips to retaining your wonderful caregivers during The Great Resignation.
- Support Employee Wellbeing and Mental Health
With the pandemic steeply increasing stress levels, employee burnout is a serious issue that companies must address. Caregivers are especially susceptible due to the increased mental load that comes with caring for seniors during a crisis.
CNBC reports, “Millions of Americans have quit their jobs over the past year, including a record 4.5 million in March alone.” Citing a Workhuman survey, employees wanted more mental health support. “While 40% would like better mental-health benefits, 53% said providing mental health days would help and 47% cited workplace flexibility.”
Whether it’s a number of paid time off days throughout the year for exploratory renewal or a fully-funded sabbatical, employers are countering The Great Resignation and discovering more engaged, productive team members.
Hallmark Cards created a creative renewal program called #my5days to help artists and writers reset and reinvigorate, reconnect with beloved interests, and explore creativity beyond their day-to-day assignments. Employees can choose from a variety of illustration, photography, crafting, and writing workshops, or plan their own self-discovery, like baking, gardening, or tracing their heritage. Because of its success, Starbucks partnered with the social expressions company to make its own version for their employees.
- Offer Flexible Schedules
A LinkedIn Global Talent Trends 2022 report found that “Good work-life balance is the highest priority for job hunters, outweighing even excellent compensation and benefits.” They add, “Gone are the days when companies could rely on perks like endless snacks and ping-pong tables. For employers to attract and retain talent, they will need to put their employees first and ensure they feel cared for and supported.”
Based on a Glint survey, LinkedIn verified “flexibility has become a top priority in recent months.” They say, “The old way of working where employees show up in an office and work from 9 to 5 is history. After nearly two years of remote and hybrid work, employees want to maintain their freedom.”
Companies like Buffer, Kickstarter, and Uncharted are prioritizing work-life balance for their employees by going to a four-day workweek. Also making this four-day move, The Wanderlust Group “has seen a 136% year-over-year growth in gross merchandise volume processed in the second quarter and a 100% year-over-year increase in second-quarter reservations.”
And by going to a more focused, shorter week, plus encouragement to take lunches and breaks throughout the day, Elephant Ventures sees better rested, energized, and more productive employees.
San Francisco tech company, Bolt, implemented a permanent four-day workweek—and it’s working. “84% of employees said they have been more productive, and 86% said they have been more efficient with their time. Meanwhile, 84% saw an improvement in their work-life balance.” Founder and CEO Ryan Breslow says, “I couldn’t imagine running a company any other way.”
By eliminating a lot of the unnecessary fluff, workers are more efficient and happier about it. Breslow says, “A lot of companies operate with a lot of work theater, which is people caring more about the appearance of working than the actual work…So you have countless meetings, countless documents, countless presentations. It’s impossible to sift through the noise and get to the heart of the matter.”
While a four-day work week might not be entirely possible for senior living, introducing flexible scheduling may be a way to keep caregivers at your community. Offer shifts that can work around school drop off, soccer practice, schoolwork, or other commitments your caregivers might have outside of work. Offering flexibility has helped companies like Alavida Lifestyles and Atria Senior Living, Inc. keep staff.
LinkedIn has provided several resources for employers to rewrite their employee culture so that the Great Reshuffle isn’t so much a challenge as it is a new opportunity for businesses and a fresh start for employees.
- Ask Employees What Would Make Their Jobs Better
Employers who only think they know what’s best for their employees is an antiquated notion. To know what your staff members want and need, you have to ask.
Of course, not all job positions are remote-work-friendly. This is especially true for senior living communities. If you can’t think of an alternative, ask your team what would improve their mental wellness and work-life balance. Offer your ideas and suggestions, but be prepared to listen to what your employees have to say.
And it isn’t enough to act like you care, you must actually care through the actions and next steps you take. This will show your team that you’re truly serious about their wellbeing and keeping them happily employed with you.
Felicity Winkley, HR manager at Totally Money says, “Using a feedback platform sends a strong message to staff that you’re interested in what they have to say and want to know what their experience is, which helps make them feel more valued.”
But you really must take to heart what people say and be prepared to make the changes that they’re asking for. Winkley says, “If people feel they’ve given feedback and it’s not been acted upon, it’s worse than not asking for any feedback at all.”
Founder and Chief of Sales for Senior Healthcare Direct and Forbes Council Member, Robert W. Bache, says, “Let members of your team know they can come to you with any concerns. Some leaders prefer to stay an arm’s length away, but I like to say that I lead with a hug, managing with both compassion and empathy.”
Talking to your employees can be done through a formal process like Survey Monkey, but it doesn’t have to be that structured. Designating weekly or bi-weekly chats with individuals is a good way to get the temp on how they’re feeling, and even what’s on the minds of the broader group. Getting to know your employees creates a trusting space, as long as you don’t use information negatively or to form biases.
Lutheran Life Communities in Arlington Heights, Illinois is “rolling out various programs to foster a positive company culture, including an employee assistance program, rewards for perfect attendance, spiritual care through chaplaincy, fitness programs and, most recently, an employee referral incentive program.”
To continue successful communities, we must first care for our employees, listen to what’s on their minds, and respond favorably. Get on the same page with your staff and see your business flourish and thrive. Building trust and a strong rapport with your employees and caregivers is also a way of returning the caregiving to them.
For additional research on ways to combat retention, check out this list of 35 companies that boosted their employee benefits amid COVID-19.